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(45 Posts)
oprahfan Thu 08-Feb-18 15:04:17

Oh i’m so upset and can’t stop crying.
I’ll try to be as brief as poss. I’m dealing with the aftermath of childhood abuse that lasted until I left home at 19(emotional, physical, psychological) i’m 46 now.
I had a lovely cousin, who used to look after me whilst my mother went galavanting etc and she was so good to me.
I have more pics of me and her than I do of me and my mum (only 1!)
I last heard from her when I was 9 years old. I thought about her a lot, I missed her when I grew up (mum and dad moved a lot) and I never heard from my cousins again.
I asked my aunt about my cousin and asked for her address. I sent a Christmas card and a letter, telling her how much she meaner to me, how often I thought of her, about my children etc etc. I didn’t bring up the abuse I went through, I said that I hadn’t had contact with my parents for over 20 years.
I got a letter back from my cousin saying that i’d shocked and stressed her, she could do without me contacting her and I was not to ever contact her again. Her words were that I had opened a Pandora’s box.
I’m devastated to say the least.
I’ve cried all afternoon.
I loved her. She was so good to me as a child and I missed her so much. It took some guts to write to her, as I have no idea of what my parents had done to her, or why i’d Never heard from her. I was a child, and I only wrote to her in the hope I could see her. She told me she was on medication and had to go to hospital. I too am on meds, and see a psychologist at the moment who is really helping me through. The psychologist has said what I went through, many people don’t survive. Somehow I have, quality of life isn’t great, but i’m Here.
My mum specifically caused a lot of problems with other relatives.
I wan’t expecting that response.
I know that I have to respect my cousins wishes, I won’t contact her again, but why the horrible reply? Thank you for reading x

sourpatchkid Thu 08-Feb-18 15:09:12

I'm so sorry this happened- I wonder if she also had a traumatic childhood and has tried to repress it. You did nothing wrong but she might not be able to be in touch with you


ApproachingATunnel Thu 08-Feb-18 15:14:50

I’m sorry. It sounds like she’s been through a lot and does not want to/is not ready to think/talk about it.
Im affraid you should respect that. She showed a lot of kindness in the past and your letter was in no way unkind at all. She might rethink the situation but for now i’d just leave her be.

tafftum Thu 08-Feb-18 15:20:05

Aw op, I'm so sorrysad
Like others have said maybe she had a traumatic childhood too and upon reading your message it brought it back to her and she feels overwhelmed, which isn't your fault btw.
Maybe give her some time to think her situation through and she may get back into touch with you. For now just remember the happy moments you did share with her thanks

MyKingdomForBrie Thu 08-Feb-18 15:24:30

Could your abusers have been abusing her too and she just can’t bear to be reminded so closely? It’s very hard on you but as you say you have to respect her wishes. Keep your memories of her as they were, as someone who helped you.

Poshindevon Thu 08-Feb-18 15:26:21

Reaching out to long lost relatives is always tricky. Your memories of this lovely girl gave rise to expectations that she felt the same, would want to meet up and you would rekindle your childhood friendship.
It seems something awful also happened to your cousin. Her reply to you was not horrible she simply cannot face seeing someone (you) from her past as the memories are too painful.
Your cousin has your contact details and who knows, in time she may feel differently and get in touch.
Dont dwell on your cousins response and let it set you back, you have overcome much worse. All the best.

Pearlsaringer Thu 08-Feb-18 15:32:04

She’s at a different stage in her journey OP. Very sad for you to have that response but it’s the memories she’s rejecting, not you. Give her time, she may or may not re-enter your life but you have some happy memories of her to treasure. She will have the same.

Viviennemary Thu 08-Feb-18 15:33:28

That is very sad. But this is what it sounds like to me. Your cousin has also had it very hard and doesn't want to be in touch with you as it will bring many unhappy memories back of times she wants to forget. This isn't in any way your fault but that is the only explanation that I can see. I think you should seek counselling.

angstinabaggyjumper Thu 08-Feb-18 15:35:47

Just flowers

BadTasteFlump Thu 08-Feb-18 15:36:49

So sorry Oprah. I can understand why you're so upset.

As others have said, there's nothing you can do but respect her wishes, as it's likely she also has suffered as a result of the past but for whatever reason cannot face even thinking about it. I have been in a similar situation and when I finally decided to deal with it I was stonewalled by other members of my birth family, who had been there too, and had been through similar, but just didn't want to know.

I have come to realise that you can't save anybody else, only yourself. Maybe one day she will get in touch again, but don't expect to ever hear from her.

As a side - I would really recommend having a look at the Stately Homes thread on here where you will find loads of support smile

RedHelenB Thu 08-Feb-18 15:42:20

I've had a can of worms open recently . I can understand her point of view. I've coped by putting the past firmly in the past. Life is for living now.

WHMum1806 Thu 08-Feb-18 15:49:11

I'm sorry for you pain, I can understand how it much it must hurt, it's not your fault but not hers either. Having volunteered on an abuse line, I know abuse can be repressed for a years, decades, a lifetime.

You are bravely trying to deal with your past, maybe she has not started that journey yet and is not ready for a reminder of that time in her life. It's is much easier in the short term to keep a lid on Pandora's box than face the horrors within, particularly if she has other health issue to deal with.

Take comfort in what she did for you as a child and that you have told her how grateful you were, that was a lovely thing to do even if the result was not what you hoped for. Maybe when the shock wears off you may have started a positive change in her life - at least don't let it derail yours.

Best wishes to you.

Wellfuckmeinbothears Thu 08-Feb-18 15:52:17

Hi op,

I'm so sorry for what you went through. You have done amazingly well to get this far and good on you for addressing your past with therapy and medication. You are being proactive and not allowing a terrible childhood to ruin your life and you should be truly proud of that.

You say you don't know what your parents put your cousin through and I think that is really key to keep in mind here. I understand you are hurt by her response and you should give yourself time to grieve and acknowledge that hurt. But given how much you care about your cousin, would you want her to maintain contact with you if it was damaging to her and her recovery? I know it must be very painful when you were so hopeful to rekindle the relationship but I think you need to accept and respect her decision. She may not have written it in the nicest of ways but just try and remember that it isn't you she is angry with, it is her past and she is dealing with it in her own way. She is on a path to recovering as you are and you are at different stages. It may be in the future she wants to get in touch but for now try to focus on you. You are not to blame but you need to respect her decision not to have contact.

Take care and be kind to yourself flowers

MatildaTheCat Thu 08-Feb-18 15:57:40

She’s unwell. She knows where you are and possibly one day she will decide to revisit your letter and feel differently. However it sounds as if you have, inadvertently, caused her upset.

BUT, you are not the cause of the upset. That is down to her abusers. Not sure if her abusers and yours are one and the same but it all sounds deeply unpleasant. Might your aunt be able to shed some light and at least know that you are sorry and concerned?

I really hope your therapy will help and you can learn to live alongside your experiences and live well. That’s the best revenge you can ever have.

MLMsuperfan Thu 08-Feb-18 16:02:55

It was a kind a generous gesture to write a letter about your fond memories. It must have been very upsetting to read the reply you received. I do feel that whatever your cousin is going though that she could have communicated in a kinder way. I hope the upset won't cause you too much pain going forward.

oprahfan Thu 08-Feb-18 16:13:48

Those of us who have been abused in such a way cannot, and I mean cannot just leave things in the past. It has to be treated.
It really cannot be ignored, and dealing with PTSD means I must go through treatment. My quality of life is’t good.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful to your comment. I wasn’t trying to rake things over with my cousin, I sent a very loving and grateful letter to her, wishing to connect with her again.

oprahfan Thu 08-Feb-18 16:14:52

Thank you 😘😘😘😘

oprahfan Thu 08-Feb-18 16:18:41

I’m still crying, I know it will be a day of upset. I have weekly treatment with my psychologist at the moment, who is blinkin marvellous. My cousin is 8 years older than me. Perhaps it would have been kinder if her not to reply.
I really really really did not expect such a response and telling me that ‘she could have done without ‘ me writing to her.
I loved her.
I thanked her for being so good to me.
I knew my mum in particular was very poisonous, obviously there’s been other things going on in her life.
Of course I respect her wishes.

neveradullmoment99 Thu 08-Feb-18 16:20:27

Sounds to me like she has suffered some type of trauma hence why she left so abruptly. Its hard but she doesn't want to talk about it and you need to respect that. She may come to talk to you when she is ready.

ChampagneCommunist Thu 08-Feb-18 16:20:46

Is your aunt your cousin's mother?

If so, why not talk to her, let her know you never mean to upset her daughter and that you just wanted to thank her for the memories she gave you.

neveradullmoment99 Thu 08-Feb-18 16:22:03

Maybe something happened with your parents to her? Is that possible?

neveradullmoment99 Thu 08-Feb-18 16:23:02

If that is the case, her upset will not be with you.

oprahfan Thu 08-Feb-18 16:27:03


My aunt is by marriage. She abhors my mother with a passion.
My cousins mother was a sister of my Grandmother. My Great Aunt and Grandmother have been dead many years.

oprahfan Thu 08-Feb-18 16:28:19


It is highly likely something happened with my parents, specifically my mother. She was very very deceitful.

WannaBeWonderWoman Thu 08-Feb-18 16:31:29

Sorry Oprah you may have good memories of her but she sounds horrible. To put that in a letter that she took some time to think about writing, when you were sending her love, is awful. It could be understandable if she bumped into you and it brought back memories so she was shocked and didn't have time to think about what she was saying. You were a child when she last saw you. I would assume that if your mother fell out with relatives that you may be being lumped in with her so to speak?

Did your relatives know about the abuse?

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