Ganurse 48, I'm glad you got in gear. Sounds like you shook loose some of your own garbage and that's what it's all about.
I would like to say, "From my experience and what you said, find a gentle way to tell those two everything you know about the past. Odds are they know a lot of it already.", but I can't.
My mother has been dead 5 years and I'm still keeping her secrets. Maybe if I'd told what I know (about something other than the abuse), things might have worked out differently--but I didn't tell--and I still wouldn't tell any of my brothers or sisters, for exactly the reason you said. I have no desire to cause an upheaval in their lives--let them believe as they want--and leave me alone.
Is that the best? I doubt it, but that's been my choice and I can live with the consequenses.
MAKING FRIENDS: The tough part about making friends isn't where you find them. That just seems like the hard part. The question is, which of the people you run across are worth having as friends. I think I told somewhere else on the forum about calling a "mentally healthy" friend, and asking her which local merchants were mentally healthy. I began going to those stores even if things cost a little more, because I wanted to see the difference in them and me.
I learned that if you say something that offends their sensibilities, you can almost see them raising the garlic and cross. They tend to back up and get away quickly. That helped me understand what not to say (like I was abused; I think my husband sabotaged the car; or I ought to have the ****** arrested). The less healthy lean forward and jump into conversation starters like those.
I learned that the mentally healthy do things for and with their family members EASILY. They aren't all worn out from driving the kid to a rodeo, 400 miles away, and they talk about eating in restaurants, not pinching pennies by carrying sandwiches. That is not to say they didn't carry sandwiches--just that they talk about the more positive events.
I learned they are likely to say "oh" a lot. They have more ways of saying "oh" than I ever knew existed. What that means is they are non-threatening in their manner of speech. Where I've continued to just spit out what I think, they are thoughtful about what they say. You'll see many people on this forum who, inspite of multiple problems, are really caring--and unlike me, don't say do this or that--they are actually saying "oh" with words--nice, non-threatening words.
FINDING FRIENDS: Now, where are these people--well at work of course. The ***** is not one of them. The complainer is not one of them. But there are bound to be very decent people. My rule of thumb is that 40% of the people in any group are mentally healthy, so I look for them.
If you do something you love, for me it's collecting fossils, there are others who love it just as much. If you don't have something you love to do--work on that first, even if it's just in the home--the friends will follow. For example, you made great soup, so enter it in a cooking contest. If you garden, enter flowers or vegetable in the county fair. Then look for the 40% and target one of them.
One of the really fun places to make friends is in a little theater group. I never did that, but many of my friends did. C, J, and M liked to be in the plays. K liked making costumes. G did lighting. There are lots of jobs and places to fit in. It's happy and uplifting.
Another place to look is in the social or event section of your newspaper for things that you would like to do. Being an outdoor person, I watch for the groups with guides who go into the mountains to do anything--photograph wild flowers, collect minerals, visit ghost towns. For me it's a way to extend my knowledge of the surrounding area, but I'm always looking for someone in the 40% group.
You can do the same thing by taking community college classes in something you like. It's a darn site smarter if you like to paint to take a class and find others who do, than hang out elsewhere.
LAST THOUGHTS: These are for both, but especially for straydog. Don't try to be a social butterfly if you aren't. I have friends who regularly go to lunch together. You will never see me at a restaurant with them. I'd be like a cat on a hot tin roof, chomping at the bit to get away. Don't try to be an outdoors person, if you aren't. I've taken more than a few of those people home, early at their request, when they couldn't hack it.
Life is about enhancing and enlarging the basic you. Figure out who you are and what you love. All else follows.