For the past year or so, my family had been a big cross for me. They are very toxic at times and are prone to be verbally and emotionally abusive. After the last verbal attack at me, I stopped all contact. But, recently they contacted me after months and acted like nothing was wrong and were all happy and lovely. I hate it because I love my family but I feel like Im on a rollercoaster. I was finally coming to terms with everything and now, I feel pulled back into their world. I really don’t know how to explain it very well. I guess they have just broke my trust (and heart) so many times its hard to believe that they are really missing me and love me. In the past they have only wanted to control me. My husband gets angry whenever I think about reconnecting. He is hurt because of how hurt I was by them. We talked to a priest about it and he said if they are not respecting us we should cut contact. I just don’t know if I should trust them moving forward. My gut tells me I shouldn’t trust them, but my heart wants everything to work out.
Your guts AND your priest answered it. That’s all I need, personally.
I agree that you do not sound ready for this. Trust your gut.
This is not a now-or-never matter; your heart can keep waiting. I don’t mean that no one could die and leave this earth unreconciled with you. I mean that you yourself will change as you go through life and you may one day feel you are stronger and less tender from previous attacks.
It may be that putting this in the “maybe some day but we are not ready yet” category is the best route. That “some day” is when the idea of teaching your family your boundaries doesn’t put your stomach in such knots.
OP, let me give you my perspective.
My father died early this year. My parents were abusive in a lot of ways, and I hadn’t had contact with him for over four years at that point. DH and I made the decision to cut contact after one too many incidents of seriously unacceptable behavior. Among other reasons, we didn’t want our kids having to deal with the sort of malicious instability that my parents exuded.
When he died, I was sad for any number of reasons–sad that we couldn’t be reconciled, sad that he hadn’t met my kids, sad that things had turned out the way they did. At the same time, though, I knew I had made the right call, based on what I knew then, in not maintaining contact or letting him know about the kids. Sobering, but true.
Leaving aside anything else, the mere fact that they acted as though nothing was wrong after they behaved badly to you indicates that they have no remorse for their bad behavior, which means that it’s not a question of if it will happen again, it’s a question of when. Unless they recognize and accept that their prior behavior was wrong, they will continue to repeat it.
Trust, when broken needs time to heal and be earned back. You MUST however forgive always. Yes, this is hard but our Lord asks this of us- He expects this of us if we expect to be forgiven by Him. Just saying it helps, ex " I forgive _____ in the Name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior ". Then pray for them that they come into the arms and help of Jesus. Keep distance for awhile until the Lord speaks differently. I can’t say when or if that can happen… I don’t know. Time will tell as they say. I will pay for you🙏🏻 I am sorry for your hurt and pain😥
Verbal and emotional abuse, like physical abuse, is a cycle. How long would it be before the abuse starts again?
Since one of the roles of your husband is to protect you, I would advise HIM to tell your family “Hey, you can’t act like nothing happened!!” That way your family will know they are being watched and that the cycle has to be broken if they want a relationship with you.
I don’t know exactly what level of abuse you are referring to. You really should be guided by a professional in this. For example, your husband could write to your family members telling them that they must address you you respectfully and that any contact should be through him, in writing. Then he can filter out anything rude or manipulative.
This is what priests are for…talk to one!
This makes me uncomfortable and I am sure it would many other people. Far too many abusive spouses filter communications and very few non abusers would want to be the one to stand between their spouse and others. It is more likely the husband would defend his wife and provide the support she needs instead. If my husband ever offered to shelter me and filter communication for me it would set off alarms and I would begin to question who was the actual abuser in my life. I know way to many women that have been convinced by boyfriends and husbands that they are protecting them from abuse/hurt/annoyance/whatever when in actuality the man is actually cutting them of from friends and family members that love them in order to control the women.
The advice to seek out a professional, if the right professional is found and accurately filled in on the backstory, is good advice.
If they have not acknowledged the painful past, then be assured that more hurt will occur in your relations with them. Painting over a moldy bit of wall will not get rid of the mold.
Thank you all for your replies. Im starting to see now that I just need to let time heal my wounds and keep praying for my family. I know God will come through in the end in a way that is better than I expect. I am happy just with my husband and thank God for his love and support. Please keep us your prayers. This has been one of the hardest years of my life.