Triggered, is it unreasonable expectation to want family not to talk about abusers around me?

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
My parents went on vacation to where some uncles live, they both abused me, but my family only knows the one, they know no details just that some sexual abuse happened, but also they’ve never asked. My mom decided to tell me about the woes and goings on of the two uncles and for the one I get it, I haven’t told her, she knows no reason to not, but the other?

So I’m triggered and I guess I don’t know if I’m being reasonable or not. Should I expect them not to talk about the uncle around me? It’s what I want but just because I want it doesn’t mean I deserve to get it, doesn’t mean it’s reasonable to expect it. When I first told she made a point to either talk bad about him or not talk about him. Now she just acts like she doesnt remember it happening, or does and is gauging my reaction. I honestly can’t tell. Truly it irks me that they even talk to him, it’s part of the reason I don’t say anything about the other one, I didn’t want to take that connection from them, and part of me didn’t want the rejection of them not doing anything.

He’s family so I never expected them to severe ties, I’m sure part of me thought they should, but I accepted it wouldn’t happen years ago, seems like a lot to accept that they can’t even leave him out of conversations with me. Am I wrong? How do others feel about this issue, assuming I’m not the only one.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
Am I wrong? How do others feel about this issue, assuming I’m not the only one.
You're not in the wrong at all. I'm lacking in the advice department these days but I can tell you that for me, this would be a "No Contact" offense. As in, I would not speak to anyone who continued to talk to those uncles. Anything less is a tacit sweeping under the rug. Nope, I'm all about barefoot on wooden floors. 'Specially as she is acting like she doesn't remember it. It's dirty laundry to her. Very disrespectful IMO. All that to say that absolutely yeah. At the bare minimum, they can at least stop talking about them.
 

Sideways

Moderator
Am I wrong?
Getting triggered isn't right or wrong. It's just a thing that happens, because of an illness we have.
How do others feel about this issue, assuming I’m not the only one.
Given the way I interpret being triggered (it's a thing, because of an illness), and the complicated nature of interpersonal relationships, for me, this would be about "how do I manage this moving forward"?

Members of your family still have a relationship with your abusers. We can judge that till we go completely mad, or we can just accept it for what it is - their choice, informed or otherwise, is their choice.

Knowing that they still have that relationship, am I still okay having a relationship with them? Again, judging whether that's right/wrong or good/bad is unhelpful. Are you okay with it? Do those relationships have value to you? If so? Then it's okay to still have relationships with them.

Then it becomes a question of boundaries, and effectively communicating those boundaries. For example, a boundary might be "I don't want to hear about my abusers ever". You can communicate that to a person assertively without talking about your abuse, and without making any judgment about their relationship with your abuser. "Please could you not talk to me about this person in the future, because it's distressing for me." (Obvious questioning might follow - no big deal) "No, I'm not really ready to talk about, let's just not talk about him". Change the subject.

That's probably the long and hard way of handling it. And it may well be completely unattractive to you. But it's how I would manage it. Because I like being clear and assertive when I'm managing important relationships around triggers. It happens. It's part of my PTSD. But it doesn't need to be a big deal, or cause conflict, if I manage it well. Quite the opposite - if I manage it well, this relationship can get stronger, and be one that is even more supportive, without the other person needing to do any heavy lifting at all.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
@Sideways supposing that PTSD is not an issue, I guess my question is more is it wrong to think they should just know not to bring up the person? I guess I just think it’s common decency, something I shouldn’t have to say.

Do I see it differently because it’s my experience or is this just how we should humanely work with each other?

Kind of like I’ve never spoken to my dad about it because it’s his brother and it’s natural for me to think it would be a sore subject.

I actually wouldn’t bring up the abuse from not just my uncles around my parents because when it first came out they didn’t handle it well so I respect that for them it’s uncomfortable and I think that’s the right thing to do for them. I’d think they could see my point of view.

So am I seeing it through my trauma lens both in the situation above and in my situation in the initial post?
 

Sideways

Moderator
I don't think you're necessarily seeing it through a trauma lens. But you're anticipating a high degree of unspoken agreement on how to handle a situation that very few people know how to negotiate.

You don't talk about your trauma with them. I'm the same with my family. So, in my mind, they can only guess what I do and don't need when it comes to conversation.

Some people will instinctively understand to try and give a wide berth to anything that might relate to your trauma.

But most people in our life don't give our trauma a whole lot of thought. Even if we tell them some things (and for us, that telling is a monumental thing that consumes a whole lot of our emotional energy long after we've finished the conversation), it's been my personal experience that most people don't actually give it much thought after that. Let alone change their habits around us.

Example: my family knows I was abused very badly by the school chaplain. Conversations about religion, priests, teachers, even child sex abuse, are still very typical for them, even when I'm in the room and trying very hard to keep breathing.

They don't notice. I can't not notice! It's my prerogative, though, to ask them to not talk about certain things around me, and to remind them periodically when they forget.

If it helps at all? Some people do give it a lot of thought, and still get it wrong! If your reaction is to feel angry and invalidated? That's fine. They're you're feelings, and how we feel is how we feel.

But my advice? Do something constructive and assertive because of those feelings. This makes you uncomfortable. So tell them.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Not that these people abused me, but my parents are friends with convicted rapists and pedophiles. I have repeatedly asked for years for them not to talk about those people with me. But they repeatedly continue to do so (and even compare me to one of them).
Anyway, I learnt about boundaires on here on another thread. Rather than me expecting them to respect my wish to not talk about them with me. I need to remove myself when they do.

Parents should care what happened to their children and should protect their children and should understand the impact of CSA and be disgusted that someone did that to their child.

You are not asking for much at all. .you aren't asking them to stop seeing the uncles. (Which one might think they would do anyway without anyone asking them to).
You're just not wanting to hear about them.
But your parents aren't able to see what you need for whatever reasons they have.

So, what do you want to do in response?
Perfectly ok to say: I'm not speaking about them. Or just changing the subject. Or removing yourself. Whatever it is that you want: find a way to do it.
As sadly, it doesn't sound like your parents are going to meet your needs about this.
 

caroline_13

Confident
My parents went on vacation to where some uncles live, they both abused me, but my family only knows the one, they know no details just that some sexual abuse happened, but also they’ve never asked. My mom decided to tell me about the woes and goings on of the two uncles and for the one I get it, I haven’t told her, she knows no reason to not, but the other?

So I’m triggered and I guess I don’t know if I’m being reasonable or not. Should I expect them not to talk about the uncle around me? It’s what I want but just because I want it doesn’t mean I deserve to get it, doesn’t mean it’s reasonable to expect it. When I first told she made a point to either talk bad about him or not talk about him. Now she just acts like she doesnt remember it happening, or does and is gauging my reaction. I honestly can’t tell. Truly it irks me that they even talk to him, it’s part of the reason I don’t say anything about the other one, I didn’t want to take that connection from them, and part of me didn’t want the rejection of them not doing anything.

He’s family so I never expected them to severe ties, I’m sure part of me thought they should, but I accepted it wouldn’t happen years ago, seems like a lot to accept that they can’t even leave him out of conversations with me. Am I wrong? How do others feel about this issue, assuming I’m not the only one.
You're not in the wrong. Put some distance between you and your parents, however you can. Even if it's just focusing more on YOUR life.
 

Friday

Moderator
Should I expect them not to talk about the uncle around me?
As far as expectations go…

1A. Have you asked them not to? (OR)
1B. Have you told them you will not listen to -or have anything to do- with the uncle(s).

2. If they do talk about him to you or around you, do you maintain your boundary, or dissolve your boundary and continue to listen, or expect them to ?

3. How is your family, usually, at following through to things they’ve either agreed to, or not crossing boundaries you’ve informed them of?

***

As far as reasonableness goes..

Nope!

Expecting anyone to Mind Read is unreasonable, as is expecting anyone to maintain anyone else’s boundaries for them.

If you dissolve your boundaries when thehre crossed, instead of maintaining them, it’s not reasonable for anyone to stay within the lines, as there are no lines.

Yep!
- Asking someone not to talk about anyone/anything for any reason is not unreasonable. You’re asking. <<< Unless you’re not actually asking, because any time you ask someone a question? “No” is as correct as “Yes”, “Maybe”, “Sometimes”, etc.

Maybe?
- Telling someone you will not listen to talk about anyone/anything for any reason is reasonable with a few exceptions. ((Like if you refuse to speak to your ex about your child, one needs to take an extra step to be reasonable; like hiring an attorney for all communication about the kids to go through / making an exception in life or death circumstance, etc.)) Chatting about your rapist(s) to you, or to others around you? Is not one of those situations where refusing to listen is unreasonable, nor needs exceptions made to it.

***Bonus Round***

Boundaries 😎 Creating & Maintaining them

- Asking someone to do/not do something IS NOT creating or maintaining a boundary. It’s just an ask. Yes/Maybe/No/Tuesdays/Requests for more information to consider/etc. are all perfectly acceptable answers, even if you’d prefer one over another. Otherwise you’re not asking. You’re telling.

- Telling someone you refuse to listen to anything about your rapist IS NOT creating or maintaining a boundary. It’s just a heads up that you have a boundary on this issue. It’s considered basically the polite thing to do with friends and family, to clue them into things that are important to you, in advance… but it’s not up to them (unless you invite them to negotiate with you to find a happy middle ground that you can both live happily with) to create or maintain them.

Creating & maintaining a boundary is what YOU do, when someone starts talking about your rapist to you, or around you.

For example, possible actions to take when someone starts talking about your rapists to you, around you, invites them to dinner, etc.

- Do you remind them you will not have anything to do with your rapists, including listening to others talk about them… to give them a chance to change the subject?
- Do you tell them how pissed off and betrayed you feel that they still have anything to do with those oedophiles, and how disappointed you are in their behaviors?
- Do you simply hang up the phone, or walk away?
- Do you beat them to death, then set the house on fire?

3 of those boundaries are reasonable.
1 is not.
 
Last edited:

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
@Friday

I hear you and no I have not set boundaries nor requested it not be said.

To be fair originally SHE was the one who would stop the conversation when he was brought up so I thought she understood. Looking back in it it was probably her narcissistic way of bringing attention to the fact that she was “supporting” me when in fact she was not.

So yes I am asking that she be a mind reader. However I think it common sense. She has no problem avoiding any mention of the other guy, but then I think that’s because it reminds her that she failed.

I’ve decided to live with it because setting this boundary means setting 50 more. Plus I have no problem avoiding her and by not responding when she talks about him and even walking away she’ll get the message better than asking her not to because it will require her to acknowledge that I have feelings which she isn’t any good at.
 
Last edited:

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
i hold right and wrong as judgements and ? ? ? well? ? ? i'm trying to kick the judgmental habit and don't really want to go there. . .

i think of it in terms of picking my battles small enough to win and big enough to matter. to my senses, controlling what other people talk about is a battle which is neither small enough to win nor big enough to matter. if i can't find someplace else to be, i hum a little tune to myself to drown out the parts that hurt me.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
@arfie

To me it is big enough but only because it’s another symptom of her lack of thought when it comes to me.

The conversations aren’t happening with other people around, it’s her telling me. There isn’t a good purpose, she said that he told her that he always bathes more when she’s around just for her and then whatever commentary she had that I stopped listening to. Before it was that he’d been in a car accident and it was his fault and he was being sued. Does anyone care what their abuser is up to? Unless it means he’s crossing state lines to mine I don’t give a sh** and shouldn’t be told.

So I guess if it continues I’ll avoid her which isn’t a place far from where I am now.
 

Applecore

Learning
My parents went on vacation to where some uncles live, they both abused me, but my family only knows the one, they know no details just that some sexual abuse happened, but also they’ve never asked. My mom decided to tell me about the woes and goings on of the two uncles and for the one I get it, I haven’t told her, she knows no reason to not, but the other?

So I’m triggered and I guess I don’t know if I’m being reasonable or not. Should I expect them not to talk about the uncle around me? It’s what I want but just because I want it doesn’t mean I deserve to get it, doesn’t mean it’s reasonable to expect it. When I first told she made a point to either talk bad about him or not talk about him. Now she just acts like she doesnt remember it happening, or does and is gauging my reaction. I honestly can’t tell. Truly it irks me that they even talk to him, it’s part of the reason I don’t say anything about the other one, I didn’t want to take that connection from them, and part of me didn’t want the rejection of them not doing anything.

He’s family so I never expected them to severe ties, I’m sure part of me thought they should, but I accepted it wouldn’t happen years ago, seems like a lot to accept that they can’t even leave him out of conversations with me. Am I wrong? How do others feel about this issue, assuming I’m not the only one.

For relatable context, I have chosen to stop communicating with several family members for my own peace of mind. I did this years ago and I am relieved. In my extended family, on both sides there is war trauma, rape victims and diagnosed mental illness; inter-family theft and suicide on one side and child cruelty and cult membership on the other. Life is too short, and every one of us has the right to walk away from our family and find love, light-heartedness, laughter, affection and strength in the world of our making. Each one of us has that power, including you.

By the sounds of what you wrote, your mother doesn't know the full extent of your suffering. No we can't expect people to do something for us if we haven't communicated clearly that it's what we want and need. You have several options how to proceed. One option is to spell out very clearly to your mother what happened and why therefore you don't want contact with that person or people, and that she should be considerate about your feelings. It might be helpful to think about this from her point of view also: her reaction may be shame and guilt that she did not protect you, and it might be worth thinking about whether you are going to be able to make her feel forgiven, if that is what you feel.

One way of doing that is to write it in a letter or email - that way you can choose your words carefully, but you also have the risk of that letter or email being found and read by other people, so only write what you would be comfortable with everyone reading. The result could be a huge explosion that destroys other family relationships. It may cause your uncles to deny it and accuse you of lying, and that is one of the outcomes you need to be prepared for. All of this may be traumatic in the short term for you, but in the longer term you may feel free.

Another option is to write to your uncles and tell them what they did, and tell them that's why you don't want to see them. That itself will cause them to behave with your mother in a different way, and then she will understand you better. Again, this could be traumatic in the short term for you.

One thing to consider, which may or may not help, is that many mental health professionals attribute paedophilia - which is what child molestation is, even inside the perpetrator's own family - to the perpetrators own childhood experience. Apparently, in many cases they are enacting and unconsciously trying to overcome their own childhood experiences. That in no way justifies what they did, but it may help you to get some perspective. If you do voice your suffering to your mother or even your uncles, it is an option to mention that you understand that what they did may have come from their own suffering. That does not mean you have to carry the burden of their suffering, but it may disarm them and enable them to confess and beg forgiveness - which you have no obligation to grant them.

Because, one half of communication is about getting the reaction you want from the other person; only the other half is as simple as expressing what you feel.

This is one person's opinion and I invite you to reject it or take from it what is helpful in the context of the other advice you are given here.

I wish you much love, and the best of luck.
 
Top