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?