A Painful Holiday

Seven years ago when I chose to come forward with my revelation of childhood abuse I tried to rehearse how each part of my life would change. While I tried my best, there are some things that have happened that I thought would never happen. When I exposed to the world my secret, I had in effect destroyed my immediate family. My abuser was my father and the moment I revealed my story I knew I could never allow him to come back into my life. There would be absolutely no turning back. I had rehearsed that over and over and I was ready for it, I was ready to end that relationship. What I didn’t rehearse was how my mother would react. I just kind of just hoped for the best.

It is when you press someone up against the wall that you reveal their true colours. When I came forward with my story, my father acted as I had expected. Being who he is, I anticipated each move that he would make. That being said, it was the way my mother had reacted that has haunted me -even to this day. I was never quite sure how she would react to my secret so I never pressed her for a reaction. I was hoping she would reach out and do what any other mother does when their child is hurting. When I finally did get a response from her, it was one that I can never forget. She simply begged “Let’s talk this out, talk to your father and see what he has to say. We can get through this”. This statement broke me. The fact that my mother -for whatever reason- wants me to go back to him to bury the hatchet with the monster that broke my innocence has cut me to the core. When she first told me this, I wanted to believe that she was not being completely sincere. Unfortunately, as time has passed this theme still holds true each time I get any piece of correspondence from her.

I have never received any kind of indication that she believes me. I have never received any kind of emotional support that a rational mother would give her child in a situation like this. Each time I am contacted by her, it is simply to state that she misses me and that she wishes to be a happy family again. I never once made her choose me or him, I simply made sure she knew that under no circumstance was he to be in my life. She was welcomed in my life, but not if he was going to be any part of it. Yet to this day, she still sleeps in the same bed with the man who raped her only son.

As my life unfolds and I grow stronger without parents in it, Mother’s Day still serves as the most difficult day in the entire year. Most holidays have drastically changed without my parents’ involvement but for the most part, the changes have been quite enjoyable. Mother’s Day hurts, it stings and my heart bleeds. I am not myself on this day and I feel guilty to not be joyful and present for my wife and mother-in-law who have been incredible pillars of support but I miss my mother. I have vowed to myself that this will be my last Mother’s Day waiting for signs that she will believe me. I need to heal and move on from this and the only way to do this is to give up on her.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, how far away from home you have been or what kind of relationship you have had in the past. To not be believed by your parent about something so emotionally painful as abuse has to be the most difficult thing any child can endure. My ten-year-old self-longs to have his mommy believe him. He has been waiting for too long for her to help and it’s time for him to grow up and realize that the person who gave him life won’t be there to save it. He is going to have to do this himself.

It has been seven years, the door to my heart that my mother once had open has been closed. I am moving on. My life depends on it.


8 thoughts on “A Painful Holiday

  1. Jeff, I can’t believe you would attack your mother the day after Mother’s Day . You were not the only one hurting on Mother’s Day. I was hurting also, just as I have been the last seven years. I still cherish the memories of the first time I held my beautiful baby boy the night you were born. It was the happiest moment of my life. You were an easy child to raise and I loved every minute of it. When you left my home, you were a happy confident person. I am not a terrible mother, Jeff. And I feel down deep in your heart you know that. If I was a terrible mother, then Mother’s Day should not have bothered you. You can tell yourself whatever you want, but unless your heart turns to stone, you will never stop loving your mother. The reason I know this is because of the love I had for my mother. We didn’t always agree on everything, but we always worked things out by talking to each other. There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t miss her.

    Regardless of what you think of me I still love you and miss you.

    You accused me of not telling you that I believe you. How can I tell you anything when you refuse to speak to me. I tried phone calls and received no response. I have sent you and your family, for the last seven years, birthday and Christmas gifts begging you to speak to me and received no acknowledgement.

    This year, I sent your son a birthday gift and your wife called the police on me. Jeff, it was a Lego set -why? I don’t know what more I can do.

    Not once have you looked your father nor I in the face and told us of your abuse. The one opportunity I had to speak to you, you never said one word to me about your abuse. The first words out of your mouth was that there was no grey in your father’s life, only black and white. I am more than willing to meet with you. I will even go to your councillor with you. I want things to get better. Holding onto anger and not speaking to people solves nothing.

    Jeff, I would have had no problem with you picking up the phone and telling me off. But putting me down on Twitter is a low blow and hurtful especially the day after Mother’s Day.

    Love mom.

    Ps: I don’t post personal matters on social media, however I felt this one had to be addressed it hurt so badly.

    1. “You accused me of not telling you that I believe you. How can I tell you anything when you refuse to speak to me.”…. That’s all I need to read right there. Long ago the only three words out of your mouth should have been “I believe you”. That mean’s shutting your mouth and listening, not “telling” me anything. Ps: I do post personal matters on social media. I have nothing to hide, I would rather be judged by what people know of me than what they don’t. You should feel the same.

    2. The way I read this, this is a post about his feelings. It is a blog. A blog is often deeply personal. I didn’t hear that you were a monster. I read that he was hurt, that he is tired of being hurt, and that he is resolving to work towards moving on from feeling such pain. Sounds like this one is actual about him and not you. His healing. His feelings. His experience.

  2. Jeff. I had a very similar response from my Mum when I disclosed to her about being abused by her husband, my Dad-and it is without a doubt the most painful emotional wound a parent can inflict on her child. You have my full understanding, empathy and support here.

    1. Thank you for sharing, it is very comforting knowing that I am not alone on this journey. Once upon a time, I felt like I was the only person on this planet going through this.

      1. I can imagine. When my family didn’t react as I expected and stood by my abuser, I had never previously experienced disbelief or hurt of that intensity. I kept thinking ‘why on earth is this happening?’ ‘Why are my family being like this and betraying me at a time I need them the most?’ and ‘Why is my mum burying her head in the sand and ostracising me? When I am the victim!’I thought my mum/family were abnormal in their reaction… But having read about how disclosures are typically reacted to and speaking to many survivors over the world, I know that their apparent ‘abnormality’ is actually the norm, and happens to so many people. It’s secondary victimisation. Also (sorry if I’m overstepping the mark here) but reading your mother’s response in the comment section reminded me so much of letters I received from my own Mum. It seems that parents and close relatives start a dance of words, words that are so carefully chosen. Noone speaks directly or truthfully anymore. People present themselves in a particular light. Communication becomes inauthentic on their part. Responsibility is not taken on board by them. Victims are blamed and shamed. Perpetrators are protected. The victim is pushed out. I really feel for you, and when I watched your Ted talk again earlier I felt a burst of energy and inspiration, became even though you’re male and I’m female, you are telling my story. What you did is bloody fantastic and even though I’ve never met you, I am so proud of you 😊 In the UK, there is a whole raft of premier league footballers coming forward, men who were abused in football clubs by coaches, and this is really getting male abuse into the spotlight. Men are crying on the TV news, telling their stories, and people like you and them, who speak publicly, pave the way for so many more people to begin their healing journies without shame, just as it should be.

      2. Men, women, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that these things aren’t buried anymore. I didn’t come forward to destroy a family or get revenge, I did it so I could be freed from the secret. Too many people are living their lives holding things in and it eventually destroys them. These secrets eat at you everyday. When more people come forward, the more it will (hopefully) deter others from abusing. Most often, the abusers have been abused themselves. They never sought treatment and held the secret in so long it lead them to abuse others. It’s a vicious cycle that you, I and all the other survivors have broken. We can be proud that we have broken free but we cannot stop making noise.

      3. Yes, that’s a good point. We are not doing this vindictively, to spite our families. We are doing this for our own freedom from hiding things and the psychological pressure of that. I like what you said about “we cannot stop making noise.” We are the noise makers. Freeing other people from their secrets.

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