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ASK ELLIE: My parents won’t believe I was abused

I was abused by someone in a religious sect when I was a child. I tried to tell my mom, but she didn’t believe me.

After finding out about sex abuse laws, I again tried telling my parents about my past abuse. But they said all of the victims are liars, which means they think I’m a liar. How can I get them to believe me?

Sadly, if your parents are/were involved with that religious group, they’re refusing to accept that you could’ve been harmed by anyone who held their same belief system.

Parental disbelief has been the harsh and demeaning response to many girls and boys who’ve been abused by religious teachers and leaders who were supposed to teach them a moral way of life.

Even in 2018, Pope Francis began his response to such crimes by accusing now-adult abuse victims who came forward of having fabricated allegations about Catholic Church priests. But by last August, he expressed “shame and sorrow” for the tragic history.

Your parents should also express great sorrow that sexual abuse happened to you. Most young children don’t even have the words to lie about an assault on their body’s privacy.

But with so many #Metoo stories being revealed by women and men, describing the humiliation, fear, shame, and ongoing trauma, your parents must be purposefully tone-deaf to not believe that this did happen to you.

You’d benefit from finding a sexual assault support group to share feelings and how to cope with them.

Then, perhaps, you can try your parents again. If they still refuse to accept your truth, close that door emotionally.

If you still need them in your life, accept that their stubborn disbelief is also part of the tragedy of sexual abuse.

You were never the problem. You’re not a liar.

My family’s planning a big vacation to Disney World. I’m currently jobless, struggle financially, and have health issues, of which they’re aware.

I’d be the only single and would rather stay home. I don’t see the point of spending that much, getting stressed out, etc.

However, they’re accusing me of not being a team player and purposefully being rude and avoiding family obligations. My mother offered to pay for some expenses, but when I decline, she gets offended.

I try to explain that I won’t feel well in a week-long stay at a large, crowded, over-stimulating amusement park. But she says to get over my anxiety.

This is family time that I can’t participate in. But I’m encouraging them to go ahead, just without me.

Am I right for not participating? They guilt me on the family thing. But I know that I have to say no (financially, health-wise).

How do I better explain why I can’t go, so that they don’t immediately refute my reasoning?

Stop arguing and seeking approval for your decision. You have solid reasons why you don’t want to go on this trip.

Since you want to still be seen as a family team player, give any children that are going some inexpensive age-appropriate travel gifts (e.g. puzzle books for the plane, backpacks, whatever you can easily afford). Then send them off with good wishes and show interest in seeing the countless selfies they’ll be sending you.

Since family still matters to you, be sure to participate in whatever you can when everyone’s back home. Accept togetherness when you can handle it, and be your own protector when you can’t.

Regarding the very ill husband who only wants his wife as his caregiver:

— Since he doesn’t want the help of a personal support worker, the exhausted wife could benefit from one who supports her, by taking on work that she’s currently doing to keep the household going.

The PSW could free up the wife, decrease her exhaustion, allow her to focus on the time being a family and…. ease the husband into the idea of having a trained helper around.

— I lost my husband three years ago from an incurable blood disease and was his caregiver. My husband was always a sensible man and welcomed PSW’s.

I thought I could do it all, but just having his hygiene looked after was a blessing. I was there to do whatever was needed to be done both physically and mentally, until he finally needed hospice care for his last ten days.

Get support and comfort from people who believe you. Ignore those who can’t accept the truth.