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#254996 - 10/14/08 01:09 AM Should I Disclose To My Parents?
Zardoz Offline

Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Central Texas
I would like the group’s input on a question. I was sexually abused when I was 6 to 9 years old by an older boy (12 or 13 years old?) who was the son of my parents’ best friends. I have only recently been dealing with all the issues including recalling memories and the details. It is my understanding that the boy who abused me is dead (supposedly committed suicide about 10 years ago).

My parents are the only people left who have any knowledge about the abuser and the times surrounding my abuse. The abuse started when my parents left town and I was staying at their friends’ house. I really have a lot of questions I want to ask to help me fill in the gaps.

What experience has anyone had with this or a similar issue - good or bad?

Any inputs would be greatly appreciated.



Edited by Zardoz (10/14/08 02:44 AM)

#255004 - 10/14/08 01:27 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Elderly Parents? [Re: Zardoz]
joelRT Offline

Registered: 09/11/08
Posts: 1357
Loc: Québec, Canada
Zardoz, if it was me and was you, I'd leave my parents out of this. As a grown adult, your history of abuse as well as it's resolution belong to you alone inspite of whatever details your parents may be able to provide.

You state that they played no part whatever in the abuse that you suffered so why would you involve them now?

I'm sorry, Zardoz, I'm sure that this is not the answer you were looking for, but in my opinion to share with your parents at this late date in your history is an idea that will only lead to pain for them and disappointment for you.

You are an adult and as such you do not have to provide anyone with an explanation for your past behaviour. If that behaviour has caused someone harm, then certainly you have a responsabillity, born of common decency, to explain yourself, to apologize and to ask for forgiveness.

That being said, you are not beholden to reveal intimate details of your history by way of seeking exonoration.

Edited by joelRT (10/14/08 01:28 AM)
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#255018 - 10/14/08 02:46 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Elderly Parents? [Re: joelRT]
Zardoz Offline

Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Central Texas

Thank you for the response and advice. You make some excellent points well worth considering. I edited my post to make the question simpler and not clouded by my internal debate. Thanks again.


Edited by Zardoz (10/14/08 02:47 AM)

#255021 - 10/14/08 03:04 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Elderly Parents? [Re: joelRT]
michael banks Offline

Registered: 06/12/08
Posts: 1755
Loc: Mojave Desert, Ca

From what you wrote your parents already know of the abuse.
You just haven't discussed it with them.
I bet that they have a pretty good idea of why you have acted the you have in the past.
In my view I think you should be able to discuss anything and everything with family members if they are willing.
I would ask to see if they are willing to talk about this issue with you.
I would suggest that you tell your story in a general matter and not get too specific in detail.
I think you might be surprised how supportive that they will be and you can use all the support you can find on your path of recovery.
But in the end you know what is best in your situation and the decision is yours.

Welcome to M/S and I wish you the best on your journey.


To own one's shadow is the highest moral act of a human.
-Robert Johnson-

"IT ought never be forgotten that the past is the parent of the future" John C. Calhoun

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#255023 - 10/14/08 03:24 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Elderly Parents? [Re: michael banks]
Davesc Offline

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 67
Loc: NJ
if your parents know, then there is no issue about talking to them. Ask away , why not. BUT if they are clueless you will have to be very careful if you do not want a million questions or do not want to make them feel guilty or afraid for you. In my life, I needed to ask my mother questions about my brother (perp) who is dead. I did not want her to know what I was going through but I wanted answers about some things in my life Time lines, etc. How old was I when we ??? It worked for me. She had no clue . Just thought I was reminiscing. Oh what fun times !!!!!

Thankful Wor Kirkridge Alumni Oct 2008

#255031 - 10/14/08 03:59 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Elderly Parents? [Re: Davesc]
Ken Followell Offline
Past President

Registered: 12/30/01
Posts: 992
Loc: Bradenton, FL
I told my parents about the abuse because for me, not keeping it secret any longer was important. That is not true for everyone. I am very public about being a survivor.

That said, telling my parents was not easy and although they werre not the abusers, it was hard fro them because the the guilt it caused them. Overall it was not a "satisfying" experience, but I still would have told them. I am a survivor of abuse and most people who are anything more than just a casual acquaintance know that.

Just be clear on why you are disclosing and what you hope to get from it. Your parents may not be able to provide it.

Ken Followell

Everything works out right in the end. If things are not working right, it isn't the end yet. Don't let it bother you, relax and keep on goin
- Michael C. Muhammad

"I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile, I keep dancing."
� Rabbi Hillel

#255034 - 10/14/08 04:15 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Elderly Parents? [Re: Davesc]
G5 Offline

Registered: 01/12/04
Posts: 204
Loc: New Jersey

I had a very similar situation....ages, neighbor, mom's friend, etc. I was hesitant about bringing up the topic with my Mom, but it was something I needed to do. I don't quite agree with Joel in this manner. Part of the process for me was to reveal my pain and suffering to those who care for and love me. I needed them to understand why I was suicidal, depressed, angry, even if it upset them. I expected total denial from my Mom and to have the topic brushed aside as nonsense. To my surprise, just the opposite happened. Concern and a few questions came and since then I've been able to put the blaming for lack of protection I had toward my parents aside and create a whole new relationship with my Mom and siblings. Talking about it opened up a whole new look on life within the family for me. This in a family that never talked about any personal issues, or anything for that manner.

This may be different for you. You'll have to decide what's needed for yourself and consider the possible outcomes of the discussion. Sure you could start some trouble, but could it have a positive outcome for all of you? Depends on how you approach it and what you expect as a conclusion. Sure the parents could blow you off and deny that anything happened. Are you prepared for that possibility? They could get angry and life could be hell. This is possible. Are you miserable with these questions you have? Then maybe taking the chance and asking could help you in the long run. These are things I had to consider and maybe you will also have to do. You may also need to change your time frame to accommodate others and to prepare yourself. Anythings possible, but only you can decide.

Kenf makes some good points also....

Good luck.


Edited by G5 (10/14/08 04:19 AM)
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#255040 - 10/14/08 04:54 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Parents? [Re: Zardoz]
pufferfish Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Zardoz
I was sexually abused when I was 6 to 9 years old by an older boy (12 or 13 years old?) who was the son of my parents’ best friends. I have only recently been dealing with all the issues including recalling memories and the details. It is my understanding that the boy who abused me is dead (supposedly committed suicide about 10 years ago).

My parents are the only people left who have any knowledge about the abuser and the times surrounding my abuse.


What an interesting name, and your inquiry is interesting to me. In fact, I could use exactly the same words to describe abuse I experienced at the same ages. However, I experienced abuse from other perps additionally in other ages.

In addressing your question, I am wondering how old you are now, and how old are your parents. Did you go through a time of repressing the memory of the abuse, as most of us did? Did the abuse go on and on like daily over those years, or was it a few times a year? All of these things would influence the course of action you should take. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be difficult but I'm just trying to point out all of the factors in your decision. Do you have anybody to talk it over with in person, like a counselor?

I can understand why it would seem vital to talk to your parents about this, since they knew the family and might remember the boy abuser from an adult perspective. You also sense that it would be difficult for them or else you wouldn't be asking the question as you did.

Most of the guys I know about here find it very difficult to share with parents. It is often one of the last steps in recovery. It can be quite shocking to them and it requires a complete adjustment of their memory of you and who they assumed you were. They may feel very guilty, as someone already mentioned. Sometimes parents can even be angry or rejecting, depending on who they are and what their mental construct is. I of course don't know them and what their attitudes might be. I would need to know more about them and about you.

If you do decide to share with your parents, you need to have a well devised strategy, including thinking about even the words you would use and how you might answer their questions.

If one of your main goals is to obtain information about your abuser, you have some options like checking school records. If he abused others, there might be some court records. There might even be some old newspaper articles in the archives of the local newspaper where you lived at the time. I've had tremendous curiosity about my abusers and information has been hard to get.

I hope this has helped a little bit. Feel free to ask additional questions if you wish.



#255047 - 10/14/08 05:40 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Parents? [Re: pufferfish]
blueshift Offline

Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 1242
Loc: infinity
I don't know your parents and I feel that a decision to disclose to a person should be based on the benefits of disclosure outweighing the emotional price paid by those who are disclosed to, which can in turn cause an emotional price to be paid by the one disclosing as well.

But to really make that analysis one needs to know the person in question well enough to make a pretty good guess about how they would be likely to react to such a disclosure.

I told my mother about my CSA but I could tell that she was deeply hurt by it because she loved me and felt as though she had failed to protect me. I wished I had not told her. I too hoped to get more info from her about my abuser---she remembered him, but there was nothing really gained by telling her. When I later got raped again as an adult a few years ago, I decided I would not disclose it to any of my family because of the pain it would cause them.

My Story
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#255286 - 10/15/08 03:36 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Parents? [Re: blueshift]
Zardoz Offline

Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 5
Loc: Central Texas
I really appreciate everyone's inputs. Several questions raised in the above posts need to have clear answers from me. Thanks everyone. Anymore inputs out there?


#255295 - 10/15/08 04:14 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Parents? [Re: Zardoz]

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 983
My experence has ben that . When I talked to my father about 5 years ago . He started crying . This is the only tome that I have ever seen him cry . I Wish that I could take back that Moulment. Because it broke my heart .




"All I can do is be me, whoever that is"

#255330 - 10/15/08 07:01 AM Re: Should I Disclose To My Parents? [Re: Zardoz]
frost Offline

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 1377
Loc: Eh?

I think it's fantastic that you are exploring this topic. "Letting the cat out of the bag" is something you can only do once with your folks and its something that may or may not be really important to you.

My feeling is the very fact that you are exploring the subject of disclosure is because you have some form of internal yearning to let them know.

The guys who wrote in before me had great points and lots to ponder. I wanted to point out a few resources and say a couple things from my own recovery journey.

First of all, there is a document written by Ken Singer on the site...
Disclosure and Confrontation: Considerations for Survivors

I, too, was abused by a peer and what happened for me is it created a huge wall between my parents and I. Abusers tend to use isolation techniques to keep us from telling their secret... So I wonder too if this has happened in your life.

My relationship with my parents since the abuse has been courteous but certainly not deep or profound by any stretch. I actually spent most of my life in fear of what would happen if my parents found out about the abuse and what that would mean for me.

I wrote a letter to my parents and delivered it in August 2007. This was the first they knew of the abuse. Since then, my relationship with my parents has been similarly distant and surface, but they are doing their best to be supportive in the ways that they can. This has been both disappointing for me [as I admittedly had hoped for a closer relationship with them], and really good in that they have expressed their love for me more often and like I said, have offered to support me however they can which, at present, manifests as helping me with part of my therapy bills.

I'm going to give you the same suggestion that started the ball rolling for me: Write a letter to your parents that you do NOT intend to send to them. Just cause you write a letter, doesn't mean you have to send it! I suspect writing out that letter will tell you a LOT about where you're going with this.

Each of our circumstances is significantly different so only you know what pieces of the puzzle you're working with. I hope Ken Singers' article and letter writing will help you sort out where you stand on this.

I might also recommend a chapter of Mike Lew's "Victims No Longer" is also dedicated to confrontation and things to ponder.

If you have any questions for me, feel free to shoot me a Private Message. I still have the letter that I delivered to my parents saved as well if interested.

All the best to you,


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