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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / trouble after divulging to my parents **trigger warning - sexual abuse**

Topic: trouble after divulging to my parents **trigger warning - sexual abuse**

22 posts, 0 answered
  1. b.abbey
    b.abbey avatar
    17 posts
    30 September 2020

    Hi there. Thanks for looking. I have a problem with my family since I divulged I was sexually abused by my brother when I was 10-12ys old. He is 5 years my senior. Another girl, who lived near us growing up - came forward & said she was abused by him, & when my parents told me she came forward - I took the opportunity to say "me too". At first I thought the response was quite good. My mother said "I'm sorry that happened to you" and my father was absolutely mortified. As time has moved on (3 years since I told them) I have tried to broach the subject & these comments were the responses (yes - I practically remember word for word):

    (1) This is very embarrassing for the family, please don't tell anyone

    (2) let's bury this in the back yard shall we?

    (2) we think you might have "false memories"

    (3) you are torturing us. You didn't tell us - so whose fault is that?! We would have done something if you had of told us! (angry tone)

    (4) & finally, just a couple of months ago "just get over it!!" in a very hostile tone - both of them said it twice & then they hung up on me, so we haven't spoken since

    So I bought it up with them those 4 times in the last 3 years. Obviously they are finding it difficult to handle. I was hoping they would help me heal - yet it's not going as planned!

    Was I expecting too much? I feel like I want to cut ties because perhaps they care more about their reputation, than their child's wellbeing, and then I consider well - I have damaged their wellbeing. And then I consider - only one person is at fault here, which is NOT me! I do wish I had never told them now. I do feel -not speaking up- is not exactly the best course of action either - and I'm worried he has done this to more survivors.

    I feel they are blaming me, or they just don't want to know. It doesn't help that the abuser is now a dr & he was the golden child, and he lives close to them & is in their ear suggesting this "false memory syndrome"

    They don't believe he abused the other girl in my street - so that's 2 of us they say they don't believe? On another occasion he was caught peering through a window at myself and another kid when we were in the bath when we were in 5th class. But I have no idea if he got into trouble for that or not - I think my mother just didn't tell my father :(

    Any advice? thanks for listening

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Rubybleu
    Rubybleu avatar
    42 posts
    30 September 2020 in reply to b.abbey

    I’m so sorry that you are experiencing this from both your parents. It must be so difficult considering your abuser is your brother and their son.

    I was sexually abused as a child by a step parent for a year. I only recently told my family about it and my mums reaction was laughable. Not once did she say that she was sorry that I went through that, that she wishes things had been different - instead she made it about herself - how she feels cheated, how hard it is for her!!!!!! This is a guilt reaction from her and she doesn’t want to take any responsibility for what happened even though she openly admits she noticed my abuser flirting with me and read my diary which had the abuse written in it. Just the other day she noticed a self help book for childhood abuse survivors and she asked who this was for and was it for my current study and I’m like ‘no it’s for me’ and she just didn’t get it. After me saying it three times to her she finally got it.

    Sorry I’ve just gone off on a huge vent to you. I just thought you might like to hear my experiences as similar to yours.

    If you want to keep contact with your parents maybe suggest seeing a therapist together but if they are still flat out denying that it happened to you I don’t think I could continue a relationship with them

    3 people found this helpful
  3. Swimmer2
    Swimmer2 avatar
    1 posts
    2 October 2020 in reply to b.abbey
    Really sorry about the lack of support from your parents. I suggest you see a counsellor asap. There is such a thing as mandatory reporting to police for alleged sexual abuse especially for people with contact with public. But before you consider this please talk to professional first. Don't expect help from family. You need to think through options with an experienced counsellor who understands family complications.
    2 people found this helpful
  4. ecomama
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    2 October 2020 in reply to b.abbey

    Dear b.abbey and others who've experienced sexual abuse

    I'm so sorry this is "where your parents are at".... my reaction to reading your post and Rubybleu's post was OMG omg omg omg.

    I'm just so sorry.

    Did the girl down the street report to Police?
    Have you?

    IDK why no one has if no one has.

    "Burying it in the backyard" is SUCH a disgusting reaction.
    IDK why your parents are saying these things.

    I'd report straight to Police. But if I knew back then what I know NOW, I would have gotten Legal Advice from a Lawyer first. And probably engaged a Lawyer also for my daughter.

    My very young daughter disclosed during an interview at Court for another matter and I AM GLAD it was reported straight away. I would have done EXACTLY the same.... but as I said engaged a Lawyer first.

    I fought for No Contact of perp to my child. And won.

    I am extremely concerned about other victims but I also do whatever I can for my daughter.

    Perpetrators lie. Victims have no reason to IME.

    Your parents are not behaving in a caring manner or IMHO a LEGAL manner allowing a person to be a Dr who's done these things. Lord knows what it's doing to it's patients.

    My daughter said this year that she wished she never told anyone and I was horrified!
    I feel for her going through so much since disclosing, clearly she went through too much abuse all her life.

    She said she thought by disclosing at 10yo that "it would all go away" my darling girl... it did go away. The abuse stopped via No Contact. But the memories haven't.

    She has many free psych appts yet to use if she needs it. And a Victim's compensation payout waiting for her at 18yo.

    Please don't allow this to define you. You are far more powerful than this AND the denyer's reactions.

    YOU know the truth.
    You can go through legal avenues to have the truth revealed more.

    Absolutely 1 billion percent NONE of this was your fault.

    I was told by a psych that there is one common denominator for a better recovery for victims... that is when their mother believes them.
    I'm a mother.
    I believe you.

    I wish your mothers did too and I'm disgusted that they don't.

    Lots of love and healing Prayers to you all.

    2 people found this helpful
  5. ecomama
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    4567 posts
    2 October 2020 in reply to Rubybleu

    Dear Rubybleu

    What a horrible reaction. Your mother seems extremely immature.

    Whilst denial seems the "go to" for both b.abbey's parents and you mother too.

    I really urge you to seek Counselling and any other MH support you need.

    These reactions from people who are "supposed to love and care about us" is NOT good enough.
    It can make a victim become very angry indeed.

    That's how my daughter was BEFORE she disclosed.... plain angry and volatile.
    It all makes sense now.
    At the time I had NO idea what was going on.

    'Betrayal to her'??? what even IS that?
    The abuser is a CRIMINAL.

    It's a betrayal of trust for YOU as a child.

    I urge you all to report and do it asap.

    I hope b.abbey can go with her friend to Police and as I mentioned to her, I would seek Legal Advice first.

    There's a FREE Women's Legal Service that are absolutely awesome to get support from.
    They can guide you and support you the whole way and beyond.
    They did with me with support for the entire number of cases I went through.
    The disclosures happened in the middle of a number of Court cases against a very cunning perpetrator.

    WLS stayed with me the whole way.
    Although I did engage Lawyers and Barristers all over the place.

    I would do ANYTHING for my daughter.
    In fact I'm in Counselling for PTSD and feeling of tremendous guilt that this DID happen to her.

    My daughter is recovering in ups and downs.

    You will too.

    Lots of love EM

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Rubybleu
    Rubybleu avatar
    42 posts
    2 October 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Thank you so much for your response. It makes me so happy to hear how supportive you are of your daughter.

    My mother has a lot of narcissistic behaviours and this is a good example of one. She can never be the one at fault whatever the situation.

    Im currently in the middle of a legal investigation against my abuser. Things are moving painfully slow right now.

    2 people found this helpful
  7. ecomama
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    4567 posts
    2 October 2020 in reply to Rubybleu

    Dear Rubybleu

    You may need ALOT of support, I know I did and I wasn't the primary victim.
    Not of this as a child.

    I really encourage you to seek ALL and ANY support you can to help you through this nerve wracking ordeal.

    I mentioned WLS above.
    Also 1800RESPECT have awesome Counsellors and they can put you through to a Trauma Psych... I've phoned them countless times and left my name and my children's names... they keep a record and their notes help the next Counsellor / Psych get up to date by quickly reading the notes.

    You can phone them ANY TIME 24/7 and I have always felt so much better and calmer after each call.

    I held back getting help for so long and then I just couldn't manage alone any more.
    I wished I'd called that helpline ALOT earlier.

    It's there for YOU and I really wish you could be supported by your mother too but you always have here ie the Forums and I will be thinking of you. Praying for you also.

    Speaking in person to psych WHEN we are at our wit's end is of paramount importance to maintaining whatever mental health you have left to face Court etc.

    It was hell on wheels for us.

    But we made it through.

    I AM SO PROUD OF YOU for reporting! So proud.

    Once a person reports you can also contact Victim's Services in your State and I've found them beyond awesome too. They put in CCTV for us as we will probably always be at risk until those abusers & their families pass away.

    There's also The Red Heart Foundation mostly for women escaping Domestic Violence situations and who've experienced Family Violence also. You have. They are on FB and are the BEST group of the strongest and most afraid women you'd ever know.
    But they've got it all together in how to help you deal with Courts etc.

    You may not get the OUTCOME you want but 99% of that is out of our hands.

    I'm here to help wherever I can.

    I hope you can all find peace in your day.
    I'm so glad you've survived.

    Lots of love and many Blessings

    2 people found this helpful
  8. b.abbey
    b.abbey avatar
    17 posts
    7 October 2020

    Thank you so much everyone here for replying and offering such kind thoughts and encouragement. When I have a little more time I will come back and read again... I am needing to head off now.

    Very supporting, thank you all Be back soon <3

    1 person found this helpful
  9. b.abbey
    b.abbey avatar
    17 posts
    8 October 2020 in reply to Rubybleu
    Oh Gosh! Thank you for sharing your experience. It sounds like your mum doesn't "get it" yes. I agree - to ask my parents to go to counselling with me - I can try and ask them. Not sure if I will get anywhere! But yes that is on my mind. I'm so sorry this happened to you. It's hard to fathom your mother read your diaries - & still doesn't get it! Is it ignorance and denial all thrown in together? Is it so deep - the denial - can be considered narcissistic? Especially if it's all about her & the difficulties she faces. I often wonder whether my parents have narcissistic traits. Thanks for sharing and offering support :)
    1 person found this helpful
  10. b.abbey
    b.abbey avatar
    17 posts
    8 October 2020 in reply to Swimmer2
    Thank you for responding! Yes I reported the abuse to brave hearts, and then they asked if I would fill out a SARO, which I did, but I haven't posted yet. At times I want to walk into a police station and JUST DO IT! I'm so afraid of my families reaction & being abandoned by them. I am also afraid of the court process and how to deal if there is not enough evidence. I am afraid of so many things. Yes, I will speak to my councillor more about this - I obviously need to. Thank you :)
    1 person found this helpful
  11. b.abbey
    b.abbey avatar
    17 posts
    8 October 2020 in reply to ecomama
    Thank you so much! Your words touch a chord. It's disgusting I know - my parents reaction. Yes it's been reported but there's an additional step in NSW called SARO - I have filled it out but haven't sent it. I am just so scared that he would get off because he is clever and sly. The girl I know, she has reported but she ended up having a relationship with him later - it's complicated! She realises now that the earlier stuff was abusive and in the end she wanted him to like her. Not only is my bro a Dr but he's a forensic consultant as well, that's half his job, being in court. He has total control over my parents. I am sure, when he did this to me and my friend, he had Conduct Disorder - which often leads to Antisocial Personality Disorder - and I'm sure he has this. I will talk to my counsellor soon. Even the thought of being in court gives me the willies - that he would win :(
    1 person found this helpful
  12. Tom R
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    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Tom R avatar
    12 posts
    9 October 2020 in reply to b.abbey

    Hi b.abbey,

    Thank you so much for your bravery and honesty in your sharing. I'm sorry that you were subjected to that abuse and for the effects that it has wrought into your your life. I hear you, and I believe you.

    Your thread is not the place for me to share my whole story, but I can relate to much of what you have shared. My parents have known about my abuse since the time it was happening, and knew of neighbours who were part of a paedophile ring. What saddens me so much is that they opted to do nothing to support or defend me, opting to stand idly by. These days I have zero contact with my parents, siblings and extended family. Sadly it became too much for me to remain in contact and engagement when there was no acknowledgement of the past and harm caused by action and inaction, and efforts to help them to be better parents took such a toll. Saddened as I am, I am lighter and freer for it.

    I am reminded that our families are much like us, in that they don't know what to do or how to respond when we disclose the abuse to which we were subjected. This is not an excuse of course, and I'm sorry that your family are failing to see you and the impacts of what you have lived through. There is a meme that has done the rounds in social media that says something along the lines of "Most people who are in therapy are there as a direct result of those who will not go to therapy, who do not believe they need to, but desperately ought to."

    Please keep doing what you are doing that helps you to be you, and to honour the yourself and what you have been through. You are well and truly more than worth it :) Once again, I hear you and I believe you.

    Go well and gently with yourself. T.

    3 people found this helpful
  13. ecomama
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    4567 posts
    10 October 2020 in reply to b.abbey

    Dear b.abbey (and dear RubyBleu and dear Tom R)

    I understand the most important thing for you is validation. Having people believe you.
    We all believe you. Always hold on to the knowledge that you are BELIEVED.

    It's understandable you have anxiety over being in Court, facing people there, the repercussions in your family and "winning".

    I absolutely want you to win too.

    I have next to no faith in our legal system. It's not a "Justice System" at all IME.
    When you look at stats from a while back where less than 5% of perps were actually convicted of reported rapes... and you and I know hardly any rapes ARE reported... not only do we live in a very scary society but victims seldom report. No doubt they don't want to go through all the hell to have no "just" result.

    My experiences with reports of child SA are worse. I work with families and many in distress, I've seen this over 40y and I am bitterly disappointed for our precious innocent children.

    You are all those children too. As mine are.

    I see Police Officers who work SO HARD to put a solid case together only to have nothing happen in Court. No wonder Police who work in this area suffer burn out. My heart feels for them feeling so helpless and depressed over this too.

    It disgusts me.

    I prefer tribal Law.

    SO as I did win in other cases, when everyone was saying I couldn't possibly win... but I did.
    I went in FULL throttle, SO prepared and had Women's Legal Service support and advise me EVERY step of the way. They gave me step by step advice and that's what I ordered my Legal team to do.

    They didn't WANT to do what WLS told me. I made them.

    I heard what was told to me, that I couldn't possibly win, I heard it, put it aside and went full on, pushing every ounce of everything I could.

    If I had KNOWN to do that with all the other Court cases then I KNOW I would have had different outcomes. I will never rely on Courts, one Lawyer and Police to get the job done right.

    But to take this on, YOU need as much support as you can get.

    I suggest you make a list of your supports. You have here - awesome. 1800RESPECT 24/7 and you can give them your name and they take notes and keep up to give you GREAT support. SA Hotline. The Blue Knot Foundation. The Red Heart Foundation on FB.
    Google is your friend.

    Before Court there are other things you can do.

    Muster it all. See what fits with you. Take what fits, keep others for back up.

    My Prayers are with you all
    Love EM

    2 people found this helpful
  14. b.abbey
    b.abbey avatar
    17 posts
    12 October 2020 in reply to Tom R

    Thank you so much Tom R. I think you have hit many nails on the head or me. I am so sorry to hear that this was happening to you in your neighbourhood and your parents sat idly by. Sometimes we wonder what kind of sense they may have, our parents - which in your case, and mine, is not 'common' sense unfortunately! It's almost like not being able to see the wood for the trees, and then not caring about the shoots and leaves and the under-growth . I very much value your sharing and insight into this. Yes, it's bewildering for everyone!! How do you cope with Christmas and other times of family get-togethers? Is it painful, as it will be new to me... Thank you for offering caring sentiments :) You too - are not alone ! <3

    1 person found this helpful
  15. b.abbey
    b.abbey avatar
    17 posts
    12 October 2020 in reply to ecomama
    Hello Ecomama, I love your name btw :) You bring so much knowledge to the legal side, and I so much appreciate that. I am sorry you went through what you did... you never deserved that and yes your perp needed to be held accountable. It sounds like you were successful in your case - most excellent! - & thanks for sharing those fabulous resources. You have made me feel stronger with regards to this - thanks for that :) Becky <3>
    1 person found this helpful
  16. Tom R
    blueVoices member
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    Tom R avatar
    12 posts
    14 October 2020 in reply to b.abbey

    Hello again b.abbey,

    I so appreciated your reply :)

    Distancing and severing ties with my family has not been easy, but it does honour myself. At first, I sought to make change and to help them consider how they parent and to express what I needed from them. This was as an adult, of course, and I therefore had a good grasp of language, rationale, etc. with which to communicate. I have spent an awfully long time trying to help them understand and grow their awareness of the effects and impacts of action and inaction using many examples, but in the end I feel it simply didn't matter enough to them. I recognise and understand that change is hard, and it has its challenges, especially as we age.

    Part of it too has been recognising and coming to terms with the fact that they cannot meet me where I am at, nor can they meet all of my needs. I'll also be the first person to put my hand up and admit that at times my expectations were not realistic or were far too high, and it was necessary for me to do that work. Things reached the point where I could no longer cope being around them, feeling invisible, or in the way, or that I was so tired and drained by having to 'park' so many parts of myself at the door. And it's so hard not being part of their lives. Recently my father turned 80, and whilst we're in strict lockdown due to COVID19, there were celebrations and engagements via various technology. There have been times that I (am my wife and daughter) have not been invited to things, or we do attend and it's so horrible being there with them. They are also ageing rapidly, and of all the siblings it was me who talked with them most about their own care and medical needs, etc., I explained the procedures and whatnot.

    But there is none of that now. It is by my choice, yes, but it is not with ease. It hits me in the guts almost daily, and the internal speak in my head about the crap son that I am to do this t them kills me. But this hurts less than to continue to remain invisible, not understood, unknown and unsupported in the ways that I need. It's going to be hard, friend. One of the things I've had to do is work to create a new family for myself that see me, welcome me and accept me as I am. It will take time, and I'm sorry to say, it will hurt loads, but we are here to support you and hold you through it. (and maybe you might find it helpful to make a beautiful collage of family photos that you can use as a dart board ;) )

    2 people found this helpful
  17. ecomama
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    14 October 2020 in reply to Tom R

    Hi Becky, Tom R and others reading

    I love my name too lol.

    I also lost my family but for other reasons than SA... violence and abuse.

    Besides going what you went through as a child, separating from family can be the next hardest thing to do.

    I know none of us make this decision lightly. The decision was virtually taken out of my hands by Police intervention so overnight they were gone.

    Becky no we didn't "win" the SA Court case. Hence me pointing out stats in Aust.

    I won 100% care of the children against impossible odds and Family Law itself.

    Becky I didn't realise you were separating from your family?

    Tom R I hear you loud and clear about the feelings of guilt as your parents age.
    I went through another huge wave of this overwhelming guilt when Covid hit.

    I called helplines and tbh the flat out response was "remain staunchly no contact"... didn't matter how many helplines I called lol... maybe I was hoping deep inside ONE person would say "yes you're a terrible daughter, contact and help your mother" but ofcourse they wouldn't.

    I sought more intensive MH support from a Specialist Trauma Psychologist which was excellent for me for 5 sessions then went steeply downhill so I exited! She was a Specialist in PTSD but not trauma DV and FV... more for ex Army and front line workers etc.

    I've kept the same Counsellor for 7y.
    I had to report to the Royal Commission during this time also plus Courts and disclosures from my daughters.

    The C-PTSD has settled a LOT. The PTSD reactions have diminished. But with every new trauma (one last week) I get triggered, not as badly but it's still there.

    Love to you all

    2 people found this helpful
  18. b.abbey
    b.abbey avatar
    17 posts
    17 October 2020 in reply to Tom R

    Yes I hear you there, it does honour YOU. You are the most important person to be well in your life - and to take care of your own family. I have one daughter too - and we are starting to be excluded and this might be it - the final rip or tear.

    Funnily enough, my daughter - who is just 16 - lamented the last time my parents visited that they have no boundaries ! I laughed at her insightfulness. Tis true. It's as if we (particularly me) are an extension of them, and to put in place boundaries with them makes me, and their grandchild the 'difficult ones'...I imagine you feel this too. Luckily my husband can stay removed. You might well have been a 'good' son, but now you are probably a better father & husband, by breaking the bonds that didn't serve you well. I see it aches though.

    So yes, separation leads to pain, which subsists, as you describe :( I see my parents ageing too. Like you,my expectations were high, I expected more - but they cannot meet my needs - as you said. Being with them is more difficult in this past few years than being with apart from them.

    I have gained a lot from your thoughts and insight, so thanks for responding - I like the dart board idea lol

    Travel well Tom & thank you :)

    2 people found this helpful
  19. b.abbey
    b.abbey avatar
    17 posts
    17 October 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Thank you EM! Yes I am near or maybe even at that point of "seperation" - we haven't spoken for a while. I'm so sorry that happened to you - and yes it's a second wound... traumatic

    That's a great idea about the helplines and very insightful they are staunch. That gives me --- hope --- that I am not doing the wrong things, bizarrely and thoroughly lol

    You have reminded me I need more time with my therapist. IT's so obvious yes! The compounding factor is that I have been diagsoded with ADHD. And yes PTSD complex - some years before. The ADHD diagnosis is very recent... it takes a while for me to even make appointments. I lack motivation.

    With the PTSD I wonder if you tried either EMDR or TRE? I did these some years ago & wonderfully now I no longer get flashbacks ! I still have triggers but no flashbacks at all. I read a book by Bessel Van der Kolk - the body keeps the score - and went ahead with many of his recommendations.

    Thank you for your insightfulness and care, I so appreciate it :)

    Love Becky

    1 person found this helpful
  20. ecomama
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    17 October 2020 in reply to b.abbey

    Hi Becky, Tom and anyone reading

    I was looking for a Psychologist who specialised in PTSD and used EMDR but the one recommended to me didn't use it.

    She uses CBT and Exposure Therapy. This worked really well for me.
    It was intensive! WOW... hugely... but I'd taken leave from work for 8 weeks to really get into it (and parent my kids learning from home also).

    The Psych taught me how to do Exposure Therapy on my own (without her) and this worked too.
    We looked at each "issue" then followed it back to a person who caused the trauma and then went from there.

    I took it really seriously and threw myself into it. I used other materials at the same time from Kristen Neff, Dr Joe Dispenza and ofcourse the wonderful Brene Brown.

    I kept my Counsellor all the way through. She's AWESOME.

    The full on "surround sound with full visuals" PTSD reactions don't occur at all now.

    I can remember things with very little if any emotional reaction.

    Those were my goals so I'm happy for that.

    Hmmm parents who think they own you OH DEAR... we were just talking about that this week on mine and Bluberry's threads. Your daughter is indeed very perceptive! Maybe a psych in the making! I have one child who's a psychologist and all my children have changed their career paths due to the DV / FV. Police, Law, Psych... all protective pursuits now (sadly)... they had creative pursuits previously.

    There's so much to understand about abuse and abusive people. Understand then STAY AWAY lol.
    It's helpful also to learn what the red flags are too.

    EM xxxx

    1 person found this helpful
  21. b.abbey
    b.abbey avatar
    17 posts
    18 October 2020 in reply to ecomama

    Thank again EM. You made me laugh - some great points!

    Thats awesome about the reduced PTSD with exposure therapy. I might look into that, although I feel- like you -it has less emotional impact on me now. At the moment I am trying to strategise re this ADHD - which is really 'out there' lol, but looking at the positives as well.

    Wow your children have found something they know... for their careers :) Think my girl is interested in forensic science.

    Yep so much to understand about abusers. Primarily the abuser but also their enablers . I sometimes think my mum is a little narcissistic but not full blown. She's definitely ignorant when it comes to sexual abuse, that's for sure!!

    Becky <3

  22. Tom R
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Tom R avatar
    12 posts
    9 December 2020 in reply to b.abbey

    Hello b.abbey,

    My apologies for the long delay in replying to's been some weeks since I've been on the boards here (which I'll explain elsewhere). I'm conscious that it's been over a month since this thread began, how are things going for you? I'm also conscious that as we near Christmas, typically involving time spent with family for many, some strong feelings may arise. It can also be a difficult time with weighing up of obligatory requirements or expectations versus a possible diminishing capacity to manage being around family for prolonged periods. Being around them at all can be taxing, even in the minutest of engagements. Wherever you are on this spectrum, please know that you are not alone, we're here for you, even simply to hear and witness ranting. Go well and gently. T.

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