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#335937 - 07/13/10 04:09 PM Parents looking the other way? Extreme denial?
Gongas Offline

Registered: 03/23/09
Posts: 21
Loc: Europe
Some time ago my brother in law opened up with me about being sexually abused by his older brother (NOT my husband) since he was about 7.
Older brother was approximately 9 years older and apparently the abuse went on for years until it became an incestuous, homosexual (and relatively "consensual") relationship that went on until a few months after older brother married (he must have been 30 by then and younger brother in law must have been 21 or something).
Younger brother in law told me his parents (my parents in law) never said a word. I asked him did they know? He said, he does not know but even if they had known they'd pretend not to see.

Like some form of extreme denial.
How can relatively healthy parents in a relatively healthy environment not see what was going on under their very nose??? And if they ever noticed anything, how on earth could they pretend they did not know??
Is this common in your experience?

#335955 - 07/13/10 07:40 PM Re: Parents looking the other way? Extreme denial? [Re: Gongas]
324 Offline

Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 2
Loc: Ma
I can only speak from my own experience:

I don't think my mother knew what was going on at the time when I was growing up and being abused my older sibling; However, I think she eventually figured it out years later - and chooses to be in denial about anything ever happening. False happy memories are easier than shame and guilt for some, I suppose.

#335961 - 07/13/10 08:53 PM Re: Parents looking the other way? Extreme denial? [Re: 324]
kidneythis Offline

Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 1558
There are a lot of factors that might be part of this.

They might be from abusive backgrounds and worked so hard to get away and hid it so well they chose at some level to pretend it didn't happen thinking that if everything else was normal the kids would be alright.
A lot of people think this way, it was the way of things from the early twentieth century and maybe longer until the mid eighties when these things finally broke out of the national closet and began getting proper consideration. The removal of unjust shame from the thing was a big part of this.

It's really tragic what he went through, I am sorry to hear it. If he wants help or even if he doesn't, please direct him here.

As Mark Twain once quipped, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

#335988 - 07/14/10 08:43 AM Re: Parents looking the other way? Extreme denial? [Re: kidneythis]
jhp Offline

Registered: 06/28/10
Posts: 15
Loc: South Africa
Sadly it is common. At the least, it's hard for parents to admit that they failed to meet even the most basic parental standard - to keep their children physically safe. At some point this denial becomes blame-worthy and enables the abuse to continue

#335994 - 07/14/10 11:18 AM Re: Parents looking the other way? Extreme denial? [Re: jhp]
BuryingJack Offline

Registered: 04/02/10
Posts: 101
I told my mom that grandpa exposed himself to me. She quickly changed the subject. Then, years later when I was interrogated by police about him molesting an aunt of mine, 30 years earlier, I broke down and started crying. My parents found out - but accepted what I said and labeled it a "close call" for years. They never really wanted to know. They avoided the truth because the truth hurt them too much. It wasn't intentional in their case, but it was equally as destructive. I hope this helps. I hope you keep talking to him.


#336008 - 07/14/10 02:04 PM Re: Parents looking the other way? Extreme denial? [Re: BuryingJack]
Gongas Offline

Registered: 03/23/09
Posts: 21
Loc: Europe
You know, I almost felt "honoured" that he opened up to me.
I witnessed something very disturbing some time ago. He and his older brother (perpetrator) got in an argument; I mean physically; we are talking about 40ish and 50ish year olds ... Anyway the fight was so disturbing and so terribly violent ... I was terribly worried that they really could hurt each other and all the time I did not know what it was all about. In hindsight, that fight was when younger brother in law blurted out to the perpetrator that he had distroyed, literally fu...ed up his life, had ruined his life forever.
To make a long story short, after the fight (we did not know what was going on), younger brother in law went to his room and the perpetrator went after him to talk. I did not know what they said to each other but when the perpetrator came back he was crying and he looked terrible. I thought he was devastated and wondered what was going on.
When I saw my older brother in law crying I looked around and noticed that my mother in law was neither looking at him nor asking anything nor saying anything. She just sat there pretending nothing was amiss !! I think now that she might have known all along and just didn't "want" to know. To tell you the truth, it gave me the chills to see how coldly and indifferently she reacted.
Pretty disgusting.

#336009 - 07/14/10 02:12 PM Re: Parents looking the other way? Extreme denial? [Re: Gongas]
sono Offline

Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 1069
Originally Posted By: Gongas
To tell you the truth, it gave me the chills to see how coldly and indifferently she reacted.
Pretty disgusting.

Welcome to our world, Gongas.

I hope your brother in law finds peace.


the family
the perp

#336024 - 07/14/10 03:39 PM Re: Parents looking the other way? Extreme denial? [Re: sono]
TJ jeff Offline

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 3594
Loc: Northern Wisconsin
sadly denial is indeed a very deep river for some people...

when I confronted my mother a few years back my father also read the letter - sadly he decided to believe my mothers lies instead of believing me - it really hurt for a long time - for him... believing me would have completely torn down the walls of the illusion of a happy family that he had built in his mind over the many years I was growing up - those walls are strong indeed - I still hav'nt managed to break them - though there may be a few chips showing...

Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

#336100 - 07/15/10 04:11 PM Re: Parents looking the other way? Extreme denial? [Re: TJ jeff]
KingFred Offline

Registered: 04/23/10
Posts: 57
Loc: West Coast, USA
My mother said she was 99% sure it was happening/it happened with one of my brothers and I. That 1% was because we didn't actually say it was happening. But the thing is, my brother and I were groomed by this pos and didnt know about good touch/bad touch till we were in our teens. And...oh I'm so ashamed to say this...although it was bad attention, I was glad of a parent paying attention to me (mom and step-dad never paid attention to my siblings, text-book case of neglect).
My step-dad told me he thought I was just a brat and my bro was just a violent kid. But he said, once we came out about the abuse, alot of things fell into place and it just never occured to him that it was happening.

Not particularly a fan of hugs. High fives and well wishes are always appreciated though.


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