For any individual who finds himself in a situation such as Wes, there are no absolute answers. Each person must navigate through his/her journey given the family's dynamics and with consideration to cultural and traditional expectations. However, there are three healing tenants which can be helpful in mitigating conflicted feelings and emotions about returning home to an environment that is contrary to one's present state of wellness and peace.
First, honor your truths. If it is not pleasant to return home, admit it. Your past is your truth. How you experienced it may not be the same as a sibling or another relative. Don't compare your experience to anyone else. Do not feel guilty, inadequate, or ashamed if you do not have the relationship that a sibling or another relative does who stays or maintains close contact. Do not mistake distancing yourself from a toxic environment as weakness - it is strength. Being honest with yourself frees you from the lies of the past.
Secondly, if and when you choose to make a visit home, implement strong healthy boundaries. Reassess your relationships and invest in them selectively. Set and adjust expectations of yourself and of others. Be gentle with yourself and yet be honest; you cannot change anyone else but you can protect your truths (see note below).
Thirdly, it is ok not to go home - in fact - it is more that ok. Without guilt, blame or self-condemnation, give yourself permission to stay in your home. Guard your current healing reality.Grant yourself the the time to take care of you. So many of us live in the world of should's. I should do this, or I should do that, or I know I should.... Each time we succumb to the should's, we go against what we know to be good and well for our being; in short, we betray ourselves. Remember, in moving forward it is paramount to be mindful of weighing the risk of re-injury against the right to reclaim our healing truths.
Shouting Secrets bravely exposes a family's complex dynamic which is ridden with layers of betrayal. While forgiveness and reunification are admirable and desirable goals for many family members, it is often not possible for all.
It's OK Not To Go Home".