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Man responds to family looking to reconnect after throwing him out of the house 37 years ago

On March 16, 2024, Upworthy shared the story of a Redditor named Fancy-Anywhere-4733 (FA for short) who had an incredible dilemma: How do you respond to your family 37 years after they threw you out of the house as a 16-year-old for a bogus reason?

Now, he has shared his response, which is full of honesty, strength and grace.

First, here is some background (you can read the whole story here).

FA’s mother died when he was 12 years old and 2 years later, his father married a woman named Ashley with two kids, Mark (14) and Emily (12). “I got along with Ashley and Emily really well, but Mark, not so much so,” FA recalls. The following year, this rivalry came to a head when both boys fell for the same girl, Lisa, that FA began to date, much to Mark’s annoyance.

To get FA back for dating his crush, Mark planted some of Emily’s panties in his dresser drawer for his stepmother to find on laundry day.

“I had no answer as I’d never seen [the underwear] before,” FA wrote. “Of course, no one believed me. No matter how much protesting I did.” Mark added to the lies by saying that FA often stared at Emily and once said he wanted to marry her.

FA’s father threw him out of the house for being a “perv” and he was forced to live on the streets, doing whatever he could to get by. After decades of hard work he created a new life. He had a good job, was married with 4 kids and had finally found real happiness.

Recently, at the age of 53, his stepsister, Emily, whom he hadn’t spoken to in years, emailed him. Emily revealed that Mark got drunk and admitted that he set FA up and the news has been like a “bombshell” was dropped on the family.

“After sharing this revelation with Mom and Dad. Dad started crying, like really crying,” Emily wrote in the email. “I’ve never seen him cry before. I believe it because he has been carrying around a lot of guilt all these years. Obviously, now knowing the truth, he is now having to deal with the consqueses of his actions. However, after several hours of talking, we all came to the conclusion that we needed to find you and make amends. I have spent hours trying to locate you, in the hopes that I could reach out and extend a heartfelt apology for the years of misunderstanding and mistreatment and hurt.”

Receiving the email was an incredible shock, and FA wasn’t sure whether he would respond at all. “I’m, however indifferent to the idea,” FA admitted. “Like, I have no ill feelings towards [Emily]. She obviously was young and had no real say in the matter. But with lots and lots of therapy, I learned to let go of that hate and anger and to let go of them. As well with all the love I receive from my wife, kids and in-laws, it’s all I really need.”

FA received countless comments from people who suggested some ways to respond to the to the email. Two days later, he shared his response to Emily in a new post:

Dear Emily,

I appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me, but I must be honest with you. The years of pain and hurt caused by the lies and manipulation by Mark and the betrayal by Dad have left deep scars that will never be truly healed. While I understand that you are now aware of the truth and are genuinely sorry for what has transpired, I find it difficult to simply forgive and forget.

The betrayal and abandonment I experienced at the hands of my own family have left me with a sense of distrust and resentment that can never be overcome. The damage that has been done has impacted me in ways that you may never ever fully and truly understand, and the idea of trying to reconcile now feels like an insurmountable task.

I have spent years in therapy trying to come to terms with the pain and deep trauma I endured, and I have worked hard to build a wonderful life for myself that does not rely on the presence or approval of those who turned their backs on me.

While I am grateful for the apology and the newfound awareness of the truth, I do not feel compelled to rekindle a relationship that was built on lies, deception and betrayal. Especially after all these years.

I have found peace and closure in distancing myself from those who caused me harm, and I do not see the need to reopen old wounds in the name of reconciliation. While I believe in the power of forgiveness, that isn’t something I can give.

I wish you all the best in your life, I really do, but I must prioritize my emotional health and self-preservation above all else. I hope you can respect my decision and understand that the wounds of the past will take a lifetime to heal. I would appreciate if you pass this fact on to the others and please don’t reach out again. I must look to my future and not my past.

Sincerely, [FA]

“This is a good response. You are letting them know that the door is closed, and you didn’t give them any information on whether you have a family,” Primierofilho wrote in the comments. “That’s (one of) my favorite parts of [FA’s] beautifully eloquent reply. By denying his ex-family any information of how he is doing, they don’t get to know which way to turn their feelings,” Darkstormchaser added.

One of the most powerful parts of FA’s letter is the clear reason why he will never be able to forgive them. Even though he believes in forgiveness, doing so would unravel a lot of the work he’s done to heal after the incredible, nearly insurmountable pain they have caused him.

Forgiveness was simply a bridge too far and FA should be proud that he drew up clear boundaries with his family. There was no reason why he should trade an ounce of his peace of mind in exchange for giving solace to those who abandoned him as a teen.

Source: Upworthy
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