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Can you just forget that your husband was abusive to your kids?

(2 Posts)
birdssuddenlyappear Fri 03-Jun-16 14:12:46

I recently confronted my mother about the fact that my father was abusive, mainly emotionally but also physically. She is still with him but we have never spoken about this before, we only have really superficial conversations, which frustrates me.

She said that she couldn't remember any violence. I don't think he actually hit me often, but surely that is something a mother wouldn't forget? I described an incident where she had walked in and found him punching me on the floor and she had intervened, and she said she couldn't remember this. She remembered him threatening to punch me twice, but that she 'spoke to him' afterwards, and she doesn't remember the threats being frequent, as I remember, eg if i had the radio on loud he would say "I'll punch you if you dont turn that off", one of my good friends at primary school wasn't allowed to come round after he threatened her.

Of his emotionally abusive behaviour she said 'he's a difficult person, but then lots of people are' and basically minimised it.

I had expected her to minimise things, but I hadn't imagined that she would just not remember anything substantial. I found the conversation really surreal. It made me doubt my own memories, wonder if I was exaggerating, although I know that isn't the case.

I have read about gaslighting on here, but I got the impression she genuinely didn't remember this happening, rather than her lying. Is that possible? I just can't believe that someone would forget finding their husband punching their child whilst she was cowered in the the corner on the floor.

I feel really lost after this conversation. It was off the cuff and unplanned. I don't know where to take things the next time I see her.

TempusEedjit Fri 03-Jun-16 14:30:28

I have a similar issue with my own mum; when I was speaking to her recently it became apparent that her version of my childhood is vastly different to my own but that she genuinely believes her version of events. I guess over the years it's the only way she's been able to look at her reflection in the mirror and not loathe/regret the person she sees looking back at her.

Doesn't make it easier for me to know this but I take a tiny amount of comfort from knowing my mum is just deeply flawed rather than deliberately malicious.

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