Dear Charlotte,

I’ve recently come forward about abuse I experienced in the past. My family has not been supportive and as much as I tried to prepare myself for their reactions to my speaking out, I’m hurt by their silence and disapproval of my speaking out. I’m daunted and sad. You might have particular guidance on this issue. 

Thanks in advance

I feel this message viscerally. It’s courageous that you’ve spoken out and upsetting that your family hasn’t supported your taking this step. It’s also a terribly prevalent problem — abuse and covering it up. 

Without including the specific details from your letter to me here, I want to note how much I respect and admire your tenacity and perseverance in addressing what you went through at school. You have done a tremendously hard thing and the voices of authority did not protect you. 

Very often, the truth is unacceptable for perpetrators of abuse, and it’s essential for survivors of abuse. Your family may be deeply bothered by what happened, and uncomfortable and ashamed by their roles and own unprocessed experiences. You are miles ahead of where they may ever go, and it can be isolating and disjointing. You are allowed to feel daunted and find this sad. Keep going. 


Charlotte Fox Weber is a verified Welldoing psychotherapist and the author of What We Want: Understand Your Deepest Desires and Live a Fuller Life