She Refused to Apologize

Several years ago an aunt told me, on the phone, that she used to emotionally abuse me with filthy name calling when I was a child. She was an adult. She had her own girl. She did not treat her own daughter the way that she treated me. She did not live with us. She did not take care of me or babysit me. She never bought me gifts or spent time with me or treated me as though I mattered to her or that I was special or that I was loved. She just visited and treated me the same way that my parents and siblings did, she called me filthy names that my parents started and encouraged my siblings to do.  She came into my own home, as an adult, and was vicious and cruel to me when I was a child.

I have to say that I was shocked. I never remembered that from my early childhood. I did remember that while she seemingly worshiped my older sister, treating her like the golden girl, she never seemed to express or demonstrate love for me. I remembered that for no reasons that I could see she would make fun of me, she would invade my space or life, even to the point of reading my private diary or evaluating a hobby or activity that I would do and enjoy. She would enjoy making fun of me. She would grab my belongings and wave them around, shouting, making fun of me, and laughing at me. I remember those times. I remember the kind of aunt that she had been to me.

We were never really close for decades. But over a number of years we had become kind of friends, talking on the phone late at night from states far, far away. She knew a number of issues that I was dealing with because I was an abused child. She knew that I had been sexually abused as a child and emotionally abused as a child. She knew that my father had been an alcoholic and that my mother had been a sexual offender against me. She had heard me talk at length over several years about how painful it all was. There were specific times that I had recalled telling her how painful it was to be the scapegoat child in my family of origin, especially with all the filthy names that I was called. She never told me she did the same thing to me.

So I was shocked and flabbergasted when she finally admitted it to me on Christmas Eve one year. I told her immediately that she owed me an apology for treating me like that when I was a child and she was an adult.

She started making excuses. I was shocked and appalled. I was sickened. I thought how dare she excuse her malicious and cruel behavior by acting like she could do anything that abusive parents and siblings were doing to me.

I explained to her that as an outsider in my home she knew that there were different rules of conduct, as an adult and not one of my siblings she was held to a different standard of behavior, that she was not my alcoholic father nor my sexual abuser mother and as such not my parent and that she had no right to do that to me, no right at all, and that I knew for sure that she had never treated her own daughter that way. Even so her daughter has a very antagonistic relationship with her mother, my aunt and considering the kinds of abandonment issues and emotional abuses she went through, I am hardly surprised.

I told her I am not filth and she doesn’t get to tell me that I am filth, then or now. I told her that no matter what my family did to me in my home that does not make it okay for her to do, and I told her that I know that you knew that as an adult. I told her that what my siblings did to me when I was a small child was when they were children as well. That I understand they were abusive, but that they were also children and that I hold them to a different standard than I do to my parents, to any adult. I told her that she knew it was wrong then and she never said word one to stand up for me, to try to stop the abuses or to be on my side. I told her I know you knew it was wrong because you never did that to your own daughter. I know you saw what kind of lovely little girl I was and your response, instead of to be loving and good and kind to me, was to crush me, to try to crush my soul and my spirit and to make me hate myself, my body, my life.

I told her she gives me an apology or I am out of her life for the rest of my life. She refused, she continued to deny wrongdoing with a number of excuses. I sent her a letter later outlining exactly why again and that she owed me an apology if she ever wanted to be in my life and it has been more than five years and nothing from her. I am fine with that. I never miss her. I hardly ever think of her. I have never refused to apologize to someone. I have always forgiven someone when they have asked for forgiveness. I’m nothing like her. I’m nothing like my mother.

11 thoughts on “She Refused to Apologize

  1. kudos t you for standing up for yourself to your aunt. and you are right, you are nothing like her–nor are you anything like your parents. you are a wonderful, kind, gentle, caring person who tries to do no ill toward another. you are beautiful 🙂


  2. Of course, you are nothing like them – you have a conscience and a heart. Things they know nothing of. You care for others – they care only for themselves. You love – they only hate. I’m glad I know you.



  3. Dear Kate and ‘littles’,
    I’m sorry you went through this pain. I love your last sentence , you are not anything like those who treated you so badly. You are kind, generous and compassionate …lol
    Love Ziggy


  4. I’m so sorry you went through such abuse but bravo for standing up to your aunt. You’re inspiring because I would like to be more direct with my aunts but they aren’t really ready to face truth. I accept that is where they are and we are not alike so I don’t have contact with them now. It is sad because I don’t have any family on my mom’s side now I can talk to. But it’s better to avoid them than abuse myself by making myself feel inferior by having them be in control. We must take care of ourselves and sometimes that means cutting people out of our lives when they do not respect who we are.


    • Hi Natalya,

      Thank you dear. I’m sorry about your aunts and I can totally understand how that is and what a struggle it is to establish boundaries that are respected by relatives like this, a real struggle.

      There were many years when I went back and forth to associating and then distancing myself from verbal abusers in my family, as an adult. I am going through this issue again with any person and it is difficult. I have seen then, not seen them, they are loud and insulting and demeaning and verbally abusive. It’s hard and it is a challenge. I still don’ t have a handle on it. Some people are easier to walk away from, others are more difficult to let go of again.

      Silence, from people like this, is truly golden.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.



      • Thanks Kate 🙂 I think finding balance with our abusive family members is always a challenge to some degree. It is easier to accept with some more so than others like you suggested. I don’t mind not having contact with some of my family but kind of wish it didn’t have to be like that. Sort of makes it hard to feel like I have family beyond a few people. At least I have them but would be nice to be accepted by the rest too.


      • Hi Natalya,

        I can relate to this. There are always some people in my family that are too toxic to associate with. Even if they love me and I am pretty sure about that, they treat me as though they hate me, or how I would have to feel about someone to treat them the way that they treat me. I have to keep telling myself that their behavior is a result of their inner deficiencies and not about mine. It still hurts. I suppose that will how it will always be. They suck. I try hard so that their suckiness doesn’t get onto me.

        Good and healing thoughts to you.



      • Aw, I’m sorry you have family like I do and you’re right it does suck. They love us the only way they know how-through abuse or treating us poorly as that’s all they know. I wish your family and mine could get healthier but you and I both know it takes a lot of courage to face the pain of childhood abuse/neglect.
        Whenever I think I am not ‘living up to my potential’ I remind myself I am doing my best to deal with my past so I can be free of its effects. Then one of my relations contacts me and my insecurities rear their ugly head and I fight the urge to make excuses for myself. Like I have to apologise to them for who I am or something. But I’m getting better and don’t want to apologise for being me to them anymore. Certainly, they never apologised to me for anything!



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