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Have hit rock bottom - mum dropped bombshell about my dad 10 months ago(37 Posts)
This is so hard for me to type, but I need somewhere to turn.
Last year my mum visited me for the first time in years. She lives thousands of miles away. We've not had an easy relationship due to a very difficult upbringing (that's another story in itself) and we struggle to get on, but I've tried since I had my DD so that she knows her grandma as much as you can from a distance.
3 days before she left, she blurted out that my father sexually assaulted her when I was 4, and that this then carried on for years. I can't go into detail, but it was horrific. I already knew he was a bad person, but I didn't realise he was worse than I already knew about.
She almost instantly said she shouldn't have said anything, that she'd never told anyone before, and that "it's ok, I just see it as something that happened a long time ago ." So why did she blurt it out? She then got upset that I was so upset and shocked, and insisted that I mustn't tell my siblings or anyone else. My immediate reaction was to say she needed a divorce (it has been a long time coming regardless) but she refused. And yes, that's her call, I know.
I've realised how heavy a burden this has been to carry. I can't really talk about it with my close friends (although I have a little) because it's too horrible. I don't want to talk to my siblings about it, but at the same time it is exhausting being the only person in my family who knows. I was seeing a private therapist at the time, and I did talk to her about it (the therapist's opinion was that it was deliberate to punish me for challenging her about certain things that happened when I was growing up, things that I needed answers for - and I was very calm and careful about it) but as it was so raw at the time, I didn't understand what impact it was having and I stopped seeing her last autumn.
I'm getting married in 2 months and I haven't invited my family because I can't cope with the idea of dealing with family stress with a visit from abroad, and I sure as hell don't want my father there - but he doesn't know that I know. My siblings will be hurt and angry and I can't explain it to them. I don't feel the joy that I think I should be feeling about my wedding day.
I've just realised in the past few days that I am not OK. It's left me depressed, it's gradually affected my work, finances, morale and my relationship, although my partner has done his absolute best to support me. I turned things around enough to land a decent job, thank goodness. But I am so unhappy.
I don't want to to take ADs for what I consider a situation beyond my control, yet it's affecting me all the time. I can't afford to go back to the therapist at the moment either and I'm in a new job which is a temporary contract, so I can't take time off even if I wanted to try the gamble that is therapy on the NHS, as they're daytime appointments.
I am hurting. I feel the conflict of feeling horrified and protective of my mother, yet she is also so difficult, irrational and her own worst enemy. She is subtly toxic and I have to keep my distance, yet I can't help but feel guilty now that I know this. She hasn't tried to contact me about it again though.
I feel ashamed that this is my family, and that he is an even worse human being than I knew. I feel cheated even further - I already was hurting from not having parents that love and protect you. I feel exhausted from having being put in this position, and being the carer yet again.
If anyone has been in a similar situation and can tell me how they coped when they hit rock bottom (and this is my second rock bottom, after escaping a long term EA relationship three years ago - in fact it's just about the 3 year anniversary of the day I had the courage to end it) or if you can just say something kind to help me get through this difficult time - thank you.
Your poor mother. I'm sure she regrets telling you but please don't lose sight of the fact that this was abuse of her; it's her pain, her heaviness, her regrets and sadness. In the nicest possible way, don't make it yours. It's a coat of iron to wear.
I do apologise because it sounds like I meant every aspect of your childhood and family; I only meant the sexual abuse of your mother. I'm sorry you had such a tough time.
I've been told that, but it's not very easy for so many reasons, given our complicated relationship. But I take your point. Part of me thinks the only solution is to try and block it out somehow, because it's never going to get resolved.
At the moment I can't get over feeling so deeply ashamed of being his flesh and blood, and the loss I feel at not having any family at my wedding.
It's ok, I understood what you meant after I read it a couple of times.
She's left you with a secret which is a massive burden. My mother did this kind of stuff to me. It's awful and I sympathise.
I'm sorry to hear that LineyReborn, it's so hard isn't it. And not really very fair.
It is so unfair of anyone to burden their children with this sort of thing. Whether they are adult or child.
Perhaps it is worth the ££ of a few sessions with your previous therapist because you say those "unspeakable" thoughts IYSWIM?
Thank you. Can't stop crying on and off now, it's all coming out.
I ended up dangerously skint six months afterwards and I'm digging myself out of that hole (which adds to my stress, but I am dealing with it) but I agree, I think a few sessions of therapy will help when I can afford it.
Oh God yes, please do talk to someone about it. I do. It helps very much.
I did once get six free sessions through my GP - really good counsellor as well.
It will be months before I can afford it, and I want to be able to pay for it with real money, not credit. But I will, typing this out today has made me realise I do need it.
I had NHS therapy last year and the woman was so lovely, but it didn't help me. I also went to Woman's Aid - didn't help. That's when I hit rock bottom #1. The only thing that's ever truly helped me move on was the 'anything goes' psychoanalysis model my private therapist used. I'm glad you got a good match with yours though.
I think your family dynamic sounds incredibly complex and full of hurt and damage. I'm sorry you are having such a tough time.
I think more talking to a skilled therapist is needed for this
OP, can you make counselling a priority? It might help you come to terms about none of your family being at your wedding, this helping you to have the best day possible. Surely that is worth finding some money for by economising on another wedding bill?
It sounds as though you have a lot of family stuff that impacts you greatly. I hope you can source some help to overcome this.
I think you helped me before HandyWoman, hello. (I had to NC as I lost my old login details and the email address I used has been canceled.)
Complex it is indeed. Thank goodness I was seeing the therapist at the time otherwise god knows what would have happened to me. I know that's ultimately what I need for deeper analysis, but it's good to be able to offload here - I'll take whatever relief I can at the moment.
That's a fair point Gazelda. I'm actually having a budget wedding but you're right, there's little point trying to cope and risking having it affect my day. It's just hard to work out where to find the extra money when at the moment, I'm trying to clear debts because they're causing me anxiety.
I'm so tired, I need to get to bed. Thanks for helping me feel a bit better tonight.
Good night. Come back tomorrow? This stuff is really hard to get through on your own.
It's difficult that she has chosen to share her dreadful burden with you, and you feel the need to try and carry it with her. Sounds like you have more than enough 'stuff' of your own already.
Giving the benefit of the doubt, she may not have done this maliciously, to make you feel bad, I wonder if she did it as a clumsy way of explaining why things were not great when you were younger?
Buy a journal and get it all out in there xxx so sorry to hear the news xxx you'll be alright in the end tho, just keep on keeping on xxxx
Woken up deeply tired again. I talked with my partner and the burden of not telling them about the wedding is too much for me. I'm considering telling her privately, and not going into detail beyond saying I can't invite them because of what she revealed to me last year. I know it might cause waves but it's the truth, and the fall out might be easier to deal with than not telling her at all.
I don't know what her motives were. That's the problem, you can pretty much never have a rational conversation with her. She had a very difficult life and it's completely broken her ability to be an adult.
Thanks everyone. Today I'm feeling sad that my life has ended up so complicated and sad - I never wanted this.
I really do sympathise.
What happened to your mother was dreadful, but in handing you this bombshell information, and then stipulating that you must keep it a secret from everybody including your siblings, whilst she stays married to your father, she has given you a very unfair burden.
In my view it would not be unreasonable for you to tell her that.
I agree with your therapist btw that this bombshell of hers was to stop you challenging her about your childhood. 'I had it much worse than you so what have you got to complain about?' is the message she is aiming for probably.
Actually I also think you have a right to talk honestly to your siblings about this. I did, regarding my own case, and it was shall we say very illuminating.
OP, maybe it would be better if you didn't tell her about the wedding plans yet, as it will doubtless cause discussion/debate. But you could agree with your DP that you'll send her an email the night before, the morning of or (preferably) after the day to let her know about the wedding. Don't give her room to challenge you.
Your life does indeed sound complicated and upsetting. But you are about to start a new life with your DH-to-be. Time to start afresh, new traditions, different family focus and a whole new world or choices and opportunities.
I don't know what her motives were. That's the problem, you can pretty much never have a rational conversation with her. She had a very difficult life and it's completely broken her ability to be an adult
I heard all sorts of stories from my mother about her life - physical/sexual abuse, being taken into care, multiple miscarriages, DV - I have no idea what if any of it was true as the stories changed so much. I know some of it happened but not whether to the extent she said, or when, or who. I know some of it couldn't have happened as I was there. I know she accused me of stuff I definitely didn't do, both to my face and to others. It was all very confusing. The only way was just to take everything with a pinch of salt and not change my opinion of other people based on what she claimed about them that week - because if I was getting on with a friend/relative, she'd claim they'd said or done something. There was always a motive, I just never knew what it was. By your mother declaring that you cannot tell anyone, what is her motive? Was it to get you back for challenging her? Does it matter? She's driven a huge wedge in between you and the rest of your family.
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