Crazymaking- My mother says she didn’t know

As some of you are aware, I finally wrote to my mother to ask about the abuse. I wanted to hear her side of the story. Well she replied saying that she didn’t know that my father had sexually abused me when I was five. She insists that she didn’t know and said that how could she have known and not done anything to help me.

I am naive I think, because I was not expecting such a response. I expected a flat denial of it…. maybe accusations that I was a liar but nothing like what she is saying. She says she is sorry, she is a bad mother and feels like dying and that she and my dad do not have long to go on this earth. My first reaction was to think that maybe I am crazy? Did I make all this up? All these bad feelings? Did I imagine it? My next reaction was to feel sorry for her. Oh poor mum look what I am putting her through. What if she gets depressed? She is so fragile and unhappy already? Maybe I abused myself and am blaming my father? My memories are so fragmented and maybe I am demented?

I was pulled in to it all and felt scared and small again. It felt very familiar. Where have I felt this before? Ahhh yes, it was just like the crazymaking I experienced with my husband (very soon to be ex). It would always end up being about him, how he was suffering and how I was causing his migraines and his head to be ‘not right’. Hang on here, who is the real victim? In all the crazymaking yesterday, I felt the pull to look after her. I forgot that I was the one who has suffered immeasurably from all of this.

She was interested to know who I had told and she mentioned that we need to ‘fix this’. Like ‘this’ is something that can be fixed. 33years of living with this dark secret that has poisoned everything. Even though I said I didn’t want anything to do with my father, she was insisting yesterday that I should talk to him. How could I want to talk to the man who violated me? She had no understanding of the fear I have. She didn’t ask for any details of the actual abuse and she didn’t express any anger towards her husband. If she genuinely didn’t know, then wouldn’t your first reaction as a mother be disgust and anger towards your partner. No, not my mother. She was willing to get him involved and fix it all somehow.

She is saying forgive me but she is also saying she didn’t know about it and that she is not lying.

I cried most of yesterday and I still feel very emotional today. I realiZe the very hard and painful way that my mother will NEVER be the woman I want her to be and that she failed to protect me once and will continue not to stand up for me. I have learnt the painful truth that the internal mother that I am attempting to grow is far more supportive and loving.

I have drawn a firm line for myself and set a boundary with her. I have told her that if she is not willing to ‘remember’ then we cannot have an honest relationship and that I would prefer it if she gave me some space. She is more of a burden to me at this time and will detract from looking after myself. I need so badly to look after myself and take care of me. I am my protector and I stand up for me. Sometimes we have to let go of the people who pull us down with them… even when they are mothers and fathers. I am sad but remain true to myself. I have come too far to let down that little girl that hurt so badly!

My light shines too bright; the light of my truth blinds some and makes others run and take cover. It’s a lonely path; this walk of truth. Let the guilty go mad, I am safe in my truth. It burns its way through the darkness, through ignorance and family loyalties. It cuts its way through the taboos of our society. I stand firm and strong in the belief that I am on the right side, that their words of crazymaking and guilt-making will bounce off me. I am used to not being protected. Nobody has ever stood up for me. I have been pulled down by a sense of misplaced responsibility and shrouded by shame. They are not ready for me. My flame burns too wildly and fiercely for them.


18 thoughts on “Crazymaking- My mother says she didn’t know

  1. Unfortunately, a far too common response when confronted about abuse. In my mind, I cannot believe that anyone could be so blissfully unaware of something so horrific happening in the midst of your own family. Anyone who makes such a claim is repressing or in denial. And for anyone to make excuses for the abuser makes me so angry. I have dealt with these attitudes from far too many people in my own family, and it enrages me when I see it repeated elsewhere in other cases of abuse.

    I think you made the right choice though, refusing to accept that as an answer. This is not something she can sweep under the rug and ‘fix’. You are a damned strong person to have made that stand.

    I wish you continued strength and healing. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    • I am sorry that you have dealt with this too. I think you may be right, she may have repressed it so far that she believes it didn’t happen. In fact, I hid it from myself for so long. But yes there is no way she didn’t know. I was five and I have a specific memory (one of only a few) where she was cleaning my vaginal area and I had these unexplainable sores. Where did they come from? Thank you for your support.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are amazingly strong, another blog I relate so strongly to. You truly inspire me. I need to remain strong in my own resolve and reading this bolsters me. I’m sorry that you had to go through that sadness, I have been there, similar but different. Either way I understand the feeling. Mother’s day was tough for me, I wanted to reach out to my mom, but I need to be stronger than that urge because it’s so toxic for me.

    May your flame continue to grow ever brighter, you are a beacon to those like me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for your beautiful words.

      I know exactly what you mean by toxic. It is the hardest thing to do and it goes against so many things we are culturally and socially raised to believe, but alas we have to put ourselves first! I am proud of you, you felt the urge, but you acknowledged how harmful it would be to reach out to her. Well done! that takes strength and resolve.
      Thank you for your continued support and encouragement, You are a beacon of strength to me too!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Your last few posts about this have really struck a chord with me. so many similarities, and again, in this post- that odd response that you just weren’t expecting. It is crazymaking and trying to make it all about her/them again, trying to make you doubt yourself and back down. Ah but how they underestimate us! We are too strong for that now & their little tricks won’t work anymore! But it is sad too, so sad when you finally realise that your mother doesn’t seem to be who you thought she was. I am there too, & it hurts, and I am so grateful for the blogging world to help me feel less alone with this awful stuff. You have told your truth & that was right for you, whatever your mother’s response. ♡

    Liked by 5 people

    • I am sorry that you have suffered from this too but thankful to you that I feel less alone. So many similar stories and so many brave warrior survivors out there like you and me breaking all the taboos! Yes I have told my truth, it is sad but it will help me along in my journey!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Good work.
    It took me far too long to connect all the parts to the ‘light’ within. Once I did that gnawing, piercing, want to run away from loneliness…dissipated. Perhaps you’ve already connected. I hope so. I am glad you can allow tears to wash the very deep sadness, but am sorry you have to.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I want to add WOW.
      Also that I didn’t really connect to my own inner light (or begin to learn to) until my mother’s light was extinguished. She was a very strong spirit. I could feel her feelings before my own in part due to her training me to but also because I was too splintered to know my own light.
      She made everything about her. While waiting to go the hospital because my water broke, sitting on the couch terrified of the excruciating contractions, I listened to my husband out in the kitchen comforting her because she was worried about me. (as I sat alone)
      She did make mistakes and continued making them. She also faced great hardships because of them. Such is love. I loved her anyway. It’s just interesting that a large part of my growth has been after her death.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I can relate to that; I also have always felt responsible for my mother, it was my duty to look after her, that I had to make her feel happy and was responsible for her sadness.
        Although she is a quiet woman. I wouldn’t describe her as a ‘strong spirit’ like your mum, but she had that strong hold on me.

        I think because she is so self-effacing she invites that victimhood status.

        I felt sad when I read that while you needed the attention she was being looked after for feeling worried. Whenever my mother has said “I’m worried about you” it feels like it’s more about her than me.

        But like you I love my mother despite all of it. I am glad that you were able to make peace with it all and integrate all the parts, even if it was after she died. The timing is part of the unique process for each of us.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I know that ‘gnawing’ all too well. It is definitely there this week. I am trying to be with it and not be overwhelmed by it. The little girl that is afraid and feels that she is a bad daughter and will be punished is also there.

      I hope that I can stay connected with it all, acknowledging all the parts and still loving me and looking after me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope so too. You have a lot of on line friends that I know are here for you, cheering you on, and I am grateful and honored to be one of them. Sometimes the path we walk is so much harder, yet the journey and destination so much sweeter. It may not seem so now as you are pushing walls with your shoulder, but you’ll get there.
        Would your brother be any source of support during this time? Or the opposite.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am so grateful for the outpouring of support. It maybe online but it feels like a warm circle of strong warrior women who have been there and understand. And the warmth of the flame from your haiku keeps me from feeling alone. Yes I did think about emailing him to tell him about my mother’s reaction. I think he should know.


      • I did in fact email my brother and his response was not very warm. It was quite cold and formal.He is a religious man and told me to trust in God. I was a bit disappointed but am ok about it. The warm responses I have received far outweigh his response.


  5. My mother also said she didn’t know about the abuse. For a life time I’ve felt the crazy making – family telling me I’m crazy which is easier than them having to look at the truth. It was easier for them to call me dirty and evil than to open their eyes and see what was happening.
    My heart goes out to you, sending warm fuzzies your way.

    Liked by 2 people

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