Those who enjoy my insanity..........

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Destruction of a Family

For 31 years now I have grown up in a very loving, tight knit, large family. My mother is one of 8 siblings. My grandmother had 20 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren and I think 1 great great grand child. My female cousins (who are around the same age) are my best friends and I go to them first. Everyone lives within 20 miles of each other and gathering for birthdays, bbq's and celebrations happened frequently and most of us talked on the phone once a week, if not daily. Knowing that if there was anything we ever needed we could turn to our family members for support. Unfortunately that is no longer.

The root of our family, my grandmother, passed away a few months ago and one of her dying wishes was that her family took care of each other after she was gone. Her wish was not granted. That wish has gone up in flames. There was a very tragic day that we found out that one of the elder relatives had been inappropriately touching a much younger one and it was devastating to say the least. We couldn't believe what we were hearing, couldn't even grasp the idea and couldn't even imagine in our worst nightmares it happening to one of our own children. It was hard enough to deal with it just knowing this child and seeing an innocence lost and never returned.

Not knowing what else to do the police were called, a report was made and the investigation began. Little did we know how devastating it really would be to our family and how people that you thought you knew, you didn't really know at all. People were upset for not keeping it in the family and trying to figure out another alternative; knowing that if convicted, a family member would inevitably spend time in jail and have their lives ruined because of very bad choices that had been made. Choices made, that make you wonder if it was the first time or had other lives been ruined in the past that we don't even know about.

In one week our lives had been turned upside down with a confession, an arrest and a suicide.

Yes, my family member took their life after getting out of jail on bond, rather than face the consequences of their actions. Leaving behind unanswered questions, problems, hurt, anger sorrow and grief. Grief that this person will be missed no matter what they did, anger that it was done and the easy way was taken out, the problems of cleaning up the mess (financial etc....) that he made and so many questions that a child alone cannot answer. Unless some sort of a break through is made in counseling, I don't think any of us will know the full extent of the abuse.

Now, 2 months later, their isn't a family member who is really on good terms with anyone and the sad part is that I don't think anyone really knows what they're fighting about. My grandmothers house is on the market and the estate being divided has been horrible. Brother and sisters treating each other horribly, backstabbing and cruel comments and a practical disownment of some members. As a younger generation, we saw no other alternative to the original problem, which was the abuse. The older generation does not agree and is very unhappy with the outcome of it. Fingers are being pointed and the blame is being put anywhere it can be. They don't understand that the only person they can blame is my uncle who is now gone from this earth. He made all of those decisions and ruined so many lives. There is so much anger running through the veins of this family and I don't believe it will ever be fixed. The names have been called and the fingers have been pointed, there is no going back.

The saddest part of the whole situation is the fact that most of the older members (the ones who are being so selfish and hurtful) have completely forgotten who the important one is in this situation. The child, the VICTIM. She will never be innocent again, she will remember this for the rest of her life, she will always have unanswered questions and possibly nightmares, she will more than likely have issues as an adult that will take years of therapy. Her mother will always have that guilt and feeling of failure and not being able to protect her child, especially from someone that she trusted. They will both live the rest of their lives feeling like they did something wrong or that they should be blamed for the final outcome. They should NEVER have to feel that way!!!

Anyway, I have remained neutral through it all. Listening to everyone involved and seeing each of their sides, knowing how they are feeling. Ultimately, caught in the middle. This is my family and I love each and every one of them. Not wanting to take sides because that is just not who I am I have tried to stay open to every ones feelings and beliefs. Lord knows everyone is allowed to feel how they feel and grieve how they want to grieve, I'm not one to judge. There are many family members who are not like me and have taken definite sides, making this a very broken family. I don't see it ever being the same or even close. This breaks my heart and it makes me so sad to even think of it. I just wish that people would come to see who this is all about.

Well my rant is over and I just needed to get that off. Get it out in the open and not have to worry about what you think whether I'm right or wrong.


  1. I can completely and utterly relate to this post, especially to the innocent victim. I just posted about this very thing.

    Sexual abuse is so heinous and I don't understand the older generation's desire to keep everything quiet. This seems to be universal with that generation. It is in my family too. Everyone wants to pretend things are fine and the horrible deeds have never been done. But they did.

    It was a good thing the authorities were called in for your uncle. This is the sort of thing that almost always becomes a repeat offense with many victims. Who knows how many more.

    So sorry about the break down of your family. I completely empathize.

  2. I can't even imagine what your family is going through but worse the little girl and her mother. I know that that is my worst fear other than my kids dying is that someone offend them sexually. I am terrified to think that my sweet child could be abused by someone in that way. Oh that poor girl. I Pray that everything gets better and that your family focuses on her healing now because there is nothing left to do for the uncle. So sorry.

  3. How sad and terrible. Not only the abuse crime, but now the divide of a once close family. My prayers for healing to your family.

    We have come a long way as a society in this matter. My mom was a victim and kept it quiet for years. Sadly, the older generation felt that those things needed to be kept silent. But the silence only hurts the victim even more. I hope the child in your family finds healing.

  4. I am terribly sad to read about the break-down of your family and even more to hear of the cause. I am, however, very glad to read of your position. I believe that you made the right choice to stand for what is right for the victim. Protecting the abuser for the sake of the family is the same as staying married to an abusive spouse for the 'sake' of the children... no! Abusers are often abused. There may be something in the older generation's history - not just your uncle - that is too painful to be addressed. And it may be a generational problem that they might never be able to address due to a very real cultural difference. But that is not your concern. The children are, and they are who should be the priority for all (altho, obviously, it isn't - that can be a reality in all families :( !). I hope that those who truly loved being a part of your extended family - for the right reasons - will come around. Make it through the hurt and return to the fold. If they do not. Pick up your pieces and gather with those who share your concerns for those who should be protected.. the victim of abuse. They are the ones who share your values and mores, and that is often better than blood ties. I think of the abused child in the future... as she matures, she will know that those who loved her, cared enough about her to stand up for her protection even though it meant the 'fall' of your family. I would think that knowing that her welfare, and by association, the welfare of other young ones, was THAT important to those who protected her, and it will go a long way to repairing damage to her sense of self-worth. She, and the others of her generation, will know that they are more important to their loved ones, than something as intangible and frankly, useless, as the reputation of an extended family.

  5. That was a beautifully written post. I know we've already talked about this, but I just wanted to chime in with my hugs and love and support. Hopefully someday, you and your family will find some peace with this. I've always admired your close-knit fam, and I know you'll get back to where you were. (HUG)

  6. This is such a horrible situation to be part of...I wish I had some words of wisdom.
    I have a family member who I grew up with who later came to be abusing his daughter, my cousin, for almost a decade-and none of us knew. My sisters and I were with this person and his family ALL the time when we were little and none of us had any idea....horrifying.
    In our situation, the mom called the police immediately, he confessed and went to jail. The mom and daughter moved out of state and we all lost touch. Somehow, the mom of that daughter became "the bad guy" and most of the family seems to have accepted him for who he is, and forgiven/forgotten.
    It's not fair. It isn't right.
    It's horrible that these things happen and even MORE horrible when the entire group doesn't rally behind the victim.

  7. What a trial to go through. And it's wide-reaching effects are being felt immediately by you all, aren't they? The division and breaking of the family is very hard for people to deal with; we take so much shelter in the strength and solidity of family values and company....and unfortunately, as you're finding now, it's pretty much an illusion. I hope and pray you all find the shelter you can rely on. The only one I know of is spiritual shelter. I think Alyson, who commented first, would second that....

  8. What a trial to go through. And it's wide-reaching effects are being felt immediately by you all, aren't they? The division and breaking of the family is very hard for people to deal with; we take so much shelter in the strength and solidity of family values and company....and unfortunately, as you're finding now, it's pretty much an illusion. I hope and pray you all find the shelter you can rely on. The only one I know of is spiritual shelter. I think Alyson, who commented first, would second that....

  9. I am so so sorry. On every level of your family, this just rips everyone apart. And you know, my family would be the same way. My mom's generation would be all "sweep it under the rug and she'll be okay and you just get her help and we'll keep him in another room at the holidays."
    The poor kid will never feel full closure from this. Not that I think any victim ever actually gets "closure" or any explanation or anything like that, but it's like a second hit at her.
    I'll keep you in my thoughts - you have to keep neutral even though it'll make you nuts. The only chance the family has of coming back together at some point is having SOME STABLE point, some voice of reason who can keep perspective on things. Good luck.



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