Friday, 23 May 2008

How do I come to terms with past abuse?

Full Story:

My stepfather abused me many years ago but I have kept it a secret into adulthood. I am desperate to come to terms with it but am afraid to confront him in case it destroys his relationship with my mother My mother remarried when I was still living at home. On one occasion, my stepfather sexually abused me. This was many years ago but I am still very bitter about it. I grew up afraid to say anything to my mother, and I think part of this was because I was afraid I would discover that she had known all along. I am now sure that she didn't. My mother is still married to this man and is seemingly very happy. They had a child together, who is now an adult. I am a parent myself, and in a happy relationship. I have decided not to tell anyone what happened as it would destroy my family and my mother would almost certainly spend her last years alone - I don't think I can cope with the feelings of guilt that would cause. On the other hand, I feel terrible for letting her live her life with a paedophile. I don't know what effect this knowledge would have on my half-brother. It could be that he would disown me, or that he has been abused too - indeed, I have reason to suspect this may be the case. My stepfather is a wolf in sheep's clothing and I feel as if no one knows but me. For years, I have felt I was the guilty party for keeping this secret. This seems so unjust. I don't want this man to get away with what he has done - but I know I won't confront him about it. I just wish there was some way to accept what happened. This happened to my daughter My own daughter was abused by her stepfather when she was a child, but I was in the dark until she was in her 20s. She showed signs of distress but couldn't give a reason, so I actually thought I must be doing something wrong, especially as she seemed to want to leave home at the earliest possible opportunity, and did not return for visits afterwards. When she found a partner, he said he was helping her find herself; I had no idea what he meant. Then, when I visited them both, my daughter told me what had happened, saying she wanted me to know in case my husband did the same to my youngest child. It was like a bomb going off - suddenly her behaviour made sense. I confronted my husband. He confessed and tried apologising but I went to the police and social services, and my youngest child was put on the "at risk" register. Eventually, I divorced him. I was so angry that he had hurt my daughter. My daughter had been scared of losing my love and that of her siblings, but if anything we all love her more because of what she went through.

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