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  • Writer's pictureRonni and Jennie

People Have the Right Not to Heal

Jennie, as the "scapegoat" of our family, was the first to break out of denial regarding the abuse, addiction, and untreated mental illness in our childhood home, and she did her best to try to stand up to our parents and change the dynamics in our family. Ronni was reluctant to name the dysfunction for what it was, and was slow to recognize how bad things really were--especially for Jennie. Once she did, as the "hero," Ronni felt it was her job to "fix" the family. When Jennie was ready to walk away, Ronni begged her to stay--thinking that she could "talk some sense into" our parents and brother.

The desire to keep the family together, at all costs, is common in abusive homes. But once you see the abuse, you can't unsee it--and you certainly can't let the abuse continue. We tried everything we could think of to convince our parents and brother to work with us on the problems in our family, but they were too entrenched in their denial. It took us a long time to realize that, and to let go.

When we find healing, many of us want to bring those we love with us on our journey. But not everyone is ready to examine themselves (and their lives) in the way that healing requires. This means that, at a minimum, our relationship with them will change. Or, we may have to walk away entirely. We have to be prepared for these possibilities as we move forward. (We discuss this topic in more detail in our April 13, 2024 podcast).

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