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#251679 - 09/29/08 12:20 AM Should I talk to, confront my mom?
Davesc Offline

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 67
Loc: NJ
I am new to this site. I have been talking to my wife of 34 yrs. about this issue. Her question to me was Why do you want to talk to her after all these years. Punishment , or healing? My brother used to "bother" me when I slept. We shared a room. I slept very sound. (maybe for my protection). One night my mother caught him "at" me. In the morning when I got up I met my mother in the hall as I was passing to the bathroom. She told me she had "caught him at me", Then she screamed at me "You are going to be sick" That was the only thing she said and never talked to me about it again. His attention went on from the time I was 7 till I was 17.
I never talked to her about this butI have talked to her about my brother being gay. He died when I was 19 and had caused my parents legal problems. That is what I learned and how I learned she knew he was gay. I thought it was a big secret. I think I was trying to talk to her about me but was afraid to make that step. That was two yrs. ago.
As it turned out my mother's prophecy was correct, it just took a while. I did get sick. After a lifetime of sexual addiction I tested Pos. 5 yrs ago. I am still dealing with the addiction , but have found that my CA may have been a big part of my problem. I'm rambling,
Should I confront her with what happened and why??? Help me out here please.

Thankful Wor Kirkridge Alumni Oct 2008

#251681 - 09/29/08 12:45 AM Re: Should I talk to, confront my mom? [Re: Davesc]
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States
Hi Dave.

You're god damned right you tell her. You tell her how little she did to help that little boy that you once were and the obvious effects it had in your life. Will it be easy? No. But from what I hear from you thus far is that she FAILED in her duties as a parent. And I will have little sympathy for whatever guilt she may feel after you disclose to her.

Part of recovery (for most guys anyway) is confrontation. In your case, I would strongly suggest that you confront her with the reality that you're now able, as a grown man, to properly articulate.

I may seem harsh, so let me elaborate a little bit about my (seemingly) strong feelings ok?

You see, it's not JUST the abuse itself that parents often fail to prevent or stop that pisses me off, it's that they, for whatever reasons, provide the ENVIRONMENT and LACK of proper lessons in personal boundaries and safety that thereby keeps a child from having the NECESSARY recourse to deal with it if it, in fact, happens.

In my case Dave, I didn't know what to do either. So while I was being violated all summer, I tried to talk about it with an older brother and his friend. The result? They laughed and made fun of me. So yeah, because of my parents awesome parenting skills, a 9yo boy was being laughed at for being sexually abused. I can only imagine how my life would have turned out had they not set me up for this. And I LET THEM HAVE IT in a letter that I wrote a couple years back, I would be happy to share it with you if you want to read it.

But, yeah, HELL yeah I would confront your mother about this.

#251690 - 09/29/08 01:05 AM Re: Should I talk to, confront my mom? [Re: Hauser]
Fissy Tsickens Offline

Registered: 09/24/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Bassett, Virginia
Hey, Dave.

I am a survivor of CSA, and was also a target for bullies. My parents were unaware. However, school personnel knew I was being tortured by other kids at school and didn't do a damn thing about it. Ex: In 7th grade, some kids trapped me in a phone booth, and would only open it to spit on me. One of my teachers walked past, saw me, made eye contact with me, then eyes forward and off she went down the hall. If I knew where that evil bitch was today, I'd confront the ever-loving snot out of her. My opinion: adults who allow child abuse are every bit as guilty as the perp. Adults need to be accountable for their actions. Again, just my opinion.



Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd...but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed...but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me

#251691 - 09/29/08 01:07 AM Re: Should I talk to, confront my mom? [Re: Hauser]
Davesc Offline

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 67
Loc: NJ
Yes I would like to read it Thanks, Dave

Thankful Wor Kirkridge Alumni Oct 2008

#251720 - 09/29/08 03:22 AM Re: Should I talk to, confront my mom? [Re: Davesc]
Davesc Offline

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 67
Loc: NJ
Thanks John, I think I need to do this. I have always run away, also bullied, I hope I don't run from this .

Thankful Wor Kirkridge Alumni Oct 2008

#251771 - 09/29/08 12:52 PM Re: Should I talk to, confront my mom? [Re: Davesc]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
Before confronting your mother, please read this:

Chapter 14

Disclosure and Confrontation

Disclosure is the act of telling someone about secret or private information. With victims and survivors of sexual abuse, it may occur immediately after the abuse or years later. Sometimes it is a planned or purposeful disclosure. Other times it is forced or accidental, or may come out in a therapy session where there was no intention to discuss it or any conscious recollection of the abuse. Disclosure may be made to a partner or spouse who is unaware of the abuse, a non-offending parent or relative, sibling, friend, teacher, or other person the survivor believes should know.

Confrontation is directed at the person who hurt you. It lets the person know that what he/she did is unacceptable and attempts to get the person to acknowledge that the abuse was his or her fault and responsibility. Confrontation is a serious step for the survivor and should be taken only with careful planning and support to avoid potentially damaging consequences.

The two acts, disclosure and confrontation, need to be well thought out to ensure success and reduce the possibility of additional trauma for the survivor. In most situations, a survivor who is considering a confrontation with his abusers should disclose the abuse to someone first. There are reasons why disclosure should precede confrontation – if confrontation is going to take place at all. In many cases, confrontation is not recommended (but more on that later).

Some may wonder whether disclosure or confrontation will have possible legal ramifications. Although most states, provinces and nations have statute of limitations laws defining how long after a crime is committed one can press criminal charges or sue in civil court, many laws are changing due to the widespread challenges from victims of abuse. Generally speaking, criminal charges are subject to shorter periods of time when such actions can take place, and civil lawsuits (for financial compensation rather than prison sentences) have a longer time frame to initiate litigation.

When the victim is still a child, reported abuse can result in criminal charges or involvement by child protective services (CPS) agencies. If legal issues are a consideration with your possible disclosure or confrontation, you can call your local district attorney or prosecutor’s office to find out what consequences may arise from such action. If you are unsure whether CPS will become involved if you are contemplating civil action, you can call an attorney who has experience in such matters to find out whether this may be a factor to consider.


As noted above, disclosure can be planned, forced, accidental or therapy-related. Forced disclosure occurs when the victim or survivor has no intention to disclose the abuse; it may come about if, for example, the perpetrator is arrested for another offense and confesses that he has also abused someone else who did not want to be identified as a victim. This may be the case when there are multiple victims, such as with abused siblings or where the perpetrator has abused several children and gives up the names of children who did not want to disclose the abuse. Some pedophiles have many victims and have been known to collect information and even “souvenirs” like articles of clothing or pictures of their victims. Although it does not happen very often, this kind of collection may bring to light a number of victims who had no intention of coming forward.

Accidental disclosure may also come about when a victim knows of others who were abused and names them to authorities. Sometimes the disclosure comes about when there is an investigation, such as at a school or church, and the authorities talk to others who were there at the time. A disclosure of this kind may likewise come about when a victim’s diary or journal is discovered; the abused boy may talk about the abuse, but not with any plans of disclosing. The problem may also be brought to light when someone suspects abuse after seeing the victim’s drawings or behaviors and raises his or her suspicions with a therapist or the authorities. It may also happen if someone walks in on the adult and child in a sexual situation and the child has no choice but to admit or report what happened. The same situation would arise when a parent or physician discovers physical signs, such as blood on a boy’s clothing or an injury caused by the abuse.

A semi-accidental disclosure might be the drunken confession of an adult survivor. A woman began seeing me because her younger brother, while intoxicated, tearfully told her that their uncle had molested him years ago. Later, when he was sober, he said that he never intended to tell her, and although he tried to portray the disclosure as “the alcohol talking”, it was now out in the open and she had to deal with her feelings and desire to comfort and take care of him as well as her upset with their uncle.

Therapy-related disclosure occurs when the person is in therapy for some problem other than sexual abuse. It may come out when the person is in treatment for depression, substance abuse, sexual problems, or some other issue. The person has no intention to disclose, but the therapist puts “two and two together” and asks the client if he was sexually abused.

However the abuse is disclosed, the information is now out there and it is up to the survivor to begin the process of healing or continue to avoid dealing with it.

Goals for Disclosure

The disclosure we are talking about here is the planned kind. In this disclosure, the survivor has decided that someone should know about the abuse, and he has certain goals for sharing the information. He should, in fact, have goals or reasons for disclosure before telling others. Some of the reasons expressed by survivors include:

VALIDATION – gaining acknowledgment and support from significant others. It may be helpful to the survivor’s healing to know someone believes him. This may also help elicit additional information not consciously known to the survivor, such as confirming that the perpetrator had also abused others in the family, or details that can confirm that the abuse memories are true.

EXPLANATION OF PAST OR PRESENT BEHAVIORS – giving others a better understanding of why the survivor may display sexual dysfunctions, trust issues, avoidance of certain family members, depression or seemingly irrational fears.

PROTECTING OTHERS – letting someone know that his/her children may not be safe around a particular person who abused the survivor years ago. Many survivors are willing to maintain the secret until there are vulnerable children who might be at risk by the abuser. Frequently a survivor will decide he needs to disclose when the person who abused him, a sibling, for example, has children. Or it might be an undisclosed abusive parent who would be babysitting for a sibling’s child.

DISCREDITING THE PERPETRATOR/REVENGE – getting back at the perpetrator (“You made me suffer, now it’s your turn”).

VENTILATION – just wanting to let it out and tell others because it breaks the secret and helps the survivor to deal with feelings of shame.

SUPPORT – disclosing the abuse in a therapy or support group, on a discussion forum or chat room may help the survivor develop a sense of community when his own family isn’t ready or able to hear about the abuse.

SYMPATHY – this is a little different than just explaining past behaviors. This is more of a “poor me” approach. It may also be a means of justifying the inability to do certain things. It may also be used to create an identity of being a victim. A person who indiscriminately tells everyone about his/her abuse may be disclosing to gain sympathy.

PREPARATION FOR A CONFRONTATION – is the planned act of disclosing to a key person or people who will be available to support the survivor in an eventual confrontation with the perpetrator.

There are other reasons, some positive and others possibly self-defeating, that survivors have for disclosing the abuse. Unless the disclosure is being done to protect children from an unrevealed perpetrator, the disclosure should be for the benefit of the survivor and not part of someone else’s agenda (and that includes therapists who insist that a survivor disclose or confront). The decision to disclose and whom to disclose to should be the survivor’s. It should not be the decision of the therapist, family or friends.

The act of disclosure may be liberating and supportive for the survivor, or it can have some negative consequences. Disclosure poses a serious dilemma where control is concerned. While the survivor keeps the secret, he has control of that information, but the price he pays for that control is often high. He has to live with the consequences of the abuse, and family and friends may have no clue that some of his behaviors or problems have their roots in the still-secret abuse. Disclosing, on the other hand, gives others that information, which is now no longer under the survivor’s control. However, in weighing the reasons for disclosing or maintaining the secret, it is most often in the survivor’s interest to disclose; the trick is how to do so successfully.

Disclosure is usually most successful when the survivor has good reasons to tell someone and has planned his disclosure with these reasons in mind. For example, a survivor who wants to announce to the family at Grandmother’s 90th birthday party that Uncle Bill abused him 30 years ago may have good intentions, but the timing might be ill-considered.

A man I know told me he planned to expose his uncle who had abused him for many years at the uncle’s retirement dinner. His uncle was retiring as the chief of police in a small Midwestern community, and the survivor toyed with the idea of standing up in front of dozens of the chief’s friends and relatives to humiliate this ostensibly upstanding member of the community. While the thoughts of revenge played well in his mind, I pointed out to him that whether or not anyone believed him, should he go through with his plan most people would likely criticize him for exposing his uncle in this setting at this time. He gave it some thought and abandoned this idea, and instead considered other ways to confront his uncle that would not be seen as negative as his original proposal.

WHO you tell, WHAT you say, WHERE and WHEN you say it, HOW you bring it up as well as WHY you are disclosing, are all important considerations to this decision.

Some survivors have considered disclosing to a significant other for many years. Others may have not given it much thought, but apparently just blurted it out. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of disclosing before you do it. It is not recommended to disclose while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although many people find they cannot say emotionally charged things without a little help from substances, doing it under the influence can undermine your efforts or result in you saying things you did not intend to say. But by looking at who, what, where, when, how, and why, a survivor can lay the foundations for a purposeful disclosure that can give him a greater chance of success.

WHO do you want to know? Select a person who is most likely to believe and support you, even if the most important person you want to tell will have to wait. For example, if you need to tell your mother that your father abused you but you’re unsure of her reaction, disclosing to a partner, friend or other relative may provide you with support before addressing the issue with Mom.

WHAT you decide to disclose can be a difficult area for survivors. Should you keep the information to a minimum, should you give them all the gory details? Should you tell them the identity of the abuser and all the factors involved in the grooming process (if there was one), and how long it went on? One survivor wrote: “I decided I had to tell them who the abuser was. If I hadn't, that would have condemned them to wondering all the rest of their lives, and that would have been cruel and unfair I think.” He added, “As to what happened, that felt very embarrassing but it seemed unsatisfying – almost like letting the abuser off the hook – to decline to give some idea of what had happened to me. I didn't want my parents thinking he had just felt me up once or twice at Scout meetings. What I eventually decided on was to say that what happened included ‘everything you could imagine and some things you couldn't’.”

What you tell them can be difficult, with either too much information or not enough. For some people, insufficient information may lead to speculation that the worst possible abuses occurred, and for others, too much information can put terrible images in the listener’s mind for years to come. Generally, it might be best to ask whether the person you are disclosing to wants graphic information (if you are willing to share that) or just the basic details.

WHERE you disclose is important. As a general rule, private places are better than public places, but if you fear a negative or perhaps threatening reaction to the disclosure, a public place, such as a restaurant, may give you more safety. In general, it is better to be on turf that you are more comfortable or familiar with (your therapist’s office, for example).

One consideration may be that where you choose to disclose the abuse could be forever linked to the disclosure. A survivor noted that he at first had in mind to disclose to his parents around their kitchen table, where many significant conversations and family discussions had taken place in his childhood. But he was concerned that the kitchen table would now become, for his parents, the place where he disclosed his sexual abuse to them. Not wishing to redefine this very special family symbol, he decided to disclose at the office of a local therapist instead when he visited with them.

WHEN you choose to disclose is a consideration. You will want the person’s full attention and time to process the news. Telling someone who is going out the door to work is probably not a good idea, for example, and late at night may not be the best time to disclose. If you do not have nearby contact with the person you plan to disclose to, you may want to factor in some post-disclosure time. For example, suppose you are visiting your parents, who live hundreds or thousands of miles away. Telling them about the abuse on the last day of your visit might deprive them of face-to-face time that they will need to process their reaction and share their feelings with you in person.

WHY is about identifying your goal(s) for disclosing. It is also about why you are disclosing to this particular person, and “why now?” Sometimes disclosure can be made to multiple people. When a celebrity discloses his/her childhood abuse in the media, it may be to focus attention on the problem of sexual abuse and bring it to the public’s notice. Since you are probably not a celebrity, if you are considering widespread or multiple disclosures you might want to consult with several other people as to the pros and cons of this approach.

HOW to tell may be face-to-face, over the phone or in a letter. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Many people feel that breaking serious news needs to be done face-to-face. However, in some situations, particularly where there might be a negative reaction or the person could divert you from the direction you are trying to go, a phone call or letter may be better. The letter may be the best choice in cases where the survivor has difficulty expressing himself with words while feeling pressure, or the person he is telling has a tendency to interrupt or side-track the conversation.

If you choose to disclose in a phone call, writing out what you plan to say before you make the call is generally preferred to speaking off the top of your head. If you want to go with a>
Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#251785 - 09/29/08 01:48 PM Re: Should I talk to, confront my mom? [Re: Ken Singer, LCSW]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

I'll just stress the importance of having clear goals when you speak to your mother. Try to bethinking of that you need and what you want. You may not get all that, and in fact you may get none of it, and that's something to be considered too. How will you be affected if it all goes pear-shaped.

All of this is laid out in Ken's chapter above. It's an important read!

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)


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