It’s Not About You, Mom

Aug 26th, 2012 | By | Category: All Posts, Christina's Blog

by Christina Enevoldsen

Yesterday was my 46th birthday. Birthdays prompt me to reflect on my life—where I’ve come from and where I am now. Some of those thoughts included the woman who gave birth to me. My mother walked out of my life a few years ago and adamantly denies that my father sexually abused me, but it appears she was thinking of me too since she left a comment on my blog post, My Story by Christina Enevoldsen:

Christina has dreamed up her sexual abuse–accusing her father of horrible, evil behaviors that far, far from his character. Christina is using these accusations as a way of hurting her parents and getting the attention she craves. So sad that she is willing to create a fantasy world where she is the hero / victim. Will she ever come to her senses and ask for forgiveness? That is the first step to real healing…

Though it wasn’t the typical warm, fuzzy sentiments that other mothers might send, and she most certainly didn’t intend to help me in any way, this turned out to be a key to my favorite gift this year—a gift that came from me.

This is my response:

To Mom,
It hasn’t been easy to heal from all the damage you caused me. All my life, you walked away from me and I chased after you. I thought if I was good enough, you’d finally love me. When I asked for a more authentic relationship, you insisted that I was the one with the problem. Your rejection told me I wasn’t worth the effort. That was my fear all my life—that if I stopped performing for you, you’d abandon me. I was afraid of being confronted with the truth I already knew in my heart—that you didn’t really love me and never would.

I was hurt and angry about the ways you betrayed me, not only in my childhood, but throughout our relationship. When I finally acknowledged to myself the ways that you failed me, I wanted you to feel the same pain I felt. Mostly, it wasn’t to actually cause you to suffer, but so you would understand. I thought if you only knew what I felt, you’d have compassion for me and maybe even love me.

When you accused me of dreaming up these things about Dad because I wanted to hurt you, I realized how much I’m over you. I don’t feel pain over your abandonment anymore and I don’t have any need for you to understand. I don’t want an apology and I don’t care if you believe me.

If you came to your senses and suddenly saw the truth and admitted your gross error, I’d get no satisfaction from it. I hope, for your sake, that you do deal with your issues, but not so I can benefit from your healing.

All the things I needed from you, I learned to give to myself. Mostly, when I think of you, I feel nothing. There is only one thing that I can think of that still angers me, but not because of how it affects me, but how it continues to harm others. You present yourself as an elegant woman of God, but you are rotten inside. You deceive all those people at church by the masks you wear. I’m saddened by how you use the adoration of those people to exploit them, the same way you did to me.

I used to wish we could have an honest conversation, apart from the religious rhetoric that you like to spew. To do that, you’d first have to be honest with yourself and I don’t think you’d consider letting yourself see or hear the truth. I’ve accepted that we’ll never be mother and daughter again.

So you’re wrong that I want to hurt you and Dad. I don’t feel any pleasure in hearing about the difficulties you and Dad are dealing with now. But if the truth causes you pain, that’s not my problem. If you wanted me to say better things about you, you should have been better parents. Neither of us can change the past, though you’d rather ignore it.

I stayed silent for so many years out of a desire to protect both of you. I refuse to stay in the same dysfunctional role that I played most of my life. As your child, it was your job to protect me, not the other way around. I’m finished protecting you.

In truth, I don’t write about the harm you and Dad did to expose you. I’m not motivated by you at all, though I understand that since our entire relationship was all about you, you’d think it’s still that way. It’s not about you, Mom. My healing would have no relevance or context without including how broken I was and since you did the breaking, you’re a part of my story.

In one of your last emails to me, you insisted that you’re my mother (and I presume that you were demanding that I give you the honor that goes with that title). I may refer to you as my mother when I’m talking to others, but only for clarity. As I refer to you by that title now, it’s only for my convenience.

A title signifies a function or description. Does “Mother” describe what you’ve been to me? I don’t think so. I’ll tell you when I’ll honor you as my mother. I’ll do that when you act honorably. You’ll never be my mother as long as you cling to your lies—not just the ones about dad’s innocence—but about the pain from your own childhood. You didn’t marry such a horribly cruel abuser by accident. Dad wasn’t the first abuser in your life that you covered for. I suspect you’re covering for your own childhood abusers to cover your own pain. But that’s for you to deal with. Hey, I know a good website that deals with that kind of thing if you’re ever interested.

Christina

With each passing year, I look more and more like my parents and I used to HATE that. Every time I looked in the mirror, I was reminded of their rejection and I felt ashamed of the people I came from and fearful of ending up like them.

This year, I’m amazed by how comfortable I’ve become with myself. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see my parents. I see both the innocent little girl that I was and I see the incredible woman I have become. Instead of feeling shame for the family I had, I feel very proud that I am nothing like them.

People say life is a gift, but the life I have now is the one I worked and fought for. The “life” my parents gave me left me hollow and empty. The life I celebrate on my birthday and every day is the life I gave to myself. It’s been a very good birthday.

Now that you’ve heard my experience and thoughts about this, I’d love to hear yours. Please comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to the comments so you can continue to partake in the discussion. If you would like to protect your privacy, you don’t have to use your real name. Email addresses are never made public.

Related Posts:
My Parents Are Dead (To Me)
Understanding My Abusive Parents Didn’t Heal Me
The Truth About My Abuser’s Threats
Peace and Protection From Abuse
Healing From Sexual Abuse: Celebrating My Victories

Christina Enevoldsen is cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse, an online resource for male and female abuse survivors looking for practical answers and tools for healing. Christina’s passions are writing and speaking about her own journey of healing from abuse and inspiring people toward wholeness. She and her husband live in Los Angeles and share three children and four grandchildren.

[read Christina's story here]

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestTumblrStumbleUponRedditDiggGoogle GmailOutlook.comShare
Subscribe
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

68 comments
Leave a comment »

  1. Thank you for sharing and as I was reading this I started to wonder if I had a sister that my mother did not tell me about because our mothers are the same, you described her as I would mine. Thank you again for sharing

  2. Christina, you are incredibly courageous! What I also read was how clearly you see the truth. You didn’t let your mothers words cloud the truth. Your words were bold to her and filled with dignity. I’m inspired. I also hear the pain of the loss of that relationship but I think that’s a good thing. It means you’re being real and raw. I felt myself cheering you on as I was reading your response back to your mother. Again, very inspiring!

    My story is very similar to yours. My father admitted what he did but my mother continues to support him even when 2 more victims have come forward. It’s completely mind blowing. So, your story resonates with me. Thank you for all you do for your own healing and for other’s to heal.

    By the way, Happy Birthday! That’s something else we share. :)

  3. “You present yourself as an elegant woman of God, but you are rotten inside.”

    Oh, how I can relate to that!

    While I was killing myself with drugs for years and years trying to cope and deal with the horrors of childhood sexual abuse, my abusers were shaking hands with bishops, senators, and hiding behind the image of “everything is perfect because we are socially elite.”

    I am so glad I did not grow up buying into that, that I have genuine, authentic connections with others and that I am a creative contributor in all of my communities. I can not imagine living that soulless, disconnected life by choice.

    When I recently confronted my abusers they wrote me a 2 lined email that said “We are shocked and blindsided about all of this. We need to meet in person immediately to discuss it.”

    To discuss what? This email was followed up with another email and text message demanding that I look at my calendar and report in when I would be wiling to leave my amazing life for two days to be put back into submission.

    It really is all about them somehow… to them anyways… and to me its all about truth.

    What a world of difference.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. After my father died, my mother finally acknowledged that he had sexually abused me when I was a child. It was the first and only time she did so. She then gave me $3000 for counseling so I could “get fixed” and called it even. Decided the wrong had now been made right. When she died, I didn’t even feel a twinge of sadness. In fact, I have never mourned the death of either parent. So I understand completely where you are coming from. I think it’s tragic that you and your mother will never have a healthy, loving relationship just as it is tragic that I never had that kind of relationship with mother. It isn’t possible when the offending parent continues to wound. But I commend you for breaking the chains and shedding the cocoon of denial. I hope your heart finds deep healing in spite of your abusive parents and the lack of their love in your life.

  5. Hi Christina,
    First of all, happy belated birthday! My favorite scripture for birthdays is Psalm 139:1-18 (Amplified Version). I call it my “Birthday Psalm”. It changed my life when I realized I was created on purpose.
    It used to scare me to think anyone could see into me the way this Psalm describes God knowing our thought afar off, etc., but in that life-changing reading many years ago now, I welcomed His intimate knowledge of me! I feel very safe and secure now, knowing He knows me so well and loves me so perfectly. That’s where my security comes from now.
    My main perpetrator was my father, too. I was raped by him when I was eleven years old, having just come home from school. It was traumatic and radically changed my world! He’d been molesting me and my older (mentally disabled) sister for years before and after that, as well. He was abusive in every way and very sadistic. There were four of us and we were all verbally and physically abused. We also witnessed him beating up our mother on a regular basis – both were alcoholics.
    I have never been able to forgive him….until very recently. I’m 59 years old this month. There were many years that I didn’t even THINK about the abuse I’d come from – I was so disconnected from myself. Having been in therapy for the last six years, I’m almost unrecognizable from when I first stepped into my therapist’s office. She’s a God-send! I went from self-loathing to self-loving and from having no self-awareness at all to knowing how to be self-aware – an area I continue to grow in. All this has given me new life!
    It was several months ago when I experienced forgiveness toward my father. It was during a conversation with a friend and came in right out of the blue! Instantly, not only did I realize I COULD forgive him, I WANTED to forgive him. I’d been praying for it for years, but I couldn’t muster it up. God divinely intervened, and gave me the ability to forgive.
    My father died in 1978 from Pulmonary Edema – complications from alcohol-induced cirrhosis of the liver, at the age of 61. I had never shed a tear over his death. I was so relieved he was gone – and even though I was grown, married, and had a young daughter, I could stop feeling afraid.
    On the day the Lord brought forgiveness into my heart for my father, I began to weep. Not beCAUSE he died, but for sorrow for HOW he died. He had to have been in extreme pain. I saw him for the first time in nine years, about 10 months before he died. He’d been hospitalized and looked larger than nine months pregnant because of the bloating – and he was in a great deal of pain – couldn’t touch him – – didn’t want to.
    What I ultimately want to convey from this experience of forgiveness is that God gave it to me because I didn’t have it to give – I had struggled with it because even though I knew in my head that forgiveness was for ME, I still kept thinking it would somehow excuse all his abuse. NOW I KNOW it was for me!! I SEE things and HEAR things differently – I respond to people differently – – – it’s like being born again, again!!
    I have been liberated from the stronghold those experiences had on me all my life. I am moving forward – I am beginning to set goals for myself that I’ve never done before. On my 58th birthday last year, it was the first time I’d ever had the thought, “I’m so glad to be alive! I’m so glad I was born! I really LIKE who I am – who I’ve become and who I’m becoming!” That’s radical thinking for me – – that’s HEALING thinking!!
    Thank you for the opportunity to speak about my experience, strength, and hope, Christina.
    I’m so sorry for what your mother wrote to you – – and on your birthday, no less! But your response was beautiful and strong and absent of hatred and malice. Sounds like you’ve come a long way, baby!! KUDOS to you for the hard work you’ve done -and your daughter, as well – and continue to do, and for the hope you offer to all of us.
    God bless you beYOND!
    Hugs,
    Susan

  6. Christina…. You are a Gift !!! Thank you !

  7. Christina: thank you do much for sharing your story. Today is my Mother’s 59th birthday. Trying to find a birthday card was hard enough considering she neglected me after she took half-brother’s side over me. You typed exactly what I feel for my mother.
    My uncle (her half-brother) molested me for 7 months (I’m a male by the way), but I lied when telling my family that it happened once. She wanted him back in the house cause he was failing in school. I left home at 19 cause she wanted to live out her dream through me, really to control me. Now at 38, I get guilt trips of “I wish you lived closer, I hate to see you leave when you come to visit.”

  8. I love the letter you wrote to your “mother” Christina. I’ve recently learned that I was sexually abused by almost every single member of my family (and the ones who didn’t sexually abuse me were extremely emotionally abusive), and I feel the same way about them–they should get help for themselves, but there is nothing they could ever do that would convince me to let them back into my life. They could never change enough for me, even if they were willing to try.

    My mother was also such a person that she could overlook a great achievement such as this website, offer no praise for it, and then leap forward with her own resentments and personal attacks. Her post accusing you says so much about her and is full of such irony.

  9. Penny, I’m sorry your mom was so similar to mine. I don’t know about you, but it soured the title of mother for a long time. Thanks for sharing!
    Christina

  10. Karen,
    Happy Birthday to you, too! It sounds like you have a really crappy mom also. I’m glad you’re healing and recognizing that you deserve better.
    Christina

  11. Kylie,
    Wow, your family sounds awful! I’m glad you’re onto their schemes.

    I could relate to your statement so much, “It really is all about them somehow… to them anyways… and to me its all about truth.”

    Even after being a witness to their ways for all my life, I was genuinely surprised when I discovered that they don’t care anything about the truth. My denial was pretty deep!

    Thanks so much for sharing that part of your journey. It’s great that you’ve been doing so much self-validating things! I love to hear about that.

    Christina

  12. RB,
    That’s completely horrifying that your mother would offer you $3000 and call it even!!! WTH???!!! So throw some money your way and everything’s fine? (And not even very much money!!) That sickens me. That reminds me of my dad attempting to bribe my daughter to shut her up about what her dad to her. These people are sick, sick, sick! I’m sorry for the double betrayal that you experienced. You sure deserved better.
    Christina

  13. Thank you for sharing! Although she and her friends (also incest families) lied in court to save her assets she did admit that I had told her about dad at the age of 4. Her reason then for trying to kill me was that she didn’t want a kid like me ruining her position at church! Abusive preachers, elders and bossy church women still make me cringe! Hell will be full of them and who will they get to abuse but each other.
    We were also abused by doctors, therapists and lawyers, not just the preachers.
    I live in a Scandinavian community in the state of WA that is an incest mecca! Here we have had preachers, deacons, lawyers, a state senator, baker, civil service workers, church child care workers, older siblings. fathers, mothers, military, teachers as well as the nobody’s who have sexually abused kids. Even the local newspaper would love to shut me up.
    Keep telling your story as I have found people will listen and some of them know exactly what I am talking about!

  14. Susan,
    Thank you for sharing your journey. I’m so glad you found life and freedom!
    Hugs to you,
    Christina

  15. “All the things I needed from you, I learned to give to myself. Mostly, when I think of you, I feel nothing. There is only one thing that I can think of that still angers me, but not because of how it affects me, but how it continues to harm others. You present yourself as an elegant woman of God, but you are rotten inside. You deceive all those people at church by the masks you wear. I’m saddened by how you use the adoration of those people to exploit them, the same way you did to me.”—hi Christina, this statement is for my own abusers too…this is why i do not go to the churches where they are going.

  16. Thank you, Calvin!

  17. Tremayne,
    My mom tried to use guilt on me too. I used to feel really bad for her since I was trained to consider both of them first. It feels really good to be free of that. Thanks for sharing your experience!
    Christina

  18. You are an inspiration to many. Happy Birthday to You.

  19. Caden,
    Thanks for sharing part of your story. I was sexually abused by several members of my family and from both sides of the family. I used to hesitate saying that since it sounded so unbelievable. But that’s so disgustingly common and it makes total sense since people who come from abuse frequently marry others who come from abuse. So it’s not so unusual for two incest families to be united through marriage and for their children to be victims of both sides.

    I love your comment about my mother overlooking “a great achievement such as this website”. I thought it was so amusing that last year she made a comment through the contact form on this site. It wasn’t addressed to anyone in particular, but it was written as though she was reporting me to the site administrator, telling about my “lies”. Who did she think would be reading that???? My name is all over this site and I think anyone else would pretty much figure out that I run it, but not my mom. She just can’t see my accomplishments. That really used to bother me since that was the way I thought I would earn her love. Now, I’m just amazed by how blind a person can be. Anyway, thanks for your comment!
    Christina

  20. Kathi,
    I’ve heard of communities like that where there is incest everywhere. I was part of something like that on a smaller scale when we lived at an airpark community. I thought the whole world was abusive.

    I’m glad you’re out of that now. Thanks for sharing.
    Christina

  21. G,
    Thanks for your comment. I had to stay away from church completely for at least a year to deal with the spiritual abuse and so much coping from others in the way of wearing masks. I’m glad you’re doing what’s best for you.
    Christina

  22. Thank you, Charlie!

  23. Thank you for giving a voice to so many others! I understand and feel your pain.

  24. Hi

    As a young boy, who at the age of 5 was sent to boarding school, grade 1 being the first year of ones schooling life, I was persistently sexually abused by an older boy. Threats were made against me by him, which kept me silent. At the age of 5 the abuse that I experianced, shaped my life for years and still does. I have been for counseling but was told that I have far to much agression and still have agression towards the perpetrator. I stopped the counseling, as one of the requirements was that I had to tell my parents, I cannot bring myself to do this. My father was physically abusive towards myself and my brothers. He was abusive to my mother as well. I did not want to tell them out of fear that they would not believe me, so even to this day I harbor the abuse within me. My mother is still alive, I have not told her of my experiance and doubt I ever will. I have told my fiancé who is very loving towards me, but I find that I distance myself from her and cannot fulfill her expectations. What to do next I don’t know and any advice would be heaven sent.

  25. Happy Birthday to you! Thank you for your courage and honesty and passion to make a difference for other survivors. I will be sharing your letter with my followers as I think many can relate and find validation and hope through your words. God bless.

  26. Hi Craig,
    This was what happened to my youngest brother at the same age. He never did tell our parents, or anyone else for that matter.. except I figured it out through signs and then we talked about it. This horrible secret ate him alive . There are visible signs of change in photographs and behavior in teen years.
    I hope that you have someone you can tell and move forward with some healing. Communication is the threshold to the next step. This vile atrocity perpetrated upon our children has to be exposed before it can be fought against.

  27. Christina, thank you. I’ve also felt like my story is unbelievable the ‘bigger’ it becomes, the more abusers in my family that I discover–but you’re right, it just shows the pervasiveness of the incest and how so many sick, sad people came together to have children and then abuse them and allow those children to abuse each other. Of course it matters the most that I can believe myself, so I’m having to unwind these voices from my childhood that tell me it’s not safe to know these things, that it couldn’t be true, I must be lying or exaggerating… It gives me hope that you were able to move past that overwhelming, hesitant stage. Thanks,
    -Caden.

  28. I too, FINALLY made the decision to end the phony father son communication with my dad two years ago! He has had plenty of years to take responsibility for what he permitted and did to impact my childhood and adult life BUT chooses to remain living his final years in denial and not knowing, or wanting, to step up and respond like a respectable adult.
    I never remember loving this man and feel pity and sadness for him-not usually what a first born son feels for his father. It was, and is, important to remove these negative and disturbed energies from our lives today, as they offer absolutely no healthy, nourishing or healing energy towards our adult lives now. They have chosen their responses, to continue to deny the truth, to cause further hurt and sorrow and there is no reason, not even because they are our biological parent, to continue tolerating this from them.
    Your life has bloomed without this parent, your contributions to healing in the world are everlasting and powerful. Your presence in this life has made a huge difference, unlike your parent. The key word here is “unlike” your parent. I also see the resemblance to my father BUT am comfortable with it because of the life I have chosen to live today despite my trauma history and disappointing choices my father continues to make with respect to me.
    Your letter was well written and expressed, your mother is not deserving of you but I understand the importance of expressing it. Consider it your final “cut off” and good bye message to someone who has chosen to remain in pain, denial and whatever mental illness, she has. You can’t help or change her anymore, so focus on living your life surrounded with those who care, respect and enjoy you.

  29. hi christina,
    i just read your letter on nicole bromleys one voice website . i am very impressed with your courage to expose the truth . i have a similar story i’d like to share with you . i too was raped by my father for 10 yrs , i started when i was 8 and continued until i was 18 . thats when i married and moved out . i forgave my father and we even had a seemingly normal relationship with my family , by the way my mother knew and actually caught my father in the act when i was 10 yrs old. i kept quiet to protect my parents but in december 2009 it “came out” that my father was molesting my 10 yr old niece , his grandaughter. i couldnt keep quiet anymore . i confronted my parents. my father said ” i dont know what shes talking about i havent done anything wrong ” my mother said “we’ll handle this ” i went to the authorities and my father plead guilty to raping me for 10 yrs but the charges were dropped about my niece , im pretty sure her mother was paid off . i have not spoken to my parents ,siblings , aunts or uncles since he went to prison ( he got 8 yrs and will be out after serving only 5 ) he and my mother continue to manipulate saying that i did this because i am jealous of thier relationship with my younger sister and that the only reason he plead guilty was to save my mother from having to go through a trial .WOW how chivalrous of him ! my father has the family believing he’s suffering for Christ and uses romans 8 as his basis , how disgusting !!! unfortunately my family believes all of the lies and is so disappointed in me . i have a recorded conversation of my parents 3hrs long that i recorded for the sex crimes unit before they were arrested where they both admit not only what he did to me but also what he did to my niece, sometimes i just want to make copies and send them to each of my family members and see how they twist that ! i know beyond a shawdow of a doubt that i did the right thing . it was by far the hardest thing ive ever had to do . i am thankful for the healing that has occured because of it.. i am 45yrs old and am beginning to be full of peace, the peace that passes all understanding {phil 4;7) thank you for allowing me to share my story , my & my husband, of 25yrs , hope is to somehow use this to help others.

  30. I admire you for your bravery. I know it helps others to accept and know their own truths. For years I denied the memories. I then learned how many more my father molested, including my own children. I knew I had to stop the cycle and not remain blind. I never regret for a moment, I did that. Here I was so afraid to tell them. They already knew! I hope I too can add some hope for others who are still bound to the lies and the awful treatment they do not deserve. Please use my name and website for others. I am NOT ashamed. Why should I be?

  31. Christina, thank you so much for your story!

    I look to people like you who share their stories for inspiration, I still haven’t got to the point of being able to publicly share my story but I know soon I will be able to.

    <3 god bless

  32. Dear Christina.

    Thank you for your candor in exposing what is a lifelong battle to overcome. I was abused by my step-father from when I was 5 until I was 14 and “told.” My mother knew of the final episode, when she saw him fleeing from my room, although she did not confront him. The next day I told…they disappeared to talk while I cried in my bedroom. My anticipation was high that we would leave, she would take us (3 younger brothers) and flee. She did not. She told me she “couldn’t leave with 4 kids” while she was finishing school (he paid). So I quickly realized I had to “suck it up.” I ultimately accepted that – her words – I was “sacrificed for the greater good” in keeping the family together. I also resolved that I would forgive all of that in order to preserve the family and be there to protect my brothers. Mind you, she was in the midst of an affair with another man at the time…someone she ultimately married and who I accepted as one of the best gifts of my life. He recently passed away and I have been heartbroken…which she will not discuss. She’s made some decisions since then that, again, have been the ultimate betrayal. Her position is, “I was not a good mother…I couldn’t leave…I didn’t know how to be a mother….”…and I wonder when past tense erases present tense. For many years we enjoyed what others might call the ideal mother-daughter relationship – I put all that away and overcame many other betrayals. We’re now at a huge impasse where she has betrayed me yet again and my younger brother thinks I need to just “get over it.” She has made up stories and told lies about me and put me in the position of once again pushing down the pain of her betrayal to protect my brothers and keep the peace… or finally standing up for myself. I have chosen the latter and our family is now in tatters…somehow I am being pegged as the bad guy… she’s old, get over it. Surviving the betrayal of a parent is a lifelong struggle and and a choice. I no longer choose to “suck it up”… I’ve lost too much and the pain has been too great and I alone have been the one to carry the burden of the family very open secret. I can’t do it anymore and I resent the hell out of her that I am expected to “deal with it.” Nice bonus is that she is a therapist….and counsels sex offenders. On the one hand I appreciate that others may not be harmed…but in words that are so out of reach for sex abuse survivors… what about me??

  33. WOW. You took the words out of my mouth. I even reprinted this with a link to this article on my own blog. I highlighted in yellow the words that match my life to a tee. Maybe my mom will read it. I wouldn’t know because she has ran away from me for the last time–this time, I’m not chasing her.

    Thank you for this beautiful piece. It inspires me to articulate my pain and my process more fully to aid in my own healing, and maybe even for others too. First, however, I need the oxygen mask on myself.

    Jenna

  34. My older brother sexually abused me, tried to rape me, and after that stopped slapped, pushed me around, and used his size to intimidate me at all times. My father was distant, and angry. He was always there for my brother, never there for me. I lived in fear of both of them, yet longed for their love and attention. My mother was a wonderful person who was under the control of my father. She loved me and was very active in my life, but she loved the success my brother experienced in sports and in life. I never told my parents, I think I knew even as a child and teenager I would not be believed or supported. I was afraid what telling would do to my family. I am now 59. I am so angry with myself for not telling. This has followed me through my life, affected my ability to work, and the one time I approached my brother he told me I was crazier then he had realized. I wish I could put this away and move on. I know I am most angry with myself for not taking care of me. My daughters know, but in sist on including my brother’s family in important events. My daughter is expecting her first baby, I want to give her a shower and she is insisting I include my sister in law, and my brother’s two step daughters. I don’t want them there. I don’t understand why she refuses to see my side in this. I would just like to enjoy what is a very special event. I have forgiven my father, but may never forgive my brother. When my father passed my brother and his wife took control of everything like I didn’t exist. They have never been there for my children despite the health problems I have experienced due to all of this. I want to be a true survivor and move on from this and let the anger with myself go. I am beginning to wonder if that will ever happen.

  35. I read your story and I had to comment to air my feelings I desperately need help I need to move on and go forward I’m a 23 year old male and a survivor of sexual abuse twice!
    The first time it happened was when I was 2 years old its not a nice first memory I remembers going to my biological mothers friends house with her I’m not sure where she went but I remember two men and a female standing over me and feeling things no two year old should feel for fifteen years I thought they were dreams but I came to realise they were events that happened I told my biological mum recently and she thankfully believed me and wrongfully blamed herself, when I was thirteen I went on a school trip to France where an older boy attempted to rape me but he was interrupted thankfully but rumours starred to spread and I was bullied by my peers for a while the perpetrator lead the bullying I might add

    The abuse has effected my sexuality I like girls but I find it very difficult being in a sexual situation with one even though I have has moments when I’ve sexually fantasised about the opposite sex the female always turns into a male and as a result I’ve had many sexual meaningless one nights stands with men which leave me very unsatisfied I’ve gotten over the fact that I’m bisexual but my past is holding me back from forging similar relationships with females and I alone which is strange as I have a lot of friends but I’m very alone
    Sometimes I hate what those people did to me but as a child I wanted thief touch and it makes me sick
    My family support me but Im trapped I just want help I need to escape I’m fed up I think of how brave you’ve been Christine and you’ve been through far worse than me but I’m a coward and everything is closing in I wish that I were a different person free of this tainted thing normal and uncomplicated I want a wife and children someday but the more I sink the further that dream life goes and I continue to seek unfulfilling sex with men
    I’m sorry for airing my dirty laundry but I found this blog and I just needed to free this from my mind
    I’m seeking therapy at the moment but i don’t feel I’m getting anywhere
    I’ve tried religion but I know this is stupid but I hate god for giving me this life and of all the times I’ve prayed as a teenager but no help came I can’t keep burdening my family with this

    I hope someone replies and Christine you are a very brave woman I wish you and your family all the luck in the world you deserve it your an inspiration and your “mother” doesn’t deserve you

    Thank you

    JJ

  36. Dear JJ, I have no fabulous words of wisdom to offer you, but your pain has touched my heart. I know you said that you’re fed up with religion, and so I truly hope it won’t cause offense to say that I am praying for you. I am praying that God will bring comfort to you and that He will in some way help you to realize your tremendous worth…. your precious value as an individual. You are truly and fully loved, and I also pray that you will be able to know and feel that love.
    Rebecca

  37. Thank you Rebecca and no I’m not offended they’re your beliefs and it isn’t within my right to disrespect your religious opinions, I hope one day things will be different, and I achieve that dream of a family :-) I only hope my children never have to go through what I had to go through

  38. To JJ and all,

    I write poetry to help bring my feelings to the fore. Below is a poem that I wrote to my father when I was 36 and the first time that I admitted aloud to myself the things that had been done to me. Of course, I have come to realize that the ultimate betrayal came from my mother, who saw but refused to acknowledge the things done to me. Now she is 83 and on oxygen and my cousins are trying to make me feel guilty about not seeing her. My father is 91 and is still able to make sexual innuendos in some of the things he says. Do they never outgrow this? He molested me from the age of four and raped me almost daily from the age of eight until I was 16 (with beatings and torture when I didn’t cooperate added to the mix until I married and left home at 22)…but the emotional and psychological abuse continues until today.

    They accuse my wonderful husband of horrible things and he is an honerable man. I truly think God answered my prayers when I found him. We only knew each other for six weeks when we married in 1971 and I have never regretted such a leap of faith. He is the most supportive person in my life and refuses to let the things they say bother him. Everyone that knows him knows the truth…even my cousins say that they don’t see in him the horrible things my parents accuse him of but they still tell me that I am damned before God if I don’t see them before they die. It is amazing how many times I have heard this, even from people at church and once from a licensed therapist, who further said that there are many people who are worse off than I am. Therapy can be a wonderful thing or can be more damaging than the original hurt.

    I have not spoken to my parents since 1997 but I continue to hear from them indirectly through family members. I am 63 and I am so tired of it all.

    JJ, please keep faith in yourself and as with everything else, go one day at a time. I know that you don’t feel the way I do, but I will keep you in my prayers. Try to find someone to talk to. It is not easy to find someone willing to listen, but when you do, it is wonderful. It never goes away, but your coping mechanisms get a little better.

    Hugs and prayers,
    Linda

    THE DARK SIDE

    YOU ARE THE DEMON OF MY DREAMS,
    THE THIEF OF MY VERY SOUL.
    YOU ROBBED ME OF MY YOUTH
    AND WILL BE WITH ME UNTIL I’M OLD.

    HOW CAN YOU LAUGH AND JEST
    WITH SUCH MEMORIES IN YOUR HEART?
    DO YOU HAVE A HEART OR PERHAPS
    THAT IS A PART OF YOUR EVIL ART.

    THE COLORS OF THE RAINBOW
    SURROUND ME, BUT I ONLY SEE THE GRAY.
    YOU STOLE THE COLORS FROM ME
    WHEN YOU TOUCHED ME THAT FIRST DAY.

    YOU SAY THAT YOU HAVE LOVED ONES
    BUT I DON’T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND,
    THAT LOVE AND CARING AND RESPONSIBILITY
    ALWAYS GO HAND IN HAND.

    MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY HAS GONE NOW
    AND YOUR EVIL STILL WORKS ITS CHARM.
    I HAVE TRIED TO PROTECT THOSE I LOVE
    FROM ANY OF YOUR HARM.

    YOU WERE RIGHT IN YOUR PROPHECY
    THAT IF I TOLD I WOULD REGRET.
    YOU SIT AS IF NOTHING HAD OCCURRED
    AND THE DAMAGE IS NOT FINISHED YET.

    MY EVERY THOUGHT AND ACTION, IS COLORED
    BY THE EVIL WEB YOU WOVE.
    I CANNOT SAY OR DO OR LOVE
    WITHOUT IT TOUCHING MY VERY SOUL.

    THE SKY IS BLUE, THE GRASS IS GREEN,
    BUT ALL I SEE IS GRAY.
    I TRY AND TRY TO FORGIVE AND FORGET
    SO THE COLORS WILL RETURN SOME DAY.

  39. Leeanna, thanks for your comment and for using your voice too! Christina

  40. Craig,
    Wow, it sounds like you didn’t have a very supportive counselor–or a very good one if they told you that telling your abusive dad about your sexual abuse was necessary for your healing. I’m sorry you were treated that way. I’m glad you have a loving fiancé. I understand about being afraid of not fulfilling her expectations. That’s so common to think that we aren’t enough after abuse. Have you talked with her about your fears?
    Christina

  41. Nicole,
    Thanks for your comment and thank you for sharing this!
    Christina

  42. Hank,
    Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you’ve made a better life for yourself apart from abuse too!
    Christina

  43. Wende,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so sorry that you were betrayed by both of your parents. The way they are acting sounds SO familiar! I’m glad you’re doing well after having been through so much.
    Christina

  44. Irene,
    I’m so sorry for what happened to you and to your children. I know how painful that feels to learn that your children were abused too. I hope they are healing.

    Thanks for your comment. That’s great that you’re speaking out too!
    Christina

  45. Tara,
    I think it’s great that you’re respecting your own comfort level and waiting to share your story until you’re ready. We’ll be listening when you’re ready to share.
    Christina

  46. Michele,
    Thank you for sharing your story. How awful!!!! I’m glad in the midst of that, you’re standing up for yourself–especially since nobody else in your family seems to be doing so. It sounds like your family was in tatters long before you stood up for yourself. You just revealed what nobody wanted to see. I’m sorry it’s so painful for you, though. I know the feeling!
    Christina

  47. Hi Jenna,
    I’m glad this inspired you to write more about your feelings. Thanks for sharing this post!
    Christina

  48. Marcia,
    Thank you for sharing your experience and feelings. I can relate to feeling angry with yourself for not taking care of yourself. Self-care has been one of the biggest challenges of my whole healing journey and when I see the effects of not caring for myself properly, it’s really frustrating. But I’m so much better now than I used to be. Baby steps!
    Christina

  49. JJ,
    I’m so glad you shared that. I’m so sorry for how much pain you’ve experienced and are still in. I disagree that you’re a coward. I think it takes a lot of courage to survive the things you did. I hate, hate, hate abuse and all the destruction it causes!!!! I can relate very much to feeling so awful about the ways the abuse affects your sexuality. I was so ashamed about the feelings, fantasies and ways I acted out sexually because of the abuse. It’s been incredibly difficult to overcome that. Please don’t give up hope of feeling whole and happy and having the life you want. Healing really is possible and I truly believe you can do it.
    Christina

  50. Linda,
    Thanks for sharing your poetry and your story. I’m glad you have such a loving husband now. Supportive husbands are great gifts!
    Christina

  51. HI Christina, Thanks for sharing your story. I was abused by my father when i was around 7-8 years old. I am now 52 years old. I still have all the memories about what happened. MY sisters were too, but they sometimes act like nothing ever happened. My parents are still living, but I am not very close to them. MY whole life has been effected by it. My child hood was taken from me. I now have depression, anxiety and lost of anger from it. I have been in counceling in the past, but that never seems to help, just makes me think about it more. I am married with two children, but they are grown up now. My husband has been my support system for me and has been there for me. If it was not for him being in my life, I do not know where I would be today. I just try to stay strong and try to go on with my life as normal as possible. All I can say Is that you never get over it The scars are with you for life. After reading your story, I now fill that I am not alone anymore.

  52. Thank you Christina
    Your an inspiration you deserve every ounce of happiness that comes your way

  53. Hi everyone,
    When I disclosed the abuse to my mother, she didn’t deny it. In fact she said, “What the hell was I supposed to do, we would have been out on the street with no money.” She told my sister, that I liked it cause she watched me. When I wrote a letter of goodbye for now to both of them, my mother hid the letter from my father.
    After the so called ‘secrets’ came out when I was 45 years old, people warned me that I better reinstate my relationship with my parents because if they die, I would be sorry that I didn’t get to forgive them. I weighed this out and wondered if this would be true. They were elderly and sick. I wondered if others were ever told the same kind of things. But I felt I no longer wanted such a ‘sick’ relationship in our lives.
    I just want to say that they did die. I was not sorry. Only sorry that I continued it so long. I was always so afraid to hurt them. Evidently, they never felt the same.
    The only thing I felt at their funerals (I went for support of my neices and siblings) was relief, for myself, my children, and all the other relatives that would never be subject to their sickness anymore.
    Irene

  54. Thank you so much, JJ!

  55. Irene,
    Thanks for sharing that. I especially like what you wrote about not regretting reconciling with your parents. It’s not for anyone else to tell us how we’ll feel. That’s such a boundary violation under the guise of being “concerned”. I’m glad you decided for yourself what was best for you and that it turned out well. Great for you!
    Christina

  56. Thank you, Christina, for this wonderful post “Its not about you,Mom”. This revelation came to me this year with my own mother. Your posts continue to help me move on in my journey through life.

  57. IAMicried,
    I’m so glad that the posts are helpful to you. Thanks for your comment!
    Christina

  58. I could describe my mom the same way too. Someone that was looked up to, involved in the Church, someone who ‘appears” to be loving and caring. I always had a hard time wrapping my mind around how she was able to choose a molester over her daughter. She wasnt a drug addict or an alcoholic. She was a “good” mom, a loving mom, when I was little.
    When I told her what her husband was doing to me, I felt like she turned on me. She has caused me more pain, than he could of ever caused me. Her words “get over it” will be etched into my brain forever.
    Shes still Married to him and I have had no choice but to cut ties with almost all of my family. I have three daughters now, and as a mother, I cant subject them to the monster that I wasnt protected from.
    I hate that its something that I will always have to live with. I wish I could just “get over it” but then, I wouldnt be doing me or my daughters any justice.

  59. Wow, it’s as if I could’ve written this to my own “mother.” My mother just called me for the first time in about a year and a half. It was all about her suffering and turmoil, insisting that she was still my mother. Ugh, her denial is so entrenched, she can’t even recognize the present. Thanks for sharing.
    JF
    soulsnatching.wordpress.com

  60. My mother is currently in palliative care, dying of cancer. My father is practically blind because of macular degeneration has emphysema. My parents and I have not been on speaking terms for approx. 6 years since the “last straw that broke the camel’s back”.

    When I was an early teenager, my father started to sexually abuse me but did not get very far because I called him out on it, and told my mother (who did not believe me initially, and I’m still not sure she believes me now). All I got from my father was “If you think that’s what I did, I’m sorry, but I know I didn’t do that”. A few months earlier, I was sexually abused by a family acquaintance during one of my parents’ numerous dinner parties. My mother did not seem to believe me then either. I don’t know what they told the guy, but they never got him arrested. And I was left with fear for my own safety. My whole life, under their FACADE of being such sweet caring people, I had to live with my lack of self-esteem because of these types of incidents (and there are many that were not sexual too, but also very traumatizing). I was suicidal at 18. In my 20’s I suffered from debilitating panic attacks (almost to the point of not being able to leave my house, and not being able to sleep either). The panic attacks were almost constant. Again, I kept on trying to find ways of ending my life. I’m now 49 and have a hard-working, loving and trustworthy husband, two most adorable teenage kids (almost young adults), and 4 adorable pets. Yet I’m unable to be completed happy. I haven’t been on speaking terms with my parents in the past 6 years, and have been feeling ultimately rejected by my father when she clearly chose to stay with my father and give her full support, even though she knows exactly what he did. He didn’t do these things only to me. All his skeletons are coming out of the closet (he also molested my brother’s daughter for approximately 5 years; he had an affair with my mother’s best friend as well as with another random woman we didn’t know; he sexually molested that best friend’s daughter , he got my dog put to sleep just for his convenience, and the list goes on). But for some reason I resent my mother so much more for her choosing my father over me, her daughter who was the victim. I understand why she did it. She has no financial security without him, and he also managed to keep her down with his subtle yet demeaning remarks. But still, I cannot get over the fact that she chose my father over me. It was the ultimate low blow which confirmed to me that I’m not good enough for anyone to make an effort. So to date, because of all this turmoil in my heart, I feel as if I’m only surviving with lots of psychological, physiological, and physical issues to deal with.

    But now my mother’s dying. I haven’t got a clue what I should do. I already visited a couple of time last month. I regret to say that I have lost love for my mother and father. It’s more like pity now. What should I do? I also don’t want my husband and kids to partake in these toxic relations. And I also don’t want to feel defeated (because that’s how I’d feel if I caved in and resume my relationship with my parents. It doesn’t stop the fact that I feel like a horrible person for not helping my parents in their time of need. Sadly, I think this feeling will never go away. What I’m trying to say is really be true to yourself no matter what you do. It may feel like the wrong thing but really is the right thing.

    Anyway, I know that I’ll never feel quite right, and I will always have those scarring flaws of mine to deal with in my heart. But I promised myself that the abuse and lack of respect stops here, and to never subject my children to the stuff I had to go through. As for my mother. I will visit once more, but I will not be able to tell her that I love her, because I no longer do.

  61. Well, my 92 year old stepfather died in his sleep last month. I went to the funeral for the sake of my two brothers. As usual, my mother played the victim. I could not even bring myself to speak to her or my sister (that is another entire sordid story). Of course, I was told how cruel I was for not being more supportive of my mother. My two sister-in-law have been great though. They told me that my mother keeps saying that there was nothing else she could have done except see me getting raped from the age of four until the age of sixteen.

    To me, her emotional abuse are by far worse than anything my stepfather did. I know that may seem odd, but it is true. Her betrayal and continued denial are infinitely more damaging.

    But after years of prayer, I have come to realize that I no longer feel guilty for feeling nothing for her or her dead husband. I did not cry at my stepfather’s death and I will not cry at my mother’s.

  62. I meant to say that both of my sisters-in-law have told me that I have nothing to feel guilty about and that they told my mother that she should have protected me better. They are not speaking to her any more. My 84 year old mother only has my sister to help her now. As I said that is another story. My sister is a thief and a drug addict who stole drugs from my sister-in-law and jewelry from my 13 year old niece during the funeral. She had her girlfriend write me a threatening letter when my husband and I called her out on it. My mother took up for my sister saying she couldn’t help it? When all is said and done, they deserve each other.

  63. My 92 year old father died just recently. He had sexually violated me from the age of four until sixteen. He continued to try daily until I married at 22 and even tried for years after that. I told my husband after we had been married for 15 years. My brother was going to have twin girls in 1986 and I could not keep my secret any longer.

    My darling husband has stayed by my side and fully supported me for the 42 years we have been married. But I found out that my mother has been telling everyone that I am a liar, that we owe them money and that she had been a wonderful grandmother and kept my sons over the years. She has told so many lies about me, my husband and sons that it is just unbelievable. I supposedly stole drugs from my grandparents, etc. etc. etc. We have not seen my parents since 1997 when I almost died from a heart problem brought on by the stress caused by my parents, especially my mother. We would never have left our sons with my parents at any time.

    I found out in 1986 that my sister, who is 16 years younger than me, was molested by my father after I left home. Not full blown sex but in its own way is just as destructive. My mother had moved her into their bedroom at the age of 8 because “she missed her big sister”. She is a lesbian and a fullblown drug addict. She stole jewelry from our 13 year old niece and my sister-in-law and drugs from my sister-in-law (who has cancer) during the funeral. My parents tried everything they could think of to break up my marriage so that I would come back home.

    Now my mother says either “that the sex was a long time ago, why are you bringing it up now?”or “I am just flat out lying”. She is doing and saying anything to make the rest of my family not want to be around me and is constantly asking my sister-in-law, who has cancer, to do everything for her and take her everywhere. She fits the description of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder to a “T” and is trying to trash my reputation and that of my husband and sons with every breath in her body.

    About 10 years ago, my father called and told me that he was so sorry for the things he had done. He told my sister-in-law that he could never apologize enough for the damage he had caused. My mother seems to blame me for everything and is making up things saying she has “proof” of what a liar I am. My husband and sons are furious and says that her name is to never be mentioned in our house ever again.

    Why do mothers do this? I never knew how much she hated me. The only reason I am half way normal is that we lived with my grandparents for the first 3 years of my life and they were wonderful people and the closest thing to loving parents I had. How they could raise someone like my mother is amazing. My two uncles are loving and seem normal. I know my mother was not abused so how has she become more damaging psychologically than my father ever was?

    She even told my high school counselor that I didn’t need a scholarship to MIT that was offered. I was supposedly needed too badly at home. I did become a registered nurse at the local junior college, but only because it would have looked odd if I didn’t go to some kind of school after I graduated with honors from my high school. She took every dollar I ever made while I lived at home and resented the fact that I married and left her with my brothers and sister. I had raised them and kept house for her until I married and left.

    This all sounds so crazy when I write it down. But I truly think God blessed me with my husband because of the house of insanity I came from. I feel more betrayed by my mother than by anything my father ever did to me. The daily sex I could deal with. The psychological and emotional abuse were infinitely harder to overcome.

  64. I can relate to your situation of sexual abuse and emotional manipulation. The difference is that my father, to this day, denies any abuse through which he’s put my niece and myself. And my mother always made herself out to be the victim. Yes, she was a victim. But if she had had an ounce of motherly love, she would have done everything to help me heal and protect me and my niece. For this, I cannot forgive her. I believe her lack of protecting her child and grandchild is worse than what my father did. My well-being has deteriorated since my mother passed away, because in my heart none of these issues have been resolved. At this point, I feel completely broken. I decided to go see a psychiatrist because, although I know that none of this is my fault, I have so much feeling of guilt for cutting my parents out of my life, I have no self-esteem, I fear rejection, I have serious sleep problems, have high blood pressure, take anti-depressants, have very advanced osteoarthritis, no longer have enthusiasm for anything anymore, have never felt at peace and comfortable with myself, am very emotionally self-destructive ……. I don’t believe any issues of my past will be completely resolved, but I’m hoping that seeing someone will help me find myself again in all this mess, so that I can feel a bit of happiness and contentment with the good things in my life.

  65. Dear Nicole & Linda, our stories are all so similar, it’s striking. I’m so sorry your families have failed you. You have to just give yourself the things that they can’t and won’t. They are emotional cripples. It’s like we have to teach ourselves all of the things that our parents did not teach- the main thing being how to love and be loved. They took an axe to that.
    There is another wonderfully healing website out there (she has a FB page as well):
    http://www.emergingfrombroken.com
    Peace to you!!

  66. Thank you so much Nicole.

    I am 64 and feel like I am 94. My husband and sons worry constantly because I have had so many health problems. I try so hard to not complain to them. I am grateful that I found this website and my wonderful sister-in-law and daughter-in-law. I am truly blessed. But my mother is trying so hard to destroy any relationship I have with anyone. I had not seen my sister-in-law since 2000 because I was told she wanted nothing to do with me. My niece was born then and I told her about my father so that he would not have access to her.

    My mother is only 83. I never knew someone could hate me that much. But fortunately her poor little innocent me pose is wearing thin with some. I try so hard to forgive, but the person I can’t forgive is myself for letting her hurt me so much.

    But thank God I have my husband, sons, grandchildren and a daughter-in-law who loves me. I have my niece and sister-in-law back. I am truly blessed. The damage is done but with God’s help, I can endure.

    Hugs and prayers,
    Linda

  67. I to went thru the same situation. The worst thing is that he told the truth cause me and my brothers pressured him my mom didnt belive it she still with him and sometimes i feel lyk faking my death to see what her reaction would be like but i cant do it im still try to acceptd everything its just hard i guess time will help

  68. Erika, please DO NOT fake your death or even do anything drastic like making your death a reality. It hurts to have been betrayed by the two people you should trust most (your father for committing the act, and your mother for not believing and supporting you). All I can say is once it’s in the open, your father will be less likely to make you a victim again. That said, though, he may still attempt to sexually abuse someone else. He is definitely not to be trusted in that domain. The proof is that after I thought everything was safe because I had exposed him, years later, he did it to my niece for 4 years, starting when she was 8 years old. Don’t ever trust him to be alone with a child. I don’t believe sexual predators discriminate on age or gender. As for you, try to get some counselling to make some sense of all your emotions resulting from this. And do it as soon as possible. Don’t keep it bottled up inside because, otherwise, it will eat at you slowly and make you emotionally and physically very unhealthy. I suffered from panic attacks for many years, I had low self esteem and I was overly sensitive. I also suffer from depression and insomnia. All this because I didn’t deal with all this crap ASAP. It is possible to let yourself be happy despite what happened to you. Counselling can help you realize it and show you how to achieve it. I did some cognitive therapy starting last year, and it helped me get back up from the bottom of my emotional pit

Leave Comment