What do I do if I fix the relationship I have with my family?

I have a sibling that all my life has emotionally and physically abused me. They even spent their whole life blaming me for their problems and made me look like a bully, when I wasnt. This sibling has literally pulled a knife on me and when I defended myself and tried to tell my parent about it, they refused to believe that happened and instead scolded me for starting a fight with my sibling when it was them that busted into my bedroom the moment our parents were gone. They instigated fights to try and get me in trouble.

My parents weren't that great. I use to get locked up in the dark as punishment because they claimed "beating [me] did no good" but I remember being so scared of the dark that I thought I heard voices when the lights were out. They thought I was just trying to get out of my punishments that were only my sibling blaming me for stuff to begin with.

As an adult, I've tried for years to try and mend this relationship I have with my parents because they only see me as the "problem" and my sibling as the "victim". I want them to be a part of my life but almost everytime I'm with one of my parents we are arguing back and forth over even stupid things like how since I'm younger, I dont have the knowledge they do so I need to just shut up and listen despite being almost 30 years old.

They see me as a child, even at this age, and refuse to believe I know what I'm doing or see that I can have opinions as well. I'm always told "you dont know as much as I do because you havent been alive as long ad I have. You just need to listen to me."
Asked by Chance
Answered
11/29/2021

Hello, Thank you for taking the time to write all of this. It sounds like you had some very painful and traumatic experiences growing up. I'm not sure if anyone has ever told you this, but what you have described experiencing at the hands of your parents and sibling IS abuse. It sounds like your sibling physically abused, while your parents have emotionally and mentally abused you; and in some form this continues on today from what you are saying. I know that may be difficult to hear, because our parents and family of origin should provide us love, support, and safety. But sometimes this is not the case, and as adults we are left to try and figure out how to live a productive and healthy life despite our childhood and our family. I'm not sure you realize this, but you are a survivor of trauma. By continuing to engage in relationships with your parents and sibling, who by the sound of it have not changed, have not acknowledged any wrongdoing, and who don't seem to have any accountability in this situation, you are going to continue being traumatized. For a relationship to work, both parties have to be willing to make things better, or else it doesn't work. You are trying to mend a relationship that might possibly not be able to be fixed. I would encourage you to take some to reflect on what it is that you are seeking to gain from your parents and/or your sibling. Is it love, acceptance, self worth, acknowledgement of wrongdoing, an apology, kindness, compassion? Really take some time to reflect on this. It's important to understand what you are seeking so that you can better identify what causes you to keep going back to those people who have deeply hurt you and who continue to hurt you. It is quite possible that you are seeking something from your family, that they cannot provide you, and that they will never be able to give you. It's possible they themselves are not equipped to be the kind of parents or brother or sister that you need and want. And unless they also get help, they may never be able to have healthy relationships. But the good news in all of this, is that you can have healthy relationships (maybe not with your family, but certainly with other people in your life) and you can be a healthy adult who lives a happy life. This does not require you to have a relationship with your family, if ultimately it's going to cause you ongoing damage and is at the expense of your own mental health. Forgiveness is not about letting them off the hook for what they did or continue to do, it's about taking the hook out of your own heart. And you can forgive without having to continue on in a unhealthy or abusive relationship, even if it's with your parents. One important thing for you to work on will be the concept of boundaries, starting with your family and then extending to other areas of your life. First by figuring out if you can have a relationship with your family going forward, and if you can, what that relationship will look like in order for you to be able to maintain your own peace, happiness, and sanity. I hope this was helpful. Family relationships are rarely easy and the guilt we feel surrounding those relationships can be a heavy burden to carry. But it sounds like it's time for you to figure out how you can move forward, and get yourself out of this seemingly unhealthy cycle you are in with your family. You do not have to live like this, and you do not have to accept abuse from anyone, including your family. You are worthy of love, acceptance, and support.

(LCSW, MSSW, MBA)