How To Trust Family Members Again

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How To Trust Family Members Again
« on: June 17, 2021, 06:42:06 AM »
I suspect I have an undiagnosed BPD mom. My dad passed away long ago so he cannot help. Growing up, it was a whirlwind of emotions, with my BPD mom being highly protective of me and restricting me from speaking to my friends.

When I was 18 it started getting really bad. We'd fight every other week and in came the silent treatment for me and audible complaining of my "bad behaviour" to my NP brother. I suspect BPD mom also complained to other members of the family. Sooner or later, they'd come marching in one at a time, mostly my brother and aunt, telling me "you should just apologise", and that I "needed to understand her more". Yes, because emotional abusers need a reason to abuse their children, and somehow by understanding them the abuse becomes acceptable. ::) ::) ::)

Anyway, fast forward 7 years, and I've had enough. With a lot of hard work, I graduated and got a good job. I managed to move out at 24. Do note that this is highly unusual for people my age in my country as most live with their parents until they are married. I was not going to be treated this way any longer so I practically ran away, moving out without telling my BPD mom where I live. However, my aunt was completely unsupportive of me moving out at first and practically said I was disowning the family when I first told her. My uncle and grandma were equally angry, both saying I was making a huge mistake and that I'd regret it.

A lot has happened and my brother fully apologised for what he said, mainly because with me gone, BPD mom picks on him now. He changed his tune real quick once he became the scapegoat child. My aunt too, seems to avoid my BPD mom actively, and now believes my brother at least.

I tried talking to my aunt about feeling abandoned by her enabling behaviours in the past, and she said an indirect apology. In my culture, it is very rare for someone from the older generation to apologise to someone younger. She has always treated me "kindly" though it's quite hierarchical as this is the general culture she grew up in. She buys food for me, visited me at my new place before, and says she is here for me. But somehow, I still don't trust her. Maybe my brother, but not her, and definitely not my uncle nor grandma. I want nothing to do with everyone on my mom's side.

I feel I am overreacting though. At least my aunt has been quite accepting of my moving out. I feel like I want to trust her but I am afraid. Has anyone been in this kind of situation before? How do you trust a family member who is more or less good but unknowingly betrayed you in the past?

I really appreciate any advice or encouragement  :)



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Re: How To Trust Family Members Again
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2021, 12:21:42 PM »
keirshy - Hi and welcome to OOTF. I am really glad you reached out to this community for support and encouragement.

You have accomplished much in your life and broken the generational and cultural barriers that could've kept you in a situation that was harming you. You have made a way for your brother to see for himself and to also be believed and supported in a way you have not been. That is quite a tough road and your journey is inspiring.

Breaking from from a toxic home environment is an often lonely struggle and it makes sense you would want connection with trustworthy family members.

It is possible that your aunt is truly remorseful and realizes she failed to see the pain you were in and how destructive your mother's choices are for you and your brother. I am one who puts less emphasis on someone verbally saying the 'right' thing when apologizing.

I understand it is important for anyone to verbally acknowledge when they have been wrong and have misjudged and hurt another, but having had apologies used as weapons in my own family dynamic, I am less interested in words. These days, I am more interested in someone's consistent choices over time.

If you believe your aunt's betrayal was unknowing and you see consistent love and support of you then I would imagine you could slowly begin to build a new foundation of relationship with her based on growing trust.

I guess what I am thinking as I read your experiences is if your aunt does prove herself over time to truly be 'for you' and supportive of you it would be great if your mother's problems didn't rob you of a potentially loving relationship with your her.

Finding your own way cautiously forward and making your own judgments about who to allow close to you can be a powerful way to separate from the specter of all that your mother put you through.  And is a strong step toward complete freedom from the chaos and confusion of the past.

Just some thoughts!



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Re: How To Trust Family Members Again
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2021, 01:12:57 PM »
Welcome keirshy.   I echo what Bloomie said, and also add that if you choose to let your aunt into your life, begin trusting her very very slowly.
For instance, you might welcome her gifts and perhaps even reciprocate with your own gift when appropriate.   But hold your feelings and thoughts very very close until she proves herself trustworthy.   This could take several years.   You can be cordial without making yourself vulnerable.
You don't have to tell her why you are not offering much information.  But please be sure to protect yourself. 



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Re: How To Trust Family Members Again
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2021, 03:31:57 PM »
Hi kiershy,

Welcome to the forum. It is such a great place to figure these things out, with many of us in various stages of healing from issues related to disorders and toxic relationships.

Here's where I am currently. I believe that when we grow up in a home where we have been hurt again and again and again, our body has learned, directly in our nervous system, that certain people are not trustworthy. This will be wired right into us, from twenty years, or more, of visceral, body experience. In this case, not trusting is a body message, to move away to safety. It helps us begin the healing process. We can work on trust as a core issue later, if it is becomes an overall problem, when we are finally safe.

I don't believe you can talk yourself into trusting someone who has hurt you, especially if they did it more than once and it was a pattern. That is a good thing. Otherwise we'd all stay in abusive situations. Our bodies will tell us to be careful. Be observant.

It is true that your aunt can possibly end up being a support to you, but those "trust" feelings will not mend quickly. It will take years to build back trust and that is okay. We should expect someone who hurt us to prove their reliability. We do not need to get hurt again, especially when we've moved on to the path of healing.

I am learning quite a bit about somatic healing and the nervous system. Sukie Baxter has some great youtube videos about healing the nervous system if you are interested in checking it out.

Trust is one of those main issues so many of us deal with when we emerge from toxic childhoods. It is telling us that we should go slow when we interact with people who remind us of the abuse, or were a part of a former abusive cycle.

Maybe just sit back and observe your aunt's behaviour? Let her prove herself over time, while you continue to heal. Don't try to force trust, as it is our bodies way of telling us to go slow and be safe.

I think your reticence about trusting is perfectly normal and healthy considering the situation. It is up to your family to gain your trust and only by showing you that they are safe to be around. If they continue to hurt you and do not change, it is absolutely okay to limit contact or go no contact. In some cases that is the only way to heal.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2021, 03:47:32 PM by Hepatica »
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue



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Re: How To Trust Family Members Again
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2021, 04:24:41 PM »
However, my aunt was completely unsupportive of me moving out at first and practically said I was disowning the family when I first told her.
 How do you trust a family member who is more or less good but unknowingly betrayed you in the past?

my advice is to trust your instincts

still spend time with your Aunt but don't divulge anything you wouldn't want your mom to know
your mom & Aunt's relationship is longer & should they communicate again, it's possible they'll discuss you

found out the hard way with having what I considered a close relationship with one of my many siblings
we spoke almost everyday

then PD parent was talking with me by phone one day & knew everything about me!
apparently, sibling turned around & reported our conversations to PD parent
from that time on, never said anything to sibling that wouldn't mind PD parent knowing

I'm NC now & no longer have to worry about my business being spread thru family
« Last Edit: June 17, 2021, 04:27:37 PM by Jolie40 »
be good to yourself