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Was this child abuse? Opinions...

(9 Posts)
thepracticalgardener Tue 25-Jun-13 08:30:35

I've wondered about this for years and although I'm not upset to the point of needing support, I would like opinions just so I can have 'closure'.

I had an uncle- my mum's brother, who seemed very close to crossing the line with me between uncle-y affection and something more sinister. He's dead now- died young- but my mum and him were very close. I never talked to her or my dad about it at the time, partly because I wasn't sure what was going on, but also because I thought she wouldn't believe me. However, she still talks about him fondly- in her mid 80s- and it makes me seethe to think she doesn't know how he was.

He never did anything overtly sexual, but I felt very uneasy with him and would do everything I could to avoid being with him alone.

It started with playful tickling when I was 12-ish and it was seemingly innocent. When I was aged between 15-19 ish. He would do things like giving me a 'bear hug' when we met- and it always went on too long. he'd 'tickle me' by putting his hands up the back of my jumper- when I was 16! Once when I was in the car with him and his son ( who was a child at the time) he drove the entire journey with his hand on my knee. Once when we went to the beach ( with his son) he held my hand when we walked along the sands. Again I was late teens. it didn't seem right at the time and not now. I used to babysit for them and dreaded him driving me home in case he became too 'affectionate'.

When he died I was late 20s and TBH I was just relieved. My mother adored him, but I found out through my dad ( never my mum) that although he was married at the time of his death ( heart attack) he was having 2 affairs- one with a local woman and one with a woman in the US who my parents had to notify of his death and dispose of their letters to each other so my aunt would not find out ( all pre email days.)

Yet in all of this my mum will not have a bad word said against him - so you can see why I never brought any of this up. She's now old and I honestly think ti could kill her if I mentioned it, but I still get angry inside when she talks about him if the sun shone out of his backside. I don't think he was a very nice man.

What's your opinions?

scarletforya Tue 25-Jun-13 08:33:50

Sounds like grooming to me. You poor thing. Very confusing.

Vivacia Tue 25-Jun-13 08:38:10

Sounds horrible and an abuse of trust. I wouldn't tell my mum, but I would like to seek some kind of truth and resolution via another route. Perhaps that could be explored on here or in therapy?

somersethouse Tue 25-Jun-13 08:38:46

I have had the same feeling about a few men I knew when I was small/early teens - one was my piano teacher. You just get a horrible 'not right' feeling about them and resent the 'tickling' etc.

I don't think it is child abuse though, no. I just think (sorry to say) he sounds like he was a bit of an unpleasant charácter.

But I don't know, I know why you ask though, if that makes sense smile

Eliza22 Tue 25-Jun-13 08:38:53

In my experience, men who make inappropriate touching "normal" ie, "it was just a hug", "I was only doing what your dad might do", "I was just giving you a cuddle cause you look sad today" or, at least try to make you think you are over reacting if you "make a fuss" about it, are often grooming.

You are probably right. I am glad for you, that he died before any further abuse happened.

AnyFucker Tue 25-Jun-13 08:40:57

It was highly inappropriate, I am sorry x

Theperfectgardener Tue 25-Jun-13 09:01:28

Thank you all.
I think abuse is too strong a word, but I have anger about it especially as my mum adored him- it caused issues in her marriage as my dad felt excluded from her relationship with her brother. In fact he once made the comment she ought to have married her brother!

At the time he was pestering me I was quite aware sexually- I had a serious long term boyfriend in my late teens and talked to him about it. I just felt his behaviour was not right.

The last time I saw my uncle was a day before I went on holiday to Greece aged 25, with a friend of mine. He gave me some spending money- was always very generous. On my return from the hols my Dad phoned me and said in a semi serious voice ' Sit down there's some news, XXXX has died'.

He had died soon after I'd seen him but my parents didn't want to spoil my holiday so I didn't find out until I had come home. I just felt relief. I felt nothing for him and when my mum talks about him I just want to scream and tell her with a twat he was.

She won't even acknowledge the wrong doing of his affairs ( of which there were many I think). So I don't think I'd get very far with telling her about his inappropriate touching, would I- and not when he has been dead for decades.

Yonihadtoask Tue 25-Jun-13 09:07:49

Oh OP. Horrid stuff goes on doesn't it.

I don't know if I would call it child abuse - but it was certainly totally inappropriate - and he was taking advantage of his position as your uncle.

Would it help you to have some counselling? Talk it out? It sounds like you would be wasting your time trying to make your DM understand.

I hope you can reach some resolution.x

mummytime Tue 25-Jun-13 09:28:58

There are lots of times I have been to funerals and had to sit through eulogies to people that do not in any way match what everyone said/knew before they died. The "don't speak ill of the dead" line can be very strong in some people. In some cases I think it can actually damage the mental health of others; it is very hard to deal with the 'double thought" needed to say nice things when your brain just drags up the cruelty.

I would suggest some counselling. I would also be prepared to change the subject whenever she mentions his name, or leave the room to make tea etc.

But also back in my childhood, younger days there was a lot more "inappropriate" behaviour just ignored or swept under the carpet. I really don't think that my DDs have to put up with some of the things that were seen as just part of life when I was younger, but then again I didn't tell my mother about all the things I knew/experienced/observed.

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