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A Redditor comes to grips with the family that abandonned him.

Does time really heal all wounds? That’s the big question in a harrowing story posted to Reddit by a 53-year-old man who has had a very challenging life but now just wants to know love.

The story was shared by a user named Fancy-Anywhere-4733, who we’ll refer to in the story as FA for short.

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

Then, there came the lie that would change his life forever.

“One day after my 16th birthday, my stepmom was putting away my laundry and started yelling,” FA recalled. “This was awkward because my girlfriend Lisa was there. We all ran, thinking the worst. When we got to my room, my stepmom was holding several pairs of my sister's underwear and yelling at me why they were in my drawer.”

“I had no answer as I'd never seen them before,” he continued. “Of course, no one believed me. No matter how much protesting I did."

"Then Mark piped up, saying he always caught me staring at his sister, thought it was creepy and caught me once saying I wish I could marry her," he continued. "Obviously lying, but that was all it took. Lisa slapped me and called me a perv and told me we were done and walked out.”

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A teen boy is ashamed sitting on a couch.

via Christian Erfurt/Unsplash

FA’s dad grabbed him by the arm and threw him out of the house, screaming that he wouldn't “put his daughter at risk from a perv.” FA cried and screamed that it was all a lie, but no one believed him. “I told him I had nowhere to go and he said that wasn't his problem, then closed the door,” FA wrote.

FA lived on the streets for two years doing “what I had to do” to survive. He admits that therapy later helped him get over the experiences he had to endure to get by. He eventually found a job at a boxing gym a few states away and began training in the sport, which helped him channel his rage.

Eventually, at 35, he met a 20-year-old girl, married her and became a master’s electrician. They have 4 kids and have been happily married for 15 years. With the help of a therapist, he was able to put his old life behind him and embrace his new family with all his heart.

But then, 37 years after being kicked out of the house, he received an email from Emily, his stepsister. Evidently, Mark got drunk one night at the bar and bragged about how he set FA up by planting the underwear in his drawer. Lisa, who is now married to Mark, heard the story and reached out to Emily so she could know the truth.

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A woman writing an email.

via Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash

Emily found Mark’s email address and reached out stating that the family wanted to meet up face to face, apologize to him and make up for the lost time. “I'm, however indifferent to the idea,” FA admitted. “Like, I have no ill feelings towards her. 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.”

Even though FA wasn’t asking for advice, he got a lot of it in the comments and really appreciated the outside opinions.

A day after posting his story, FA has yet to respond to his family, but he found a suggestion he liked. DaughterofLilith wrote a response for him that reads:

"Thank you for finally believing in me, it only took 30 long years. Because of Mark's and my Father's despicable actions on that day, I lived on the streets for 2 years doing all sorts of desperate things to survive. But now I have a wonderful life, with an amazing family. My wife is my biggest supporter and friend. We have 4 beautiful daughters that no one from my family, especially my Father, will ever know. As a parent, I would never expose my precious children to such vile, hateful and terrible human beings like Mark or my Father. I have learned to move on with my life and heal the wounds that they caused me. I have forgiven them for their reprehensible actions that day but forgiveness does not require me to allow them back into my life. Thank you for informing me of Mark's confession but do not ever reach out to me again. I no longer consider my family of origin as any kind of family at all. I created a new and better one."

“Wow... you've nailed it right on the head,” FA responded. “Outside of indifference to them, this would make a great response. Thanks for taking the time to read and post this well-thought-out comment.”

In the end, posting about his experience on Reddit helped FA better understand a complicated situation. “Didn't really come here for advice, but to share my story, but I think it was wise that you all have,” he wrote. “It has given me an outside perspective.” But, whether he reaches out to his former family or not, seems like a footnote in the story. The great part of FA’s journey is that he learned not only to forgive but to move on from his trauma with an open heart and create a new life with the family of his choice.