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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate: I understand what you are saying, but it's hard to get

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I understand what you are saying, but it's hard to get there. I think I may be a little further intellectually than emotionally. I know I didn't want to be there and I didn't want what happened. I would have stopped it totally of I could have. I didn't have control over them. But I did have control over me and what I did or said. Yes - my choices were between bad things. But I can't help but think that there are things I was not supposed to compromise, no matter what the consequences. Maybe I would feel the same responsibility and regret if I had not done and said what they told me and I had ended up with worse or permanent injuries. I know To where I'm supposed to get here, but it's hard to get there.
You said something a month or so ago about parents punishing their children when necessary, but not instilling addition guilt in them. That was a different concept to me. Also, it may be part of why I tend to hold grudges. I don't know what my parents felt, and I can't remember specifically how they handled certain things, but I do know that I felt like things I did wrong when I wa younger was because I was flawed. That I had poor character or something. (I don't mean things like drinking or something - I mean things that my parents didn't seem as normal). I also thought my desire to be hugged and held and "babied"(?) when I was little was a flaw.
I want to be clear - it was my own choice not to tell my parents. And when I did tell others later, they thought I should tell them. (obviously, since one of the few people I told did tell my parents). I felt like my choice not to tell them was something wrong with me - but I knew inside it wouldn't help me. I am convinced now it would have hurt me further. Maybe they woul have wanted me to tell them when it happened. I'm sure they just thought it was me being "sneaky" again, and maybe that's why they didn't think it could be too serious. I don't know. But I didn't put it together - that my history with them showed me how they won act, and that it wouldn't be normal. I didn't know that a normal reaction by them was the same thing I had always needed from them and didn't get. I makes me feel better that maybe it means that I'm not needy - that it's their problem. But it still leaves me in a position where I don't get what I needed/wanted. And now I feel it is unfair when I compare it to how you and Linda would act if it were your daughter. In hindsight, I probably would have been best off to tell one of the alumni who hung around. But how was I supposed to know they might react differently from my parents? It makes me really jealous of girls with mothers like you and Linda and other people I know. But I was thinking - if something like this happened to one of my nieces - even years from now - I would fly out there in a second. There wouldn't be a question. And not because I've been through it - because I love them.
Something Helpful I read on that RTS link you have me is that the development of that, and how we deal or don't deal with what happene and how much trouble - it said that it depended more on the nature of the attack and the person's support system than on the character of the person. That made me feel better a little.
Back to my parents - wouldn't do any good to tell them they were wrong in their parenting. Would do no good. Would just make them mad, and their response would partly be that they were right everyone else is wrong - because they are one of the few couples they know who have 3 productive responsible kids who don't have drug or alcohol problems, are self- supporting, and do no have entitlement issues.
It's interesting how my siblings react. My sister is very critical and feel slighted by our childhood (although she complains more about my mom not teaching her how to wear makeup, not understanding she wanted to look cool, etc. ). My brother defends them, saying the ends justify the means. I guess I've just been oblivious.
Well, a ton to think about. I can feel my anger rising and rising, in general.aube I'll bring it up in my session with Linda this evening.
Hope you're having a good day so far!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


I agree, you did have control over yourself to a small extent. But your choices were limited by what was going on. And you had no information to base your decisions on. How are you supposed to make good choices based on the limits and no information? How could anyone? What you end up with is a guess. And it is a guess made under physical and psychological duress. If there was any responsibility, it was so limited by the situation it could be considered insignificant.

My heart breaks thinking of you as an innocent child who only wants to be held and cared but is made to feel flawed because of it. It is not babying you (which would be a term used by emotionally repressed caregivers). It is giving you the touch and contact you desired. Every child deserves physical comfort. I am sorry that you had to go through that.

Of course it was your choice not to tell your parents. But it was a choice based on a logical and emotional deduction. You understood your parents behavior and expectations of you. Based on that, you decided that it would be more painful to suffer through their lack of care and concern than it was to withhold the information from them and deal with it yourself. That is not much of a choice. It would be very different if your parents were caring and loving and you decided not to tell them. That says there is something going on with you. But in this case, this was a decision based on your parent's behavior. And you must have felt it was a good decision because you stand by it even today.

Yes, it is unfair that you did not get to turn to your parents and get what you needed. But it is amazing that even through you grew up without getting what you needed and still cannot get it, you see the importance of giving yourself to your niece should she ever (God forbid) have that happen to her. It is very important to acknowledge how healthy that is, Shay.

Telling your parents would not help you. From what you have told me about them, I gather that they have no insight into how emotionally removed they are from themselves and everyone else. They have shut down their feelings and function instead through intellectual judgment. And that will not change unless they see the need to change, or God changes them.

You mentioned that your parent's have self supporting, responsible kids. That is great, but it has less to do with them and more to do with how all of you reacted to what they did. And there were consequences. Your sister is critical, your brother shuts it all out and you have suffered with what happened to you and your parents lack of support. Many abused children grow up to be responsible people. It has a lot to do with who they are, the support and other circumstances and how they responded to the abuse. But that does not make abuse right.

Try to stay with your anger. It is a natural response to what you have been through.

Have a good day, Shay!


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