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#437857 - 06/11/13 07:01 PM Whether to confront father?
Climb1975 Offline

Registered: 05/21/13
Posts: 21
Loc: Brit
The other day I had the first really big argument with my wife since I started therapy and really making an effort on recovery. Basic issue was whether I confront my Dad with my CSA history.

When it all happened the perp was a family friend and my parents readily facilitated his access to me. I don't believe they did so at first knowing exactly what I was going through. But nor did they bother to wonder whether it was strange that I was being sent off to spend afternoons on my own with a slightly secretive older man. They even made me stay the night there sometimes even though the guy lived a mile from our house. Eventually after a long period of hinting that I didn't like what was happening and being told off for being "ungrateful" I plucked up the courage to tell them. Not the actual physical abuse, but to tell them that I didn't like it when he used to draw pictures of me naked (he was a successful artist). Two things happened: I got told off for not having said anything earlier and also blamed when the guy had some kind of a (non-fatal) seizure on receiving a letter from my Dad which must have made some reference to him looking at me naked. No-one ever spoke to me again about the incident and the man remained present in our extended family circle as if nothing had happened. In a way, nothing had happened because no-one bothered to ask me what he had done. It was made clear that I had caused embarrassment and inconvenience and we'd better forget all about it.

Fast forward 30 years: my mother long since died and my father remarried. He's in good health but he seems to have a lot of stress for someone of his age who should be enjoying retirement (he's 73). I am now in the earliest stages of recovery after years of self-destructive behaviour that I successfully hid from most people. I think it's going pretty well so far, thanks largely to my wife being very supportive. Question is, do I confront my Dad with what I see as years of a total failure to protect me and bizarre indifference to my feelings? The obvious answer is yes: I need to make a clean break and get over the years of denial. But my hesitation is that if my Dad even suggests that he didn't really know what was going on I will feel like killing him. OK, not actual violence but my anger will be intense. Or, say he breaks down all remorseful and asks my forgiveness. I don't want to forgive him, not least because I know that my parents' failure to do anything allowed the abuser to attack other children (at least two to my knowledge, probably more. Perp is dead now, died about 10 yrs ago). Is it so bad that we have a typical dysfunctional male relationship where we pretend it's all fine because it's actually easier not to have the argument? (Very British by the way).

The new me is supposed to be someone who believes that years of bottling up and hiding what happened proved in the end to be a big mistake. But in the case of my Dad I just think it's the right thing to do. Is that crazy?

#437873 - 06/11/13 10:09 PM Re: Whether to confront father? [Re: Climb1975]
cant_remember Offline

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1070
Not crazy at all. Take the chance while he is still alive to tell him how you feel and what his indifference did to you.

If he passes on before you have a chance to tell him how you feel, the rest of your life will be filled with regret for not saying something to him while you had the chance.

As painful as this may sound -- is it possible that your parents were giving this successful artist access to you in order to achieve better social standing for themselves?

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.

#437881 - 06/11/13 10:40 PM Re: Whether to confront father? [Re: Climb1975]
Rustam Offline

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 474
Loc: UK
Nothing crazy about the idea at all, many of the guys here have told parents many years later. It seems totally natural that you would be angry with your parents for their failure to protect you. The abused child was desperate for his parents to rescue him and was naturally furious with their seeming indifference.

I get the feeling that this is very raw for you now. I think a confrontation/conversation is a positive step when we are ready for it. I would talk it through in therapy. You would need to be prepared for your fathersí response and how you would be left feeling. Itís possible that his response this time would mirror your childhood experience of disclosure and that could feel like another betrayal.

Having said that I think breaking the secrecy is really useful in recovery.

#437909 - 06/12/13 08:32 AM Re: Whether to confront father? [Re: Climb1975]
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5781
Loc: Lyons, CO USA
To increase your chances of a successful confrontation, take a look at:

Good luck!
Blissfully retired after 35 years treating sexual abuse

#437952 - 06/12/13 04:19 PM ! [Re: Climb1975]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217

Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (02/28/14 07:31 PM)

#438047 - 06/13/13 12:18 PM Re: Whether to confront father? [Re: Climb1975]
Climb1975 Offline

Registered: 05/21/13
Posts: 21
Loc: Brit
Thank you all for helpful advice. Rustam - I think you're right that this is very raw for me so now is not the time. But of course I do need to think about it and think about preparing for it.

Cant - I think that your point about social standing is spot on. It is painful but ultimately, on its own, making a friendship for the sake of social standing is not a big deal. The big deal is what went with it and the way my parents probably had a suspicion (as Gary notes) but did nothing. I suppose what I'm looking for is an admission from my father that they were suspicious and a recognition, with hindsight, that they failed in a big way by not acting on it. As I write this, I realise that's probably over-ambitious.

Cant - one thing that you wrote made me think. If I don't tell my Dad and he passes on then the rest of my life will be filled with regret. I can see exactly why you would say that. But I almost wonder if the opposite is true. Right now, my relationship with my Dad is pretty good. That might sound bizarre, but we speak about plenty of things, we can chat about some difficult things, but never about my CSA. So, what I'm getting at is if I raise the CSA issue it might cloud our relationship for the next few years. Perhaps for the remaining period of his life.

My Dad's past 15 years have been hard: he lost his wife to a long battle with cancer, he lost most of his business (having at one point been very successful and wealthy), his best friend and former business partner turned on him etc. So, whilst my Dad's role in my CSA is something he should be ashamed of, I hesitate to introduce this new and difficult issue into an old man's life.

I guess there's a lot more thinking I need to do before I know where I'm going with this. In the meantime, I think I am going to speak to my brother. He is older than me and initially the perp was doing stuff to him and then he turned his attention to me (I guess I was younger and prettier).

I just feel the need to speak to someone who knew at the time. It's fantastic to have the MS community, I have a therapist, I have my wife. But none of you were there.

#438076 - 06/13/13 03:21 PM Re: Whether to confront father? [Re: Climb1975]
bodyguard8367 Offline

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""

Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/27/14 04:18 PM)


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