"Not everyone can be an orphan."
January 27, 2014 8:02 AM Subscribe
I live in another country separate from every member of my small family. After seven years of difficulties, I've had to cut contact due to proselytizing, trauma, and untreated mental illness.
What steps can I take to come to terms with this decision?
How do I stop feeling so guilty and alone because of this decision? Most of all, how do I convince myself that this is the best step to take for my own health and happiness? Especially when taking into account that almost every previous point of contact with my family has been negative and distressing.
For background: strict, multi-generation pentecostal Christian family, long history of abuse and abusers throughout, mother has Borderline Personality Disorder that is untreated. (Though in her words: "God cured me".)
Regardless of the close friends and acquaintances I've made in this country, I've never really felt like I had a support network. I left home when I was 16 and never thought I would need anyone in my corner. Now that I'm facing Adult problems in life, I have nowhere to turn. In the past I've tried to turn to my family for support or love or acceptance, mostly to be met with attempts to convert me, followed by scorn, guilt-tripping, and really, really bad advice. I lessened contact to just holidays or special events, but even those short phone calls became overwhelmingly uncomfortable and unkind.
Part of what fuels my guilt is the fact that my family is all very low income, and my grandmother is nearing the end of her life. I would be overjoyed to have a relationship with her (or any family member) that was fulfilling and happy, especially before it was too late, but it just doesn't seem to work that way.
I realise that walking away was absolutely necessary, but it doesn't make me feel any less sad, anxious, or alone. Where do I go from here?