Thursday, October 29, 2009

Phone call to my mother

I've been working my nerve up for some time and finally I picked up the phone yesterday to ask my mother about my abuse. T said I likely needed some validation that the abuse had happened. I disagreed with her - I had no doubt that it happened - I do have some specific memories. I guess I wanted to hear what she would say AND try to figure out how long she knew about it before doing something. Needless to say, the question was a surprise to her and she at first danced around the issue for a few minutes. To put this in perspective - I am 50, my mother is 75 and this abuse happened between the ages of 5 and 11. So this has been on her mind for some time. She was confused about the dates - she said she discovered it when I was 5, but they divorced when I was 11, so she was wrong about that. In no way did she make it seem like the abuse was my fault, but she did seem to blame me for not telling her. Comments like - "You didn't say anything. Things happen. I'm sorry." and "He's dead now so you don't have to worry anymore." and "You have to watch your kids like a hawk." She disclosed that she "could have sent him to jail" but didn't because his mother begged her not to. I've always thought she got a better divorce settlement because she had this to hang over his head. She told me that he had abused "a lot" of girls including two of his nieces. She apparently didn't know this until after the fact, although I remember spending time with this family during my childhood. She said that the girls' father "ran him off". This is not true - because as I said, we spent time together as children.

The worse thing about all this is that she disclosed specific things about the abuse of which I have NO memory. So I know there is more buried in my mind. I wasn't prepared for that part of this. I phoned the T yesterday to let her know I had called her. I didn't specifically ask for her to call me back, and she hasn't :(((


  1. Oh my gosh, I just don't even know what to say. First of all, what your t said about you needing validation. If she said that to me I would feel like she doesn't believe me that the abuse really happened. But maybe that is just me being distrustful and always thinking the worst of people.

    I give you major credit for talking about this with your mother. Have you ever talked about it before? That is a huge issue to have between you two for 40 years. And obviously it wasn't necessary for you to tell her about the abuse when you were a little girl, as she seems to have known quite clearly what was happening. I don't really believe she didn't find out anything until after the fact, maybe she just had her head in the sand.

    Yes, she is an older woman now, but she still needs to take responsibility for what she didn't do to protect you.

    And after such a courageous act as this for your therapist not to call you back, well, that just SUCKS!

    Everyone sucks. Well, not you, OLJ. You are brave and strong and smart.

  2. I have never talked to my mother about what happened even though a lot of it happened under the same roof. I don't think she remembers the past
    the same way I do just from some of the conversations we have had.

    It sucks that your T didn't get back to you especially if she knew that
    you did this or were going to. This is a major step and not very easy.
    Take care

  3. Harriet and inamaze -
    I don't think my T thinks it didn't happen - my writing didn't express what I meant (that's why I am a scientist and not a writer :) I think she thought I needed validation that my mother knew about the abuse. And no - I had never brought it up with my mother before (or vice versa). I am trying hard to be compassionate with her (she is who she is - needy and self centered) while trying to work things out for myself.

    T did call back - after I called a second time. And to be fair to her - I didn't specifically ask her to call back the first time. But a large part of me wanted her to and thought she might since this step is something we've been talking about for a long time in therapy.

    I am doing OK as it percolates through my brain - thinking as I clean today :) My biggest worry now is what might come back and how it might surface. I have NO recollection of the physical pain the little girl must have felt. Perhaps that explains my high pain tolerance now.

    Thanks for all your thoughts and kind words.

    Take care,