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TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3317
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
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dealing with very complex abuse and neglect as child

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Ive spoken to another expert about childhood trauma and injury caused in a housefire that was the result of my fathers alcoholism - ive had ptsd for years and have been dealing with this in therapy. as a result of therapy I was able to get a lot of facts about this event that was never forthcoming from my parents - due to this a conversation opened with my sister who disclosed sexual abuse by my father. I had just had enough of how much we were all harmed and I called the police, now my dad has been charged and pleaded quilty I am so conflicted and feel very very anxious about this.

CoachJenK :

Hi. Welcome back. We have spoken a few times before.

CoachJenK :

I am sorry to hear of your anxiety over this. You have been through so much and have been dealing with all of the emotions from over the years and now to learn of sexual abuse has to feel overwhelming for you.

CoachJenK :

I am hoping you can look at it in this way....reporting him was something you absolutely needed to an adult now you can advocate for yourself and keep yourself and your sister safe and you did just that by reporting him.

CoachJenK :

I know it is hard to see, but this is great progress for you. You were helpless in the house fire and also as a young child suffering neglect and could not advocate for yourself and now you can.

CoachJenK :

Yes it may be painful and you may have anxiety, but I am truly hoping you can see it in a way that highlights the power you now have over your life and your safety.

CoachJenK :

You are from neglect, free from keeping silent and free from the night of the fire. He chose to behave in the manner in which he did with your sister and that is his responsibility and not stood up for her and for you.

CoachJenK :

I see you are offline, but please let me know your thoughts.

I am sorry you weren't able to view my response in the chat. Please let me know that you can see it now above. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Jen
Thanks so much for your reply - I was hoping to hear from you as you have been so helpful in the past. I am feeling better today, but after reporting my dad, I have had lots of calls from his sisters very distressed saying it would 'kill' his 95 year old mother and him if he went to prison.

imfeeling like I had caused so much distress and wanted to go back to not knowing.

Do you remember me telling you my mums reaction to my asking questions and seeking therapy? After that I decided to protect myself - so I told her I had been diagnosed with PTS, needed to concentrate on my young family, with the overwhelming information about the fire and with my sisters disclosure of sexual abuse, as it turned out that my sister had told my mum about this when she was 18 and my mum had done NOTHING. So I told my mum I was struggling with all this. She was very curt with me ' saying "fine I will respect your wishes". I decided on very low contact on my terms. A while after she text to see if there was anything my son was doing any nativity plays (was at Christmas) as she wanted to come. I thought she was making an effort and so said yes. A day later she text to say she could not come after all as she was going to see a 'take that' tribute band with her friends?!? I just noticed how easily she meets her own needs first, telling myself to allow myself the same right. The next contact I had was at a craft fayre I was doing (ive started my own business making scarves, cushion covers etc and selling fabric its going really really well) at the fayre she did not look at one of my made products, comment on my business cards or website. She then proceeded to take her phone out and show me some fabric hearts her 'friends daughter' had made and how 'I should make some of those as they would sell and that she had ordered 5 from her!!!! I do make fabric hearts and she hadn't even noticed them on my display table. She told me to go to her house to collect the chocolate calendars she had bought for my sons - when I drove round the first thing I saw was the fabric hearts she had brought from her 'friends daughter' in he window. I just noticed how I felt after each encounter. In spite of me telling her I was looking after myself she continued to mention a 'cushion' I had said I would make for her friends birthday. She text me about it completely failing to make any mention of my emotional wellbeing - just saying 'have your finished the cushion im off work and can come and collect it' - I told her no I could not make it again reiterating my fragile mental state due to my sisters disclosure on top of my dealing with the fire. She just said 'IM VERY DISAPPOINTED' - that was it...... for 3 weeks I did not hear anything from her, no concern at all, just anger at my daring not to be at her beck and call. So then it was mothers day and in the run up to it I was very conflicted about sending a card, I felt she was being cruel and abusive again and didn't feel like playing ball. In that time I got my doctors notes and it was very distressing reading the details it was just a chronicle of my miserable childhood - I was 3 and half stone at 12 years of age. It reminded me of how cold and cruel she was and there it was in black and white the extent of my injuries. I saw red, and I reframed a memory which has haunted me for years which is of my mum using a vibrator while I was in the bed with her (supposed to be asleep)at around 8-9 years old, it took me ages to realise what was going on, and after I had put 2 and 2 together (she used to leave it on the floor) I used to have to try to let her know I was awake and try to get her to notice and stop. But she never did and one night I got so distressed I was tutting and huffing and making lots of movements to get the message across I AM AWAKE! she said "what the matter with you!" angrily and I said "nothing"(what could I say!?) she said "oh your just like your f**king father" (well he had left after starting a fire so I knew she hated him) reframing all this with the evidence of my doctors notes, the fact she ignored my sisters disclosure - all my memories of her lack of care - I snapped, and I sent her a text telling her I remembered all this - she was on the phone immediately to my husband denying it and saying she was seeing a solicitor! then I got a text from her saying "ive deleted you from my contacts - do not contact me again" - that is the last I have heard. So after all the harm and all the years I have worked so hard at our relationship, I get 'deleted'. So I called the police and reported it all. I have decided my mum is malevolent - and can only bring further harm to me because she is hard hearted and lacks remorse. Definitely some kind of personality disorder - I am free of her and I have never felt so alive realising that. But I am still hugely conditioned to protect and fear for my dad, it is so ingrained, probably because I found him after suicide attempts and seem him insanely drunk for years. So that is the last bit, I fear he may take his life, he is 70 and the past is catching up with him and I still feel compassion and I am scared if he kills himself I will not forgive myself.
I wanted to tell you one more incident with my mum it has bothered me and has confirmed that she is malevolent and not just ignorant - it was the day before the anniversary of the housefire, she knew I was in therapy, we were on strained terms I kept telling her I needed space what I was going through etc, so she came around and on the tele was a nativity play on a daytime television show, the children looked angelic and I inadvertently said, 'oh bless them - so cute' - and she said "oh yes but imagine having to dress as a cow it would scar you for life!" - YES that was her comment to her child who 35 years to the day was scarred for life, and I was so banjaxed I just stood up walked robotically to the kitchen and began cooking Christmas biscuits for my sons, a few moments later she came in said " I suppose I better be off" - walked out without even looking back - Ill not look back either.
Thank you for sharing all of that very difficult emotion....i think you are moving forward and caring for yourself now....that is how I see all of this. I understand your fears and concerns for your father but in the end we are all responsible for our own behavior....the good, bad, ugly and wonderful.

My focus has always been on you and your healing and it sounds pretty clear that you are healing and the choices you have made thus far are in that direction. none of us can go back to a time of our choice, we can only move forward and keep putting one foot in front of the other. you have been working so hard all these years and you must stay on that path for yourself, your husband and your kids.

I don't hear much in the way of remorse from your Mum so waiting for it will only keep you still and not moving in a positive direction. It may be easier for her to deny the history than to face the realities of it. But you are facing it head on in your therapy and your new work which sounds lovely. Keep the focus there and on you and your family. Stay strong as you have been all these years.
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