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Why Does My Mother Continue to Deny my Childhood Abuse?

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From a young woman in Bangladesh: My mother was never really happy with my father tho he is a real gentleman and treats her fairy well. He is always beside her when she’s ill and tries his best to support her yet my mother involved in extramarital relationship more than once. When I was a kid, I saw my mother with my own uncle (youngest brother of my father) sharing the bed while my father was out of the city. Often when my dad went outside the city, my uncle came to our house and it was never ok for me even being a very little kid, I could sense well that they’re doing something really immoral.

Then when I was about a teen and just hit my puberty, one of my paternal cousin used to abuse me sexually and even once I got pregnant and had to abort. I was totally spoiled, I was traumatized. But the more painful thing is I found out that my mother is having an affair with that cousin. (My mom is 21 years older than me and that cousin is 5 years older than me),

moreover, my mother got pregnant in 2009 and gave birth to my youngest sister, we’re three sisters. But only I know that my youngest sister’s father is not my father, it is that cousin. I’m not saying it from any doubt, I saw some texts of my mom and that cousin and also my youngest sister fairly looks like him. So, they’ve been in an affair for about more than 10 years and here all these things eating up inside me for years.

Some days ago I couldn’t resist myself revealing to my mom that I was abused by him, yet I notice that she continues her affair with him. Don’t you think all these are super unusual? Can you imagine how I’m suffering from depression from all these incidents for years? I just can’t take this anymore. What should I do? I really want a healthy life. I love my father a lot and cannot tolerate seeing him getting betrayed each and everyday. What can I do? Please help.

Why Does My Mother Continue to Deny my Childhood Abuse?

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for writing. There are many levels to this question so I’ll try to respond one at a time.

First, your parents’ relationship: I have to believe that your father is aware of your mother’s infidelities. He stays in the marriage for his own reasons — probably reasons you either don’t know about or don’t agree with. You can’t change their relationship or your father’s decisions. Sadly, that means that you probably will never have a “healthy family life” with your family of origin. I’m glad that you can salvage a loving relationship with your father. Please do embrace that.

The way to the family life you want is to look forward, instead of back. At 22, you are old enough to leave your childhood home and to look for a loving partner who will help you build the kind of life you so desire. You can make the family with him and your children that you never had.

Which leads me to the history of abuse by your cousin. It is unusual but not unheard of for a mother to be in such denial or so wrapped up in her own needs that she can’t give her daughter the support she needs and deserves. It speaks to a lack in the mother, not the daughter. The fact that she continued to be unsupportive after you had an abortion only highlights how inadequate your mother has been to the task of mothering. It will only give you more pain if you try to change her.

You do have two parents. You didn’t mention whether your father knows of the abuse. If you feel it is safe to tell him, you may find support from him. If he cannot accept what happened to you, for reasons of culture or personality, and provide support for you, then you should probably not look for help from him either. But that does not leave you alone.

It’s a sad fact that there are thousands and thousands of women who have suffered as you have. The only good thing to be found in that is that those who are in recovery are often able to reach out and help their sisters in pain. Do look at the forums here on PsychCentral and see if you can find one where people share something like your experience. People on the forums offer each other amazing encouragement and support.

I also encourage you to find a therapist if you can to give you the individual attention and support you need and deserve. Look for a professional you can trust and who you can confide in to ask where you can get help for your trauma and depression. I don’t know enough about mental health services in your country to guide you. Perhaps your physician is a place to start.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

Why Does My Mother Continue to Deny my Childhood Abuse?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Why Does My Mother Continue to Deny my Childhood Abuse?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/07/05/why-does-my-mother-continue-to-deny-my-childhood-abuse/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 4 Jul 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 4 Jul 2019
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