Why does time make a difference?

Invisible Fire

I am struggling with a family member that was part of the reason I was abused. Now they have a condition and they are dying. Everyone is really sad and I am angry and I can't find any sadness for them. Ok so all of the negative things they did that involved me happened over 20 years ago. Does time passing really matter. Is the idea that they haven't done any "bad" things in over 20 years really make a difference? The thing is I haven't told my family my story. But, I am sure others were involved and maybe no one knows the specifics but its is obvious that things were not ok. Why is it that people can act terrible in their younger years, abuse others and then as they age and maybe mature, change their ways and all is to be forgiven? If not forgiven then forgotten? Yes I made mistake as a young adult. I have done things I am not proud of. Things that bring me shame. BUT, i NEVER abused children. There is a difference. people at any age who can abuse children are in a different category. And of course there is always the, well alcohol and drugs were involved. And I will say I have abused my fair share of alcohol in the past and again will say I NEVER abused children. But, why do I feel like a bad person for having no sad emotions about someone dying ? She is still alive but I am trying to decide that when she dies if I will go to the funeral. If not for her and the other abusers but for the people I do care about.


Just because she is sick and dying doesn't mean she automatically can demand or expect your sympathy. It doesn't take away the hurt and it doesn't take away what she did to you.
You are a compassionate person and you are now feeling pressure perhaps to express the usual feelings when someone is dying? But this isn't a 'usual' situation.
Do what works for YOU.
Forget any sense of obligation or any pressure from anyone or any 'shoulds'.
YOU get to decide how you feel. YOU get to decide if you want to go to the funeral or not.


Not Active
Human beings are really strange about death. The moment someone is dying, they seem to think that all of that person's affairs ought to be brought into harmony even if said person makes no effort for this to happen. It's often a natural reaction for the empathy people feel over the dying situation to be front and center of everything.

But nothing has really changed. You still have what sounds like a justifiable hurt.

Ideally, you might find a chance to talk to this person about your hurt - maybe she will reach out to you, maybe you will reach out to her. Maybe you will find peace with her before she dies but then, maybe you won't.

It's fine to be quietly uninvolved or even loudly uninvolved. Funerals are stressful business, no matter what, anyway.

What others expect from you isn't nearly as important as taking care of yourself and it sounds like you have already suffered enough.


This is going to sound cold. The only reason I went to the old man's funeral was to make sure he was dead and couldn't hurt anyone else. I felt nothing. Relief maybe, but that was it.

I didn't go to my sisters funeral because I was at the age of not caring what others thought or said. I wasn't willing to be a hypocrite with that one.

My son died recently and he hurt a lot of people during the last 20 years of his life. Tho as his mom I do understand why it will never make it ok. Never. I don't 'heroize' him. He had a lot of good qualities, but they all got negated in the last years of his life.

Some of my friends do not want to hear of the things he said and did. That's ok. It doesn't take it away just because he died. But I have to talk about the hurt. If nowhere else but here.

This is a very personal choice for you. I think people go to funerals for different reasons. If it would help you get some semblance of yourself back, then go. If it has no meaning to you, then do what is right for you.

There were a lot of 'dry eyes' at the old man's funeral. Have no idea why they were all there honestly. Guess they all had their own reasons.

Take care of yourself. Don't put yourself thru something that isn't going to help you.


All philosophy aside, I think you have the right to your own reaction, anger and grieve of this person. Your experience whether you were a child or not is significant on your life and I think honestly, when our abusers die, most of us we end up having crazy bat shit reactions that I think are natural and another way of processing and moving on.
I just feel to say you truly have the right to have all this mixed emotions to this person. and I relate to you as well.


I don't think time does make a difference when it comes to abuse and if that person has got away with it and never tried to apologise (not that abusers ever would). Your completely within your right not to have anything to do with your abusers and not to go to funerals either. Your your own person now and have the ability to make your own decisions and to feel happy about them regardless of what other people think. Best wishes to you Invisible fire. ?


New Here
When my mom died, i was relieved more than anything. Tension began to flow out of my body and i became relaxed for the first time that i could remember. I had avoided visiting her for two years, and my family shunned me because of it and continue to do so. I have had to become stronger than I ever thought I could be. Here's the deal. Saying "no' to what feels like an obligation and saying 'yes' to your sanity and peace of mind are firmly linked for ptsd survivors. When you refuse to allow the expectations of others to determine your course of action, you send a message to the Universe that you are acting on your own behalf and no one else's. That sets in motion a chain of events of more good things coming to you.

So don't continue the abuse on her behalf. Put yourself first and only do as much as you want to do.