Posts Tagged ‘relationship with abuser’

I have made an observation about myself that I don’t quite understand. I have cut two important women out of my life. The first one is momster, who made my childhood a living hell and who is directly responsible for numerous abusers having access to me. Why I would want to cut her out of my life seems pretty obvious.

The second woman I have cut out of my life is the friend I blogged about here. She was a good friend for the most part for nine years, and she was there for me during the early years of healing. In fact, she was the first person I had the courage to embrace deep in my heart as a friend. That friendship ended because I outgrew her. I needed to “stay sick” for the friendship to work. I couldn’t stay “sick,” and she could not endure me “well,” so that friendship is over.

The friend brought much more of value to my life, but I have absolutely no desire to have any contact with her. I wouldn’t even consider sending her a Christmas card, not because I wish her ill but because I think it would be cruel to send her mixed messages. I am out of that friendship and don’t want back in. That bond is severed. Period.

Then, we have momster, who brought very little good to my life and mountains of pain, and I felt compelled to send her a Christmas card?? Why??

Why is it so clear that the friend needs to be removed from my life 100% but that momster does not? Why is it so easy to see that sending the friend mixed messages would be cruel, but I view the same act as a kindness if I do it to momster?

I truly don’t understand this about myself. Am I being influenced by society, which says that a mother’s love is forever? Am I feeling “guilted” into this by my religion? Is there a part of myself who still holds out hope that momster will change? (I truly do not think this is even possible.)

Why do I still feel a pull toward momster but not toward the friend when the friend was better for me than momster ever was?

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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On my blog entry entitled So F@#$ing Angry at Mother/Abuser, a reader asked me the following question:

I have to ask, Faith, as this is honestly that only got my mother, one of my sexual abusers as well, to leave me the EFF alone as well…

when you have written her, have you given her specific details of your memories? Have you ever directly called her what she is and relayed memories back to her? For me/us (me and my insiders) doing this pulled the covers back off our mother in such a way that she was so ashamed she never even tried to refute it–

She tried getting family members to contact me, but i continued sending her the same letter, and adding new memories to it. Guess what? In our case, the truth, the UGLY, BLUNT, DIRECT, no longer beating around the bush truth let us free. ~ Journal of Healing

The short answer is no.

When I was in therapy, my therapist and I discussed whether or not I should confront her. His advice was that, due to her mental illness (he strongly believes she has schizophrenia, and I agree – She has never sought a diagnosis because she thinks “hearing G*d’s voice” audibly is “normal”), a confrontation is not going to meet any of the needs I would hope to get out of it. He believes she truly does not consciously remember the abuse and, if confronted with it, the truth could cause her to have a psychotic breakdown.

When deciding whether or not to confront an abuser, I think the child abuse survivor needs to put some thought into what you hope to get out of the confrontation and then objectively determine whether that outcome is likely. If it is not, I don’t see the point of putting myself through the emotions of a confrontation when what I hope to gain from it won’t happen.

I have no desire to have her “get crazier.” I also have no desire to put more of a burden on my sister, who as the only child still in contact with our mother/abuser feels responsible for picking up the pieces. My sister would be the one dealing with the psychotic woman, and I don’t want to do that to my sister.

And then, at the end of the day, what would I have gained from setting off the chain of events to cause this much damage? Very little. I don’t see my mother taking responsibility and apologizing – I see her falling deeper into her insanity, which could cause her to continue to send me letters but of a more insane variety. If she has a psychotic break, she will become even more unpredictable, as she did when my father passed away suddenly in high school.

I see too many negatives and too few positives coming out of a confrontation, which is why I don’t do it. Thanks for asking the question, though. I periodically have to remind myself why I have made this choice. I still think it is the best choice in my situation.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I was blown away by the number of responses I received to my blog entry entitled Letter to Mother Messing with My Head after Mother-Daughter Sexual Abuse. The timing is doubly interesting because her birthday is coming up. I had not even thought about her birthday until I flipped the calendar and saw the notation.

I found this comment to be particularly insightful:

The child inside knows the truth in its pure and elemental form and will react when she is not honored and protected. I can’t imagine still having contact with the actual abuser and making any allowances for the feelings of such a person. The poor child. That must be a real misery. I hope you feel better soon. I wonder where the mandate to coddle this abuser is coming from. ~ Ethereal Highway

I have been thinking about this question ever since I read this comment – Where does the mandate to coddle this abuser come from? I guess it comes from several places.

The first place is from my religion. I have been a Christian since I was eight years old and, ironically, my mother/abuser is the one who introduced me to the faith. I wrestled deeply with the mandate to “Honor thy father and mother” when I started therapy. How could I possibly “honor” my abuser? Why would I even want to?

My therapist and I worked through my conflict, settling upon me “honoring” while staying true to myself by limiting contact. At the time, this was a huge step forward.

Another place comes from a lifetime of conditioning. My mother/abuser is a child in an adult’s body. She has a (slow) child’s intelligence, and she is irresponsible. As a child, I was given the responsibility of taking care of her. For example, my father would yell at me, not her, for the unkempt house. I would make my own meals because she typically failed to cook us anything for dinner. In many ways, I had to parent myself along with her when I was just a kid.

I think another issue I wrestle with is my mother/abuser being different from your typical abuser. Most of my abusers were mean, cold, calculated, and manipulative. Why in the world would I care about their feelings at all?

My mother is pathetic. She is lost and alone. The best description I have heard of her is that she looks like she knows exactly what she is doing; she just doesn’t know where she is. She is very much a child in a lot of ways, and I guess it is hard for me to reconcile this about her with the terrible things she did to me, not to mention her handing me over to truly evil and abusive people.

I guess, when it comes right down to it, I don’t see her as evil, whereas I do see my other abusers that way. My therapist warned me many, many times to stay out of my abusers’ heads. When it comes right down to it, they all abused me. However, for some reason, I have trouble putting her on the same level as the others.

But then the child in me hates her more than the others, and I guess that is the crux of my internal conflict. I hate her, pity her, feel sorry for her, and feel the need to coddle her all at the same time.

And here I thought I had cut my emotional ties to her. D@#$, I hate it when I realize that I have a whole deeper layer of crap to work through.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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