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#428379 - 03/18/13 09:40 PM Talking to family
Overcomer Offline

Registered: 11/13/10
Posts: 42
Loc: Sumter, SC
My dad called me the other night, which is unexpected. He was pretty insistent on getting together, which is highly unusual for him to do. After I hung up with him, my heart sank. I realized that he probably finally found out that I had been abused.

I've been becoming more open about my abuse with many around me, but I've never told my dad. Why? My abuser was a cousin on his side of the family. I realized he probably found out because of something I posted on Facebook, something I'm working on for April's National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In the comments, I referenced my own story as well as a link to the blog where I talked about some of my experience.

I have been contemplating talking to dad about what happened as part of my own path to healing, partly because I hold him responsible for not knowing what was going on. The thing is, I'm not sure how ready I am for this discussion. I will be blowing the lid off of a 20-year-old family secret. Any advice how to proceed? This is seriously stressing me out. Thanks!

(Oh, and save any advice about he dangers of social media, etc. etc. I know all that, so you can save the characters...)

#428380 - 03/18/13 10:08 PM Re: Talking to family [Re: Overcomer]
SoccerStar Offline

Registered: 10/15/12
Posts: 929
It would probably be good to come armed with some cases of when he did right by you, when he did notice your needs. He failed you as a father in this instance, but if your relationship with him was basically good, it might be worth pointing out that he didn't fail as a father, period.

Don't hold your stuff back, though. Ultimately your pain is more important.
My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny

#428383 - 03/18/13 10:48 PM Re: Talking to family [Re: Overcomer]
Overcomer Offline

Registered: 11/13/10
Posts: 42
Loc: Sumter, SC
Thanks. Unfortunately there's a lot of other ways my dad has let me down growing up. We have never been close, since he and my mom divorced when I was still in diapers. I'm more or less hoping for some advice as to how to approach the topic and address it, since it is likely that he may bring it up...

#428384 - 03/18/13 10:49 PM Re: Talking to family [Re: Overcomer]
cant_remember Offline

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1070
It's a good thing that your dad is reaching out to you. Not all of us have a dad like that.

You'll be fine.

edit: Advice on what to say, keep it nice and simple. "He raped me."


Edited by cant_remember (03/18/13 10:51 PM)
I'll be just fine and dandy
Lord, it's like a hard candy Christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But I won't let sorrow get me way down.

#428386 - 03/18/13 11:33 PM Re: Talking to family [Re: Overcomer]
oriolesguy Offline

Registered: 08/13/08
Posts: 125
Loc: Long Island, NY
I think the primary focus has to be on you. YOU were the victim. He may feel guilty, and he may get defensive. He may be in denial. You can't tell how he will react, nor is that something you can control.

What you need to focus on is telling the truth. You should do that without being arrogant, or condescending, or confrontational in any other way. Once the truth is out, the ball is in his court. Hopefully he will be willing to talk about it, man to man. But if he reacts negatively, that's his issue, not yours.

I had to go through a form of this when I told my wife. It's a tough thing to discuss, period, and it feels onerous when you don't know what the reaction will be. But it will be a load off your chest, and I think you will feel better about having done it.

Best to you.


#428423 - 03/19/13 11:31 AM Re: Talking to family [Re: Overcomer]
Suwanee Offline
Chat Moderator

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 1345
All I have to offer is that something similar happened to me. My dad called wanting to meet for lunch. I get along great with my dad, but this request still seemed odd. I thought something was wrong with him or my mom.

Nope. He wanted to talk about my childhood over seared tuna. He apologized for traveling so often when I was a kid. He was fishing around to see if something happened when I was younger---that I ACTED STRANGELY AFTER COMING HOME FROM SUMMER CAMP.

I didn't confirm anything over lunch, but I am resolved to tell my parents next month. I'm giving them the bare details of being molested at camp, explain some of my post-camp acting out, describe my healing process, progress and move on.

I'll probably have to talk them down...but I'm ready for that.

So, depending on your relationship with your dad...tell him the who, where and when...and indicate your progress since then. He's still your dad---and has SoccerStar has sid before...this is a difficult conversation for both parties...but then again, parents signed on for this---it's his job as a parent...(I'm paraphrasing here). It sounds like he suspects or knows what happened. He probably wants to hear it directly from you. He should be ready.

I've got this life
And the will to show
I will always be
Better than before

#428439 - 03/19/13 06:04 PM Re: Talking to family [Re: Overcomer]
Jacob S Offline

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 699
Loc: where the shadows lie
Hope everything goes well. Years ago, before I accepted how toxic my mother's influence in my life is and still believed her lies that she loved me, I tried to disclose to her. It did not go well. Not a blowup (that's not her way) but rather everything I did from that point on was somehow proof that I hadn't been abused, every comment or deed was a sign that I had just been lying about it. So I never really brought it up again.

Just this past weekend, I was over at my parents house looking for photographs. That was a success, I found some stuff that corroborated what I remembered. But my dad said to me "What are you looking for? What is it that YOU THINK happened?" Its hard to put it in type, it was all about the inflection. It wasn't caring, it was accusing. He never cared about me growing up. Even if he does care now, its way too late. He doesn't deserve to hear my secrets.

So I guess the long and short of this to people is: be careful. There is a difference between having parents who you can share with, and WISHING you had parents you could share -- wishing so hard that it is tempting to disclose things that they will only use to hurt you again.
Nothing there. It subsumed me. Black hole in time and space.

And yet.

It seemed like what I was made for.

to be used.

most natural thing in the world.

#428584 - 03/21/13 10:35 AM Re: Talking to family [Re: Overcomer]
Overcomer Offline

Registered: 11/13/10
Posts: 42
Loc: Sumter, SC
Thanks everyone. I spoke to my therapist a couple days ago, which was really helpful. He reinforced what you all have said and helped calm some of my fears. He also reminded me that this is my journey and however my dad takes it is his journey and not mine to control. Even though I don't like that, I am having to surrender my dad's reaction. I was the one abused, not him (though I suspect he was abused too when he was younger). I am still feeling scared about talking to him tomorrow, but not with so much dread as I seek to continue my healing on my journey. I will just take life as it happens, enjoy and live today, and let tomorrow's problems be for tomorrow.

#428695 - 03/22/13 04:43 PM Re: Talking to family [Re: Overcomer]
Overcomer Offline

Registered: 11/13/10
Posts: 42
Loc: Sumter, SC
Okay yesterday I thought I was ready for this. Now every doubt is creeping into my mind. Trying to breathe, pray, and surrender. This could literally be one of the hardest things I have ever done.

#428698 - 03/22/13 05:28 PM Re: Talking to family [Re: Overcomer]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3856
I wish my father was here today--as a father myself I know he loves you unconditionally. He probably has his own guilt as to what happened to you. Stay calm, listen and if the conversation does not go well or antagonistic--excuse yourself. You need to stay in the now but I hope for you--your father is there for you.

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