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“Get over it, He was a great uncle to me” how to heal when your family doesn't believe you

Last week, amid actor Danny Masterson’s conviction for raping 2 women there was a small outcry of celebrities who wrote letters in the favor of the convicted to convince the judge to mitigate his sentence. In reaction to those celebrity letters, Christina Ricci, an accomplished actress, and survivor of assault, wrote a different perspective. She’s a sexual assault survivor and posted this in response to Ashton Kutcher & Mila Kunis' letters in support of Danny Masterson.

Ricci wrote “So sometimes people we have loved and admired do horrible things. They might not do these things to us and we only know who they were to us but that doesn’t mean they didn’t do the horrible things and to discredit the abused is a crime.”

Whoa. This really resonates with me. You see people knew my father as a wonderful, generous leader. They didn’t know the person I knew. And as a result, people don’t acknowledge what happened. They are dismissive, discounting me. Especially my father’s family, as they have been the worst to completely abandon me. Since I began telling my story, the truth about my relationship with my father, his side of the family has made a point of not mentioning it or minimizing it or telling me to get over it.

Ricci went on to say “Unfortunately I’ve known lots of ‘awesome guys’ who were lovely to me who have proven to be abusers privately. Believe victims. It’s not easy to come forward.”

Believe the survivors

So often, after you’ve been the victim of narcissistic abuse, family members who know your narcissist well, don’t believe you. They think you are being overly sensitive or dramatic. It’s like pouring salt on your wound.

The family of a narcissist will go to extremes to avoid the disapproval of the narcissist giving them what they want even if that means shunning the narcissist’s only child. I get it. I was completely shunned by my father’s family. No one called to see if I was all right when I canceled the annual holiday dinner that I‘d hosted for more than 10 years. No one. Not one Aunt or Uncle cared if I was mentally stable or physically ill. It simply didn’t matter.

When my father passed away, only one cousin called me. He told me my father had been a great uncle to him and he didn’t care to hear about my experiences. As if they never happened. Perhaps the family has seen the narcissists’ wrath and thinks “better you than me”. They are just enabling the narcissist, giving them validation.

If I had been given the opportunity to tell my father’s side of the family how their actions poured salt in my wound, here’s what I would have said:

Dear family,

Your unwavering support of my father’s lengthy bouts of the silent treatment, stonewalling, and gaslighting has broken my heart. You made me doubt what he’d done. You made me feel ashamed for being his victim, like I ever had a choice. Even though my father had shown each of you this same level of disrespect at various times, you saw his bad acts for years, but you chose to disbelieve me. Did you know I took down photographs of my father in my house because it hurt my heart to look at them and know he wasn’t the man I thought he was? Did you know that I purposely avoided certain places and events I thought he might be at because it gave me great anxiety to see him? Did you know that I went through all of this without even a text, call or email from you to support me? You abandoned me just like he did. Then, when he died, you tried to shame me.

Perhaps that is what I would have said to my father’s family if given the opportunity. You see, they too, like Ashton Kutcher, would have written letters in support of my abuser.

What should you do if you’re punished by your family for telling your truth?

1. Surround yourself with people who love and support you, not necessarily family.

2. Talk to someone – a therapist or narcissistic abuse recovery coach - an unbiased opinion, especially someone who has experienced similar abuse, helps.

3. Practice self-care – this type of abuse takes a toll on your mental, emotional, and physical health. Taking care of yourself at this time is critical.

4. Journal what’s happening to you, how it makes you feel, what others have said to you. It will help you process the trauma and remember exactly how it happened even if you’re later gaslighted.

5. Set boundaries. Do not attend events with people (family) who make you feel anxious and unsafe.

Know that you’re not alone. You didn’t do anything to deserve this abuse. No one can make someone act abusive, they do that all on their own.

If you’ve suffered this type of abuse, please talk to someone. But not just anyone. I went to therapy at my worst points with my father but the therapist wasn’t familiar with narcissistic personality disorder. I really needed to talk to someone who got it, who had experienced it.

I only coach people who’ve suffered narcissistic abuse. This is where my expertise lies.

This is why it’s so important to talk to someone after you’ve suffered this type of abuse. But not just anyone. You need to find someone who’s familiar with narcissistic personality disorder. You see, I didn’t get here by accident. I didn't set out to become a narcissistic abuse recovery coach. But after I’d suffered this kind of abuse, I realized that my story and my experience could help so many people who’ve suffered similarly. When someone tells me about their struggles and their story, I’m not just understanding. I really get it. I’ve been there. I’ve felt those same emotions, that same rage, and loss.

I can help you.

Don’t suffer in silence from narcissistic abuse, let’s talk.

Click here to book a free session with me. Don’t wait another day.

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