Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.
I think your intuition is correct, that the incident is too painful for your sister-in-law to accept, so she denies it.
My primary concern would be for how this incident still affects your daughter. You didn't say how much it affects her, or in what way. She may be a good candidate for EMDR (www.emdr.com), which is a therapeutic technique that helps people to process unresolved traumatic events so that the memory is less intrusive/bothersome.
As far as your sister-in-law goes, that is very personal decision if you, your husband, or your daughter wish to try to address it again. I do not believe that it is too "late," but you do need to be prepared to receive the same exact reaction from her if you do talk about it again.
It is an issue that affects each of you, so I could make an argument for each of you to be the one to discuss it with her, and each of you would probably have slightly different reasons for wanting some resolution.
I would recommend that your daughter address the trauma with a therapist before considering talking to her Aunt. She would come from a different place emotionally if she does this, and at that point she may not "need" anything from the Aunt (like validation). It also might help if she were to be rejected again.
Please feel free to follow up.
It must be very difficult and painful to watch how your daughter has reacted to things in her life. Anger and being difficult are some of the ways that people can react to trauma. It sounds like perhaps she does not realize how she is being and how it affects you (and others) that are important in her life.
Here's a link to a page of therapists who say they are trained in EMDR in Pleasant Hill:
Some therapists offer a sliding scale (it looks like a few on this page do)--so essentially you need to call/email and ask about it. If she is cash pay (no insurance), many therapists are willing to negotiate a fee.
There are also EMDR therapists listed on the www.emdr.com website --usually those who have been certified (which is a more involved process than just finishing the basic training). You do not need to see someone who has been certified to find a really good EMDR therapist.
I think that it is a very good idea for you to get some therapy, it can help you address your own feelings as well as talk about some strategies for how to cope when she treats you this way. I think that there is some grieving that's necessary to do as well --grieving the fact that she's not the woman/daughter that should could be if she wasn't dealing with her issues in this way.
You are welcome, and take good care. Please come back any time, if you'd like to request me, you can put my name in the subject line of your question.
EMDR might be a possibility for you --it turns out to have a wide application for addressing situations that are distressing (not just severe trauma). It's also good for addressing distressing dreams/nightmares.
This book may or may not be helpful to you --it's called Stop Walking on Eggshells....
I am NOT suggesting that your daughter has Borderline Personality Disorder based on the info. you gave me, but this book gives strategies for dealing with extremely difficult people. So, it may be helpful, or it may be more than you need.
I'm sorry I was unable to respond quickly this time. There's no hard and fast rule on the amount of responses, we just try to do what's reasonable for the amount paid. Thank you for your recent Accept.
It sounds like she is functioning fairly well considering, but her relationships are suffering (like with you) and certainly she could learn how not to yell at her children.
It is very painful to face these issues from the past. Her fear makes sense, and when facing these things the feelings often get intense/worse before they are resolved. It's difficult for many people to see that a resolution can happen. If someone can see some small changes quickly, however, then that often helps to endure the part of the work that might take longer.
She may not respond positively to your suggestion of therapy. However, if you try it first and have a positive experience, that might help her to be more open.