Our partner

How can someone love an abuser?

Open Discussions About Sexual Abuse and Incest.

Moderators: Terry E., Snaga

Forum rules
You are entering a forum that contains discussions of abuse, some of which are explicit in nature. The topics discussed may be triggering to some people. Please be aware of this before entering this forum. If you are posting about actions of yours which you feel are/were abusive please post about this in The Remorse Forum. If you have been falsely accused of abusing someone please post in the For Those Falsely Accused of Abusing thread.

Please also note that discussions about Incest in this forum are only in relation to abuse. Discussions about Incest in a non-abusive context are not allowed at PsychForums.

Thank you for your cooperation.

The Mod Team

How can someone love an abuser?

Postby long_way_home » Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:36 am

I've got two very different issues I'm worried about but essentially they are the same. I guess, it can be summed up as trying to understand how someone could still love an abuser after they find out the truth.

The easiest place to start would be with my family. I'm going to try to keep this as simple and short as possible.

My brother abused me as a child. He abused me in every single way possible. For as long as I can remember- I don't remember ever getting along with him. The abuse lasted until I was probably 16 or so, when he got a job and was out of the house all the time. The abuse became less and less then, since we spent so little time together. He sexually abused me and raped me a few times, but I'm fuzzy on the time it happened over. I believe I was anywhere from 8 to 10 years of age. He would have been approximately 11 to 13 years of age when the sexual abuse occurred.

When I was 15, all of this came out to my family. Not through my own will- someone at school told someone in authority at school who talked to me, who brought my mother in. Oye. Regardless, at the time, they were not sure who it was. I later, in writing, told my mother it was her son that had abused me. I was brought to therapy. My mother, who has not been the greatest help in my life and has actually been on the side of abusive towards me, confronted my brother one night. He said that he did not remember anything of the sort {regarding the sexual abuse} ever occurring. Rules were established, with the help of my therapist, that my brother was not to touch, talk, or look at me. My parents disregarded this. My therapist wished to have a conference with my parents and I found out that my father believed it was "just kids being kids" and my mom... well, I don't think she has ever believed me.

I've always felt as if my brother was the favored sibling. I was always the one that got good grades, never was in trouble at school, did extra curricular activities, etc. My brother did poorly in school, struggling terribly with it, got into a lot of trouble at school, etc. Yet, I always felt like I was never good enough. I would tell my mother some of the horrid things my brother did to me {for example, i told them while they had been out that he choked me to the point where i couldn't breathe, i had bruises on my neck, but...}, somehow, no matter what he did to me- i was always the one that somehow had provoked it or did something wrong. Like I deserved it.

I'm older now. Turning 21 this year, have a fiancee, am trying to make my own way in life. However, my family is still an issue I am having trouble with. Specifically my mother. What I don't understand is how she can still love my brother, still seem to prefer him, and how she can possibly have still allowed him to live at home after finding out what he did to me? I guess, I don't understand why he was never "punished" {punished by my family and not the law}.


The second issue is with my fiancee's family.

As a child up until the age of 15, my fiancee was molested by his father. On several occasions over the span of those years. When he was in 11th grade, his older sister came out and told the family that their father had also molested her and she moved out. Child Services was called and my fiancee was interviewed. He did not press charges and told them he felt no fear of his father and would be moving out upon graduation, so nothing was pursued legally. His family has not dealt with it since.

Until I came along and my fiancee broke down one day and told me what had happened. I was infuriated! His family just hasn't dealt with it at all. They swept it under the rug like it never happened. My fiancee feels that therapy would not help him {though I still try to gently urge him to go}.

Over the summer, however, he did confront his father. He did not get any of the answers he was seeking but he had so much courage to confront him. It was through email and it's the first step towards him healing. Since then, he has cut all communication with his father. But his mother is another story.

We are trying to understand how she could have stayed with him after finding out what he did to her children. Both of her children! How could you live with him, share a bed with him, and continue a life with him? He used to be a leader for the Boy Scouts and I do not doubt there were other victims.

I guess, I'm struggling very hard to understand his mother's side of things. It makes me have a poor view of her.

I look at both women, my mother and my future mother in law, as being weak. For not seeing past their own selfishness to do what was, as I see it, right for their children. How could they not put their children first?

I guess, overall, I'm trying to understand better what lead them to make the choices they did in disregarding the damage their family members did to their other loved ones, and how I can go about healing my personal relationship with each of them.


Thank you for even reading all that. I hope I was at least half way coherent. I'm having a really hard time dealing with this.
long_way_home
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:36 am
Local time: Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:54 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)


ADVERTISEMENT

Postby jasmin » Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:39 am

Hi, long_way_home! I've had trouble with this too. I guess they do this because it's easier to ignore what happened to their kids/family members and move on with their lives. They're not like us, necessarily.
I think it might be a combination of disturbing beliefs, like kids belonging to their parents or that it's not such a big deal if you are abused and they don't even have to bother to understand and help, or that it's not ok to turn against your own family and think bad things about your brother, sister or parents. Some people don't think it's a big deal if something like this happens to a child, because children are just children and they don't have feelings like adults do and they don't deserve consideration. They could also think that someone who's been abused is somehow dirty and it must be their fault.
It's just easier not to deal with it. I guess some of them have been in abusive situations too when they were growing up and dealing with the abuse that their kids went through would mean that they'd have to deal with the abuse that they went through but that is definitly no excuse.
I'm doing my best to move on with my life too. You and your fiance don't have to stay in contact with your mothers if it just hurts you. They've made their choice.
jasmin
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 15541
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:59 pm
Local time: Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:54 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Postby long_way_home » Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:52 am

I really wish it were as simple as that. And thank you for responding.

As a teenager, I was sexually assaulted by someone that I thought was a friend. A year later I decided to report it and at that time, I learned that my mother had also been raped twice in her life. She threw it in my face saying, "she was raped so much worse than i was"... I guess, that makes me even more upset with her. How could she know the pain, the absolute destruction something like that causes and do nothing about it?

My fiancee and I used to live 1300 miles apart. I moved to live with him for over a year. Now we both moved back to my home state and are currently living with my parents {and brother} again. So, at the time, it is not as simple as cutting off communication with my mother.

I do not understand how his mother could live with his father, either. Both of her kids are out of the house now. It's just her and him. They work long hours and see each other for a few hours a day. How can she even bear to be in the same room as him? I just don't understand. My fiancee tried to talk to her about it and explain how hurtful to him it is, and she made it seem like she was considering leaving him, but we've found out since that she seemed to be lying to him {my fiancee}. She has no intention of leaving him. I think it is partly due to her not knowing how to live a single life. She's been with him since she was 15 and she is now 43.

I just don't know how to heal any part of a relationship I could possibly have with them. I want to. I want to try to make things work. I would like to be able to express to my mother how much I have been hurt by her but I don't even know how to do that without becoming consumed with anger. And I would like to have some sort of relationship with my future mother in law but I find that I cannot respect her for having stayed with someone who devastated both of her children so horridly.
long_way_home
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:36 am
Local time: Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:54 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Postby jasmin » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:08 am

I think you talked about how you were staying with them before. Sorry I didn't remember. It must be really triggering for you to live this way. The best thing for you right now might be finding a way to let your anger, or at least part of it, out. Write in a diary about how this makes you feel, write about what you'd like to say to your mother. If you confront her things might not go as you'd hope and it'd make the situation even more intolerable.
This is all just my opinion and how I'm dealing with my own situation now.
When do you and your fiance think that you might be able to get out of there?
What has helped me was realising that ignoring what is happening to your kid and pretending like it's not a big deal is a form of abuse too. Just like your abuser decided to hurt you, they decide to do this. It's like a form of pasive abuse, to me. I'm sorry, I know there is no simple way to deal with it.
What she said to you about being raped is awful. Some people like to use their kids to get out all the anger and aggression that they've felt in their life.
There are posters here who have been to therapy and the therapist helped them create a new bond with their parents, even though their parents didn't protect them. But it took a long time and, honestly, I think you shouldn't be so close to them when you try to do this, because living with them makes it easier for them to trigger you or control you.
jasmin
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 15541
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:59 pm
Local time: Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:54 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Postby long_way_home » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:20 am

Oh, don't worry. It's alright that you didn't remember right away. I'm surprised you remembered at all. That had to be at least 8 months ago! You have great memory.

I love to write and currently have decided to keep a written journal for the year. But, I can never seem to write about this. Or as you suggested, write what I would like to say to my mother. It's very difficult and I do not know where to even start. I think that's the hardest part for me- starting.

I definitely have no intention of confronting her while we still live in the same house. That would be too hard on me. I know I need to wait until we are on our own again, but in the meantime it is very hard to deal with on a day to day basis sometimes. We were planning to move out this month but other financial issues came up and I'm afraid we while not be able to move out until September.

It's such a relief to hear you call this situation "passive abusive". I wasn't sure I could label it abuse. I wanted to, especially in my fiancee's situation, but I didn't want to be too harsh. Sometimes you just need a different perspective on it. I know now that my mother has always been abusive towards me my whole life. It took me a long time to accept this fact and sometimes it's still hard to realize that it's abuse. But it's a relief to know that someone else understands that this situation could not possibly be a "normal" response to what has happened.

I am sorry that you understand it so well and are having difficulties with something similar yourself. Thank you for responding. I just have to figure out where to start...
long_way_home
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:36 am
Local time: Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:54 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Postby jasmin » Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:36 pm

Is your fiance understanding about how being around your brother makes you feel?
Yah, I must have a good memory, lol.

You could keep a diary especially for writing about this stuff and keep it hidden when you don't feel the need to read it or write in it. Try starting by saying what happened to you or just by writing down some feelings you have, it doesn't even have to make sense.
Working out seems to help me get rid of stress too.

The truth is that doing something that you know will cause someone harm or without caring if it causes them harm or not is abuse. Parents or guardians or even older relatives are suposed to protect kids and take care of them. They're just as responsible for their actions and for the consequences of their actions as the abusers or just regular people are.
It took me a long time to see things this way too. I think it is possible to have some kind of relationship with your mom, if that is what you want, but it might take time. I really hope you and your fiance find a good therapist, who cares about your feelings, to help you with this.

Thank you for caring. I'm going to make a life for myself and see what kind of relationship I'm going to have with my family.
jasmin
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 15541
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:59 pm
Local time: Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:54 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Postby long_way_home » Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:02 pm

My fiance, I don't think, has become anymore understanding of the situation with my brother. He works a lot of the time, so he is no longer hanging out/spending spare time with my brother, but he still talks about him casually in conversation sometimes. I hate that. I live my life, even though we are still in the same house, as if I were an only child. My brother does no exist to me. I had no brother in my life- I had an abuser, but not a sibling. At this point, I'm not pressing the issue with my fiance. This summer, I may have to though because there will be more opportunity for them to spend time together.

I think the hardest part I am having with realizing that by ignoring the situation my mother has been abusive towards me- is that I know she will not feel the same. She'll want me to see it from her viewpoint. And I can hear the "he's my son" argument coming from her but my point is, "well, I'm your daughter". You know? Like, I was the victim, I survived it, but because he's your son, he's a victim too? I think that's kind of how she will construe it. That he's a victim. More so that she's the victim. I also think that's how my fiance's mother sees it.

At this point, since I hold so much resentment for my mother, even more so than my brother {is that normal?}, I'm not entirely sure I want a relationship with her. I mean, she's my mother but at the same time, she never really was much of a mother to me. I'm torn between the two.

I had started seeing a new therapist this past summer. By Dec/Jan I decided to stop seeing her because she wasn't right for me and actually made me feel much worse. I'm not sure I'm ready to go back to therapy yet. I would love for my fiance to explore that option for himself but he struggles to see how it would help- mostly, he thinks he doesn't have issues. We will see how that works out.

I really hope that you are able to come to a safe and content result with your situation. It's very hard to deal with and sometimes there is no happy ending for everyone- you just have to do what is best for you.
long_way_home
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:36 am
Local time: Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:54 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Postby jasmin » Mon Mar 09, 2009 8:19 am

Have you tried asking your fiance about how it would make him feel if you were friends with his father, while the two of you were living in his parents' house? Maybe he's acting this way because that's pretty much how his mom acted towards his dad and accepting that this is wrong would be accepting that what his mother did was wrong and seeing it for what it is. It's no excuse, though. You shouldn't have to put up with it.
Your mom could have taken care of both her kids without putting you down or taking your brother's side. She could have looked for a therapist for him and she could have kept him away from you.
I don't see how she's a victim of anything. The only thing he could be a "victim" of is the fact that your parents didn't make him understand that what he did was wrong and they didn't show him that his actions have very bad consequences. Ignoring how messed up he is isn't doing him any favors.
I think it's understandable to resent her more than him, because she's the one who didn't protect you. You could figure out if you want a relationship with her once you're finally out of there.
Then you can help your fiance realize what's wrong with this whole situation too. I mean, even only being friends with his fiancee's abuser certainly shows that he has issues.

I'm going to do what is best for me and for the other inocents in my family and I hope you can do the same.
jasmin
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 15541
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:59 pm
Local time: Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:54 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Postby long_way_home » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:59 am

I have brought this point up with him before. He would not like that. But he tells me that the reason it doesn't bothering him to spend time with my brother, nor does he stop to consider how I'll feel about it, is because, "he just doesn't think about it". Which is exactly how he views the abuse he suffered as well- it just doesn't cross his mind.

I'm not sure what to make of it.
long_way_home
Consumer 0
Consumer 0
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 9:36 am
Local time: Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:54 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Postby jasmin » Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:36 am

Some people push it out of their mind and they just seem to live in a dream world where they don't face the truth. I guess you could keep telling him that it matters to you and that you do think about it and it's his job to take your feelings into consideration. If your fiance won't think about it, then who will..
jasmin
Consumer 6
Consumer 6
 
Posts: 15541
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 1:59 pm
Local time: Sun Apr 21, 2024 11:54 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Next

Return to Sexual Abuse and Incest Forum




  • Related articles
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 24 guests