Blood is Thinner than Water

I discovered a new subreddit a few days ago called r/justnofamily. I had been familiar with r/justnomil, which is a sub supporting people with abusive mother-in-laws. But r/justnofamily feels like.. the right place for me.

I keep encountering people who don’t get it. Why you would cut off family. Family is everything, family is your blood, etcetera. I guess those people either had good, loving, supportive families or they accept their own abusive relationships.

I’m 32 years old. I’ve been VLC (very little contact) with my father and stepmother for about 5.5 years now. The triggering event was when my father goaded my vulnerable 17 year old sister into self-harm that sent her to the hospital. He loves control. He threatened to never let her see her loving, supportive boyfriend ever again. He threatened to dump her beloved cat in the boonies. It’s not the first time. His go-to is to try to take away anything you love, simply because you do not submit to and revere him. At this time, my stepmother’s descent into addiction was at its height, and my sister was essentially a slave, doing the housework, caring for their four dogs, and picking her passed-out mother up off the floor. When she expressed ideas about moving out and going to school, he made sure to tell her she and her boyfriend would never amount to anything and that they’d be on welfare.

I can honestly count, on one hand, the number of times he’s complimented or expressed any pride in me. Each time stands out, since it’s so rare. I can only assume it’s the same for her.

The crazy thing is that neither he nor my stepmother have any idea why I cut them off. My stepmother thinks it’s because she put me in drill team (cheerleading but with dancing) when I was younger. I just have to laugh, because otherwise I’d go insane.

The subreddit, r/justnofamily, has many stories of people who stood up and set boundaries with their horrible families. How wonderful, to see people who were firm and unmoved around their immature, narcissistic, screaming and unhinged relatives. I tend to retreat inside myself and shut down emotionally when screamed at. It’s the result of being relentlessly treated this way as a child. I didn’t know how to cope with it then, and I don’t know how to cope with it now.

But these stories give me hope that someday, I can.