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I don't understand how she can deny this. Can anyone shed any light please?

(49 Posts)
JuanPotatoTwo Wed 06-Nov-13 12:10:10

I spoke to my dm recently about something she did to me, once a week, over a period of a few months (not sexual abuse) when I was about 9. She categorically denies that this ever happened. She's not claiming to have forgotten, but rather that she never did it. She did. She absolutely did. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind.

Can she really have convinced herself it didn't happen? If not, why is she denying that it did? TIA for any opinions, this has been troubling me more and more lately.

EldritchCleavage Wed 06-Nov-13 12:17:43

Maybe, she feels guilty, so has repressed the memory of it? Or she knows full well it happened, and is lying to avoid it being addressed?

Granville72 Wed 06-Nov-13 12:20:36

Are you able to say what she did to you?

Self denial perhaps on her part, maybe she has genuinely forgotten her actions back when you were 9.

How old are you now?

OhMyBridget Wed 06-Nov-13 12:21:50

my dm categorically denies knowing certain things. But I know she did. She knows she did. But shell never admit it as she knows how awful it is.

How important is it to you for her to admit it (and apologise? )

onetiredmummy Wed 06-Nov-13 12:22:49

Its quite common for people to change history in their own minds to make it more comfortable for them yes.

Try the 'But We Took You to Stately Homes' thread which is a thread for survivors of dysfunctional families, I think that this is a common theme for posters there & they may be able to help. Have a read of it even if you don't post brew

JuanPotatoTwo Wed 06-Nov-13 12:29:00

I'm in my late forties now.

She was having an affair with a man who had an office in the High Street. Every Saturday for a few months she would park up the car, leaving me in it, whilst she went to his office. The man was MD of a very small company with very few staff so presumably they had plenty of privacy.

I can't remember for sure how long she was gone for but it felt like a very long time to the 9yr old me. It was certainly long enough for me to read the weekly edition of virtually every suitable comic - I remember getting a big pile of them every Saturday prior to her locking me in the car. I also remember on one occasion a policeman knocking on the car window to ask if I was ok.

Sparkleandshine Wed 06-Nov-13 12:29:29

My DM (not dysfunctional in any way BTW!) denies that she fed me the following:

Burger, chips n beans
soss, chips and beans
egg, chips and beans

She did it every day for several years when I came home from school...if I ask her now she says " no of course not I cooked you proper food like roast chicken etc etc"

TheCrumpetQueen Wed 06-Nov-13 12:30:42

She's embarassed probably and hoping you'll think you made it up.

TheCrumpetQueen Wed 06-Nov-13 12:31:27

My mum does that too sparkle we ate crap ready meals for years

JuanPotatoTwo Wed 06-Nov-13 12:31:37

* Bridget*, I don't really expect an apology, but I would most definitely like her to admit doing it.

onetiredmummy, thank you for that, I'll go and look. And thank you to the rest of you for taking the time to reply.

OhMyBridget Wed 06-Nov-13 12:32:30

its quite common for people to change history in their own minds to make it more comfortable for them yes.

^^ this.

you know it happened. .she knows it happened. . but she doesn't want to talk about it.

EldritchCleavage Wed 06-Nov-13 12:32:35

Highly unlikely this is anything other than a dishonest denial then, I feel. So sorry. If you decide to talk to her about it again, you may want to tell her it happened (because you remember it very clearly) rather than ask her whether it did, and tell her how you feel about it and how it has affected you. Then leave it. You can't force her to acknowledge it unfortunately, but you can speak your truth so she is in no doubt where you stand on it.

MrsMcEnroe Wed 06-Nov-13 12:35:35

Yes, she's denying to because she feels embarrassed/ashamed/guilty/all three.

My mother once made me sit at the dinner table for two hours because she said I had to finish a bowl of semolina, even though the stuff made me retch. For the entire time she stood over me, haranguing me, and laying the grounds for a good old eating disorder. It's not the kind of thing you can forget doing to your only child! Yet when I raised it with her as an adult, she accused me of making it up and burst into tears because, in her words, she didn't understand why I was lying...!

I didn't eat the semolina btw ...

CarpeVinum Wed 06-Nov-13 12:36:23

Retrospective editing of history.

My mother has done that on so many occasions it makes your head spin.

I think her thought process is "they were children/not quite adults, therefore their memory can be trumped by my "revised" memory on the basis that non adult memories are inherantly "faulty" and immagination infested. "

It works for her. I think she may believe that as long as she says it wasn't so our data banks get wiped and all is remembered by previously much smaller people ....how she prefers it to be remembered.

dovaffanculo Wed 06-Nov-13 12:38:03

But if she acknowledged that she left you in the car then she would also have to acknowledge why she left you.Now that might just be a bit harder for her to come to terms with depending on what happened with that affair -who knew , how did it break up etc.

As Bridget said
[you know it happened. .she knows it happened.] -maybe just accept it and move on.

By the way,its not that long ago that it was not only acceptable but expected that children were left in the car when the adults when into the pub did adult errands.Babies were also left outside shops in their prams for quite long periods too.

Leopoldina Wed 06-Nov-13 12:41:54

My mother argued categorically with me that my brother wasn't expelled from school. She was adamant, and was disgusted that I could make something like that up, despite my strong memories of the time. Of course I called my brother who laughed and said yes of course he was - I'd remembered it exactly as it happened. The thing is, I dont' think she's lying to me, she doesn't want to remember that and has created her own alternate reality - no less real to her than what actually happened.

(my mum is nearly 80 so it might be general synapse degeneration anyway)

randomAXEofkindness Wed 06-Nov-13 12:45:00

Apparently my dad left me in my pram outside the newsagents once and went home alone. My mum made sure he remembered that one.

I don't think that she has actually repressed it, I think she doesn't want a conversation about it and is cutting you down by simply denying it ever happened. Really crappy of her. Really frustrating for you.

MarianneM Wed 06-Nov-13 12:46:11

It is astonishing and something of a mystery to me too why parents do this. Mine are the same, although some of my memories are from earlier so I have questioned whether these things happened when vehemently denied by my parents, but I am pretty certain they did.

For example one of my earliest memories is being left at home on my own, probably asleep, when one parent went to pick up the other from work. I remember waking up scared and screaming for a very long time on my own. I was 5 or less.

Another memory is being spanked, and I definitely remember it, aged again 5 or less. Parents absolutely deny it.

Strange really.

I am not a perfect parent, not by a long stretch, but one thing I will always try to do is apologise to my children if I have been wrong, and later if they ask about anything that happened in the past, to admit to the things I have said and done to validate their memories. I think that is very important.

foolonthehill Wed 06-Nov-13 13:13:14

3 weeks ago my mother in law lied in court (long story), today I received an email with a different but equally faulty "reality" it's about the 6th revision of events...she knows what really happened but she can't allow herself to know it, there would be too many implications for her son...so I think she will try on a few different realities until one "sticks" and then that will be the "truth" that she lives with.

Never m ind the DGC that she harms along the way.

The only thing you can do OP is know the truth and live by it, hard as it may be to cope with your nearest and dearest rewriting history.

OhMyBridget Wed 06-Nov-13 13:22:31

fool probably reading too much into your post, but if im right then I can relate. That's why my dm lies. Except its me she's hurting.

foolonthehill Wed 06-Nov-13 13:34:00

OhMy...no I expect you are reading it exactly right. Hope you are ok.

Hang on to the truth and don't be sucked into their world of circus mirrors.

TheCrumpetQueen Wed 06-Nov-13 13:35:50

I remember standing up screaming in my cot for ages when I was very little in my room while my mum had a party going, my earliest memory. My mum completely denies this happened and I'm unsure whether I made it up or not either, although I'm sure it did.

sunbathe Wed 06-Nov-13 13:37:33

How do you know she was having an affair? Could she have been there for a different reason?

youretoastmildred Wed 06-Nov-13 13:39:51

I have thought about this a lot. I have come to the conclusion that my mother must believe what she is saying, yet how?

I hypothesise that it is to do with different standards of acceptable behaviour to children. The logic goes like this:

A. I am a good mother
B. Good mothers do not do things like lock children in cars alone
C. therefore this did not happen

The thing is, although it was always horrible for you, it actually was more acceptable once to do things like this.

(my mother never locked me in a car to have a shag but there is lot of unpleasant but trivial stuff she denies, stuff that she probably didn't fully understand how unpleasant it was at the time because as I say, standards were different, and secondly, we were not allowed to tell her certain things and she got cross with us if we tried, or in other words - standards were different!)

PedantMarina Wed 06-Nov-13 13:58:00

their world of circus mirrors - perfect description. Thanks, fool!

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