“At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.” — Mark V. Olsen and Will Sheffer
Family is so important during recovery, even though they may not always give you what you want during a crisis. I learned this all too well. Today I have a very close and loving relationship with my mother but it was not always this way. She and I have had many long talks over the course of my recovery about why my life was the way it was. She explained that she also had her own issues, and she did what she could with what she had. We came to a point where I was very angry with her at some of the things that happened and how she dealt with it.
One issue was my sexual abuse by a close family member when I was very young. The abuse went on for years until I told her one day in trust. All I remember is going to talk to a police man and nothing after that. I shoved the memory far down in my mind it didn’t resurface until many years later. I asked my mother what she did after I confided in her, and whether or not he was arrested. She said that he didn’t because there wasn’t enough proof – I wouldn’t talk about it, so the authorities dismissed the case. She told me that they got me a counselor and I wouldn’t talk to him either. I grew up and it seemed like everything was fine. Family members still got together but he wasn’t allowed around me. I held on to this for many years.
Then when I was very ill 15 years later I was so heartbroken that that had happened to me and he never got any jail time. Nothing for 4 years of sexual abuse. 4 years of creeping into my room and touching me. Waking me up from sleep and I would freeze because I didn’t know any better. I was 5 or 6 when it started and it continued until I was 10 and I was old enough to know that it wasn’t right. I remember the last car ride home from visiting like it was yesterday. I felt so dirty and I finally knew that I didn’t want this to happen to me. This anger came out with serious force and all I felt was rage.
This was when I became frustrated with my mother. I had begun using drugs as a way to deal with what hat happened, and although I had her support, she would not stand by and watch me slowly kill myself through using. I was angry that I had to change to make things better. After getting victimized by a predator when I was little. Now it was up to me to pick up the pieces. But once I had accepted this, I started to see what I had to do. I was desperate to relieve myself of this weight.
Through my actions over the next few years, my mother and I have opened a new door in our relationship. I had to go to sexual assault therapy and talk through my emotions with an objective third party. This was my time to confront my abuser. I finally wrote a giant letter through Facebook to him, telling him that both my mother and I knew what he did and that I will never forget. I told him how the abuse had affected me later in life. The tears, the hurt, the anger, the work I had to do to get better. I knew the best way to message him was through Facebook because I knew he would likely read everything I had to say within hours of me sending it. The one important thing I had to remember was that he probably wouldn’t respond so I had to leave the letter open ended. No demand for a reply or apology. Once I sent that message, everything seemed to fall into place.
I closed that door in life and since that day I have never brought the subject up again to my mother. I healed and I felt that weight finally leave my heart. I rid myself of this burden. That was 3 years ago and I have not thought of that man since I let it go. Looking back my mother was there for me every step of the way. No matter how angry I got at her for her ‘mistakes’. I would not have made it through without her by my side annoying me, telling me she wasn’t leaving me to die. That no matter how angry I got at her she wasn’t going anywhere. Since then I have recovered and now I constantly hug her and tell her how much I needed her, even though I said I didn’t. She never gave up and that was what really mattered to me in the end. I will never forget that.
Today years later she and I are somewhat of a team. She runs a local class that helps family dealing with a loved one who is ill. I guest speak in her class often to show these family members how important they really are to their loved one’s recovery. In own my situation, I would have died had it not been for my mother. I want to wrap this up by saying that we all need help at some point in our lives. It’s good to have a good support network when you’re mentally ill and if you have a good relationship with your family, they are a great resource. I believe and always will that FAMILY MATTERS!
About Natasha Sinclair
With every recovery, there's a story to be told. Especially with Mental illness. Some of the most remarkable recovery stories come from these individuals. I am one of them. I'm a successful 33 year old Pastry Chef, but I'm also diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Addictions Disorder as of 8 years ago. I want to talk about the many aspects of recovery. For years now I have devoted myself to my BPD Website, local guest speaking and a volunteer for local Mental Health events. I would like to share information I have gathered about BPD through experience and research. Positive and hopeful information on BPD is scarce in social media today and should be brought to the forefront like other Mental Illnesses. I would like to offer information both scientifically and medically I have found through research that may clear the air a little bit on Borderline. I feel this needs to be done more. The many different facts that I have discovered relating to human emotions and behavior are mind opening, which are key components to think about when journeying into recovery.