Ask The Therapist – July 2020 – Scapegoated By My Whole Family

Glynis Sherwood

Halifax – Glynis Sherwood MEd Shares her thoughts, monthly, with FVN.

I’m currently 45, living with my wonderful fiancé and enjoying life. I’ve been a charity worker for 17 years, helping people flee violence and trauma, and I’ve worked in various parts of the sector.But I was abused as a child. I went no contact in my early 20s and finally 30s, and my healing moved on boundlessly after that, but it was very hard. But I made a lot of progress and grew a lot as a woman and professional.My childhood includes – divorced parents from when I was 7, lived with our mother, being hit a lot, smacked round the face multiple times, pushed and shoved over onto the floor, kicked, bitten, grabbed round the face and neck, shoved against the wall and head banged on the wall, shaken, spat on, dragged by hair. We were not allowed to bathe ourselves or things of that ilk, lasting way too long. The entire atmosphere was one of shouting, anger, tight control and fear.Mother shouted at me while holding me by the neck that she hated me and wished I’d never been born (she got PND 1. after me, being sure I was a boy). My mother used to wash me in the bath and hold my head under water to rinse the shampoo and conditioner out. In-out, in-out of the water. She pushed me half way down a flight of stairs. She smashed crockery on my head. She whipped me with the cable to my stereo and I had wheel marks of blood sticking my school shirt to my back.I am the middle of three. Two unwanted girls and then a boy who became the favourite. My elder sister was abused but not like me, but she became good and perfect. My brother was sunny, but then spoilt and bad tempered.  They were taught how to treat me and it continued when we grew up, although all violence stopped. When I left university I got into counselling (the best decision ever and I thank my lucky stars for it) and learnt about abuse and started my healing journey. I’m 45 now so it’s been a long time. I decided I couldn’t stomach seeing my mother anymore so that stopped, then my brother said he wouldn’t see me anymore. So he sided with her.  My dad and my sister were a group then. We were in contact but it was difficult. Everyone just wanted what had happened to fade away like it was nothing – and they still treated me badly. In my 30s I cut contact with my dad and sister.It had been 10 years since I heard from any family member when my sister made contact out of the blue. She was going through a crisis. I was delighted to hear from her and we started seeing one another. But it felt wrong to me, like I had ‘gone back.’ Over time I saw nothing had changed. And my sister, although herself a victim, took part in activities against me that were very borderline sexual abuse. She has never talked with me about this and nor will she apologise. She just shouts and swears at me. She has done very little work but sometimes it gets on top of her and she tries.But it didn’t feel right to me to be in touch with her and I ended it.  Sure enough, she turned on me and called me all the names under the sun. It had been a long time since anyone had spoken to me like that and I was hurt.Two years later she wrote again saying she was pregnant, and it was my choice to start writing that time, as I cared that she got on OK. Again it went wrong and I didn’t know what to do. I did nothing. Then I got abusive emails from her and felt that was my out.But then I made a mistake. I emailed her saying she was selfish and shallow. She will not address the past with me and she treats me just the same, thinly veiled dislike and I am firmly in my place as dirt eater of the family. I will not stand for it and I told her.It was a Sunday and I spent the entire day fielding emails from my sister, my brother (after 20 years) and then also one from my mother (again after 20 years – “I’m so sorry you’re still so hurt…”). It was a horrible day and I was shaking. My brother wrote “Get over it – no-one cares. I suggest you climb back under the stone you crawled out from and never bother any of us ever again.” He also made out he was the victim of me because I didn’t congratulate him on his wedding. My sister said I am a liar and don’t know the truth from fiction, that I have a personality disorder and am delusional. And she gave my self-help book a one star review online, which hurt me greatly as that is my professional life. The only good thing about it was that I addressed my mother after all those years and I was very tough on her. She is getting old now and she still hasn’t ever said sorry or given us answers as to why the abuse happened, even though my sister and I have asked many times. My brother doesn’t want to talk about it ever; he closes my sister down and is aggressive to her when she tries. Yet he wrote in his emails to me that they are close. I forgot to point out that he is not close and protective of his sister if he denies her the right to get closure on the abuse she suffered and he protects the abuser with his actions.But I felt mad, on that Sunday, and I resoundingly lost the argument to them all. And that is why I am writing to you, to see what you’d have to say to my family in that scenario.I came away feeling horrible and wrong and maybe I had no leg to stand on. But then I remember that my mother made me stick out my tongue and she held a lit cigarette over it, and she also hit my breasts one at a time, time after time, one night in the living room, and I know remembering these things that I am not wrong.After all these years where I have worked with abuse and seen clearly what it is, I cannot accept that they don’t want to agree that I was abused and discuss it. I just don’t understand how that can be acceptable to them, to anyone.Remembering my brother’s words helped oddly, because it is true – they don’t care. It happened, it’s over and they don’t care. It has really strengthened my resolve to never deal with them again because that Sunday I got myself well and truly burned.So I am writing to you to ask for your professional help as a survivor now.   I think there are a lot of people out there who have suffered in this way and you are one of the best sites out there in my view.
 Answer – Read Glynis’ In Depth Response Here 
Need help overcoming Relationship Trauma, Childhood Emotional Neglect, Narcissistic Family Abuse or Scapegoating?  I would love to help.  Contact Glynis Sherwood MEd to book an individual or couples counseling appointment.


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