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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I need to know how to set boundaries with my family. I was

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I need to know how to set boundaries with my family. I was adopted when I was 5 and molested by their biological son --who is 9 years my senior, until I was 18 (off and on through out the years). I have asked my parents not to invite me to his house for things...and not to always talk about him around me (they know because I told them when I was 18). They don't get it..they think I need to forgive him and move on...and they think he only hurt me...I don't know for sure, but I think he has hurt other girls in the same way. What do I do? Am I wrong? Are they right? I  have forgiven him, I just don't trust or like him and don't want him around my family.  I know eventually (and soon) I need to make an appointment with a therapist for regular visits as I have many other issues to work out.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

What you have gone through with your parent's biological son is extremely traumatizing. And each time your parents invite you to his home or bring him up in conversation, it is opening those wounds and making you relive what you had to go through.

Right now, it sounds like you have no yet had the chance to work through much of your pain and find new ways to cope with what you survived as a child. No one should expect you to be ready to talk about your parent's son or to associate with him now, if ever. Try to think of it this way- if he had been a stranger and had done this to you, no one would expect you to associate with him in any way. That does not change just because you are part of this family. You still deserve the right to be protected from him and what he did to you.

For some reason, however, your parents are not respecting your feelings. It could be due to their own shame over not protecting you, or their own inability to cope with what happened or that their son could be capable of hurting someone like he hurt you. Either way, their actions with you are more about what they feel than what you need right now. You do not need to forgive him just for their sake or even for his. This is not about their needs or his needs. It is about you. You need time to heal and help yourself through this difficult time.

If you find that being around your parents is too difficult for now and they will not listen to your requests to stop bringing up their son, it is fine to let them know that if they continue to mention him, you will either need to leave or otherwise end your conversation with them. Then follow through. As soon as they bring him up, leave the room, home or end the conversation. You do not have to be mean to them. Just tell them "I need to go". Then leave. This helps you gain control over the situation and protect yourself at the same time. And it also may help them to realize that they need to stop bringing him up.

If you feel that your parent's son might still be hurting other girls or women, you may want to try contacting the police and/or an attorney to see if you can report what you suspect. It never hurts to check into the situation. However, you may want to try to have support while you do this from an understanding friend, family member or even wait until you being therapy so you they can be there for you. You should not have to face this situation alone.

You can also work on how you feel through self help. Learning about the effects of trauma and gaining support through on line forums and other resources can help you work through your trauma. Here are some resources to help you:

Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Journey for Women by Karen A. Duncan

The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Dan B Allender

I hope this has helped you,

May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the book recommendations...I will definitely check them out.

You're welcome! Take care.

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