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Abusive father & mother losing her mind, help.(4 Posts)
Been lurking a while but I need some help, please.
My father made sure my sister and I had a completely hideous childhood. He was a bully and borderline sexually abusive towards me. He took me on two holidays in the summer hols when I was 11-12 & would make me take baths with him and once he came in the shower with me. He told me never to tell my mum as 'little girls didn't normally do things like this with their dads' etc. He never touched me sexually but it was suggested that we might do something like that in future but it never happened thankfully.
Anyway I started suffering with depression and panic attacks etc when I was 18 and went off the rails a little bit and opened up to an ex about what had happened to me. I eventually went to counselling, dealt with it and continued with my life. I even told my mother about it when I was about 24 and she got extremely upset and concluded that it was probably a case of him being over tactile with me and not another word was ever said about it and my relationship stayed the same with my parents.
So, September of last year my sister told me that our dad had been touching her sexually and making her touch him, between the ages of 4-10 years old. She's now 24. She says this happened every time mum and I left the house, even on holidays. She had started going to counselling about six months previous, allowing her to come out to me about this. She had also told my mother. I don't know the details of my mothers reaction, I understand she was 'devastated'. Nothing happened for a while but I spent time avoiding my dad at every opportunity, not really knowing how to proceed. I decided my sister needed the opportunity to come out and deal with this herself so I kept quiet until she decided the time was right and kept my son away when he was born in January coming up with excuse after excuse.
Last month my sister confronted our father. She wrote him a letter containing everything she wanted to say, what he did and how it made her feel etc, and she gave him this letter whilst sitting in front of him, with my mother. He started by calling her a liar and was furious. He denies everything and continues to now, but admitted what happened with me. My mother says he has spent every day since my sister confronted him crying and being upset. He said he would kill himself if my mother left, effectively ensuring her staying. I have since that day completely cut contact with him as has my sister. He has not attempted to get in touch aside from on my birthday last week with a text, and sent money to my bank account, which I returned to him without replying to the text.
On my birthday last week my mother comes with my sister, my oh and I to lunch and she says she wants to tell us how 'we've made her feel.' She tells my sister she wishes she never said anything, she is depressed and her life has been ruined, and that she is sad that she'll never have my son overnight or that he'll never get to go round their house. At this point I felt my rage boil over and said that WE have not made her feel anything and it's her problem if she wants to stay with someone that is not safe around children. Now, I can't imagine what it's like to have been married to someone for thirty years and have this come out about them. It must be completely devastating and so part of me gets her reaction.
She went through a period after it all came out of saying 'I believe them both'. If I had no prior experience myself I would probably struggle to believe it too. She also started asking me how she would go about renting a flat and opening a bank account but has since flatly said she is staying with him, because it's her home and doesn't see why she should leave, but that her and my fathers relationship will never be the same again.
I feel extremely uncomfortable seeing my mother when I don't feel she really believes my sister. My OH and I have tried to inspire strength in her by being kind and telling her she could leave if she wanted, (she's close to 60 and has never had any other relationships or lived with anyone else) and I've tried to encourage her to see a counsellor to talk through her feelings but she's very old fashioned and has a 'what will people think of me' attitude. My sister is moving away with her boyfriend (the first time she's left our town), and my mother feels this is a direct punishment for her. My sister is also furious with her for saying that she wished she'd never said anything.
I'm super proud of my sister, and I think what she did was amazingly brave, I just can't see how to move forward with this, I can't see how life can stay this way. Am I expecting too much for my mum to leave? Does she need more time?
Her world view has splintered into a thousand tiny pieces and she's very likely to be both angry and relieved that you and your sister have called him out on his abuse.
She's also frightened. Frightened of the potential fall out, ambivalent about what she should do next...should she stay, should she go...its a difficult time for her and you have to be both patient and understanding while she works out what to do next. Her loyalties are split in two here. Its a difficult place to be.
And more than anything, she's terrified of what other people will say if they find out.
People like your mum set great store by what other people think.
I hope you and your sister get some proper support through all of this.
OP what a distressing situation. Firstly, well done to you and your sister in getting help and confronting your father. Though hard, it can help with closure and moving on. You seem fantastically supportive of your sister and I'm sure she appreciates this.
Your DM though....I should imagine this was a shock to her if she had no idea. She'll need time to process it. Her rejection of your sisters abuse maybe defensive for now, i.e., it's too overwhelming to accept both her children were abused by the man she loved and trusted, which maybe brings up feelings of failure as a mother. Whilst it may be a shock for her now she may manage to deal with it in time.
Also, she is probably beginning to see her DH differently- he's clearly not the man she thought he was and that is hard for her and and is another loss she has to deal with.
I'm not excusing or condoning her behaviour and refusal to believe your sister, but it may explain where she's coming from.
Give her some time but don't let her emotionally blackmail you and your sister by making you feel it was your or DSis's fault for the upset she feels now. This is not your or DSis's fault and never was.
You sound like a good sister and I bet your DSis is glad you have her back.
It's so so difficult to try and see it from her point of view because I know how I think I would react. Realistically it would probably be very different.
It is a little like a grieving process I suppose, and it's easy to be selfish when you're grieving.
My sister says mum has been completely emotionally unavailable through this and wants to maintain a relationship but finds it tough when she says things to further hurt my sister, who is already going through a lot.
Thank you so much for your replies, both.
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