Im a 53 year old daughter and mother of 2 ( 13 & 15). I live with my 86 year old mother in the house I grew up in. My 2 sister's, my sister's second husband and their daughter (22) also live here. That's a total of 8, 6 adults and my 2 kids. That's the first clue that somethings wrong. I also have 2 brothers that don't live here. We all got married or left this house by about 20. After failed relationships we came back which was not at all what I wanted but I had failed and I could blame only myself. I honestly believe that I started off a good person but after I was molested by my sister's ex- husband ( I was 14) it was all down hill from there. I was so ashamed and dirty and to this day I still feel dirty. Anyway eventually I told both my sister's and one of them told my mom and she did nothing. When I was 30 I blurted out what happened and my mother said "if I only knew then" but she did know. By the way my mother is by no means feeble and is very sharp. She's also extremely stubborn and insensitive. Her best skill is passive aggressiveness. Everyone thinks she's so sweet (which she can be but not often). My entire life has been one failure after another. Depression started at 12 after I was molested alcohol and weed were my friend. I became an addict and just kept failing and hurting. I always wondered why I was such a rotten Apple in such a good family. I was just a bad selfish person but as a sober adult I'd begun to see many of my bad traits in my mother and angrily realized that it may not be all my fault that I have some of my nasty ways from my mother and she comes off sweet and innocent. She is very controlling and manipulative. She always tells me im too sensitive or that she was just joking. When I told her that I thought she was insensitive and controlling she said " I am not" and she meant it. When I do something she doesn't like she ignores me, won't even look at me. Im 53 and if I happened to spend the night at a friend's house when I come in she wont look at me or speak to me for at least 2 days. I asked why she did that to me and she said " in my time that wasn't acceptable." Wtf? She treats us all like we're 12 and she's THE MOTHER. I know that I've put my mother threw a lot and have felt guilty to this day I'm by far no Angel. But wasn't she supposed to protect me? She never told my dad who I loved so dearly. My dad would've done something, he would've protected me. This house is so so dysfunctional but not to her of course. Im the one with the problem. Im isolating in my room now ( my kids are with my ex , their dad for a few nights) because I don't want to see HER. Im angry and hurt. My life could've been different if she wasn't ( ashamed of what happened to me!) I want to confront her and hear her admit it and tell me why and apologize which she rarely does. Also my sister is transgender but never transitioned because of things my mother said to her . She could've had a wife and a family which she deserved. She is very kind but emotionally a mess like me. My other sister that lives here with her second husband and 22 year old daughter cannot speak up for herself and at all costs never rock the boat to the point of dysfunction. My oldest brother married a narcissistic, mean controlling and could be dangerous woman. Divorced her then remarried her. They live together still but have two separate lives. And last but not least my sweet brother Jay. He is older (65) than me (they're all older than me) is in a nursing home because alcoholism, low self esteem and depression that's his forever home. He's not stupid, just mentally shut down. I took my mother to see him once ( never again) she treated him and talked to him like he was a complete idiot. Jay and are really the only ones that openly showed our anger at MOTHER and one huge reason is because she treated us like we're 12 years old. I have so much more to say but I don't even know that it will help. Please help with any advice. Confront her or suck it up?

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Dear 'it'sallinmyhead,

Your post struck a chord with my, so deeply.

I want you to know something, VERY fundamental about abuse: IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT--REPEAT--IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT.

As children we should be able to trust and know we are loved by the adults in our lives, esp by our parents.

Sometimes, in the name of keeping up appearances, parents sugarcoat the 'nasty stuff' and play like it's all fine and good. We grow up thinking, 'well it must be ME then.'

It's not you. It's your abuser.

My mother knew my OB abused not just me, but my YB and YS too. We didn't know that the other sibs had been molested until just a few years ago. It was all swept under the rug. We were all suffering, alone and silent.

I was probably in my 30's before I could 'go there' in my thinking. And of course, I blamed myself. I had pretty efficiently blocked out the abuse by going totally dark for a few years-I have almost no memories of Jr High School--it's as if those 3 years hadn't happened.

Therapy saved me. It took years before I was able to 'go back' and relive and talk about the abuse. My therapist walked me through it and brought me out the other side. I no longer let OB have any space in my head. He is dead, has been for about 7 years. I was so grateful when he died--it just meant he could no longer HURT anyone.

I did tell my parents, maybe 17 years ago--mother just said "oh why do you always have to be the trouble maker?" and she refused to even broach it with me again. Daddy held me in his arms and wept. Had he known, he would have protected me, but there were not words in my vocabulary at the age of 6, or 10 or even 16 to speak what was going on. (the really horrible stuff stopped when my YS 'came of age' so to speak) and after that, he just was cruel and inappropriately touching me and countless other girls. He was expelled from Medical School for gross sexual misconduct--and still, my mother had him on a pedestal. It was truly sickening.

Because of this--and the fact mother simply refused to talk about it---I'll never have closure from her. She just turned 90 and there is no way she could carry on a conversation about the past. It is what it is. Our family had to be 'perfect' and a sexual deviant in the family? Not in OUR family.

Mother blames me for the fact OB stopped coming to all family get-togethers--well, my Dh and my brothers were ready to beat the sh&t out of him if they saw him. No, he was NOT welcome. We had small grandchildren and I lived in fear that he would get to one of them.

PLEASE--get some therapy. I went off and on for 15 years before I finally was able to face my past abuse.

Don't expect mom or anyone else to listen to you or believe you. Just search for peace in your own heart.

I have not forgiven my OB. I don't think I am capable of doing so. I hate what he did to me, taking the supposed 'security' of a family and exploiting it.

It would be good if you could get out of this living arrangement. Is that possible?
My heart really aches for you. That emotional pain is so awful--but there is healing and happiness out there.

As far as my relationship with my mother--I really don't have one. Our mothers could be twins-the way you describe your mom, sounds just like mine.

Please take care of yourself, OK? You are NOT alone in this.

Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to Midkid58

What do you want to accomplish if you confront her? And why now? Perhaps counseling would be better? Because suppose you confront her.....what if she denies knowing? She’s already done it once. Or worse, blames you for it? Are you prepared for more emotional trauma in the event the confrontation doesn’t produce the results you want? I think you need to think this through and decide what it is you really want here. If you just need to let her know how her actions affected you and how you feel and you don’t want anything to come of the confrontation, then go for it. But if you expect something in return.....then seriously consider the affect not getting what you want will have on you.
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Reply to worriedinCali

I can relate to you on some of the points you mentioned. My story is different and I completely cut off my father for a decade or more and now have very limited contact with him.

Your mother sounds like a narcissist. She is fundamentally incapable of acknowledging the harm she has caused you. Just as my father is incapable of recognizing that it is not normal to hire a lawyer to represent a man who tried to murder your daughter.

Parents like ours can present a pretty face to the outside world, why butter would not melt in their mouth... But those of us that grew up in an abusive home know different. Our parents are incapable of apologizing, they are incapable of being loving parents and nothing you do will change that.

It would be much safer for you and your poor children who are being exposed to her abuse to move out. It may be hard financially on you, but you deserve to be treated well and your mother will never do that.

I also strongly suggest therapy. I had 3 years of intensive therapy and still get spot checks to make sure I am on the track I need to be on for me.
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Reply to Tothill

I agree that even at this late date therapy will help. It won’t be easy since you’ve lived with this for decades; there is no magic pill or words. 50 years after the fact, I found out my grandfather (Mom’s father) had committed suicide. I was a mature 12. Whoever in my family knew about it kept it a secret and I grew up believing he’d had a heart attack. I was devastated and furious with my mother for never telling me even after I became an adult. But at that point she had dementia and was in a facility so confronting her was a moot point.

Perhaps a new beginning would help you? Get away from the people who remind you of this trauma. Move out on your own. Figure out how to do it and just do it. Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. Good luck. I understand how you feel.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

Dear Itsallinmyhead

Your post describes a psychologically manipulative and covertly abusive mother, who presents a perfectly kind image to the public.

NOTHING was your fault, that type of mother often drives their offspring and/or anyone within their custody into suicide, addictions and even schizophrenic symptoms, due to the mother's repeated lies, covert abuses, and re-writings of history.

That type of mother will never apologize, and will claim, that she is/was clueless. Any sort of confrontation will back-fire and could result in her staging something to "prove" that you're a bad person.

Usually that type of mother will have a golden child whom she will bestow all gestures of kindness and accolades. You were repeatedly denied love and kindness, something normal mothers do automatically.

It's important to understand that she deliberately mistreated you, she knew exactly what she was and is doing. And, of course she knew you were molested, she knew about every bit of that abuse.

That type of personality is quite dangerous and has zero f*cks to give and has zero lows and enjoys sabotaging, everything; careers, relationships, lives, etc.

Think back on everything, knowing that she knew exactly what she was doing and what was happening. Things will start to click. Especially those weird things you could never explain.

Did an entire group of people hate you before you met them, or did a school principal give you a harder time than most, when you walked into a room did everyone cringe at your presence? ALWAYS that stuff happens due to a covert psychologically manipulative person slandering the hated person. That's the number one game of a covertly abusive person; sabotaging as much as possible, including sibling relationships.

So sorry that you had a manipulative asshat for a mother, who was kind to strangers in public, yet truly not kind to you, whilst knowing how to covertly control you, through gestures and tones, to ensure your compliance.
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Reply to Screennamed


I confronted my mother about the abuse that she and my brother did to me. Like you, I was sexually abuse as a child by family friends and my brother. My brother emotionally and physically abused me when ever he got the chance and my mother never told my dad or stopped my brother from doing it. In fact, I just found or figured out that my mother knew I was being sexuality abused and did nothing about it. She herself has always taken things from me that I loved...people, pets, or just things that made me happy. Her whole goal was to hurt me because she never wanted me. And like your mother, mine has a PHD in passive-aggressive behavior.

Your mother is broken and she raise broken people. But you don't have to stay broken. You can heal from this.

Sucking it up is not the answer nor will it do you and your daughters any good!

1) You could confront your mother and it may help you to spit-up all the pain; however, your mother will not say she is sorry nor will she have any answers to why she let the abuse continue or may not even knowledge what it cost you. She may not even remember anything about it. So why do it? Because it is "Your Truth" and this is about you and not her. Jesus spoke the truth despite what people thought or how it may them feel. I did confront my mother and of course, she gave me a fake sorry with fake tears, but that's ok because it felt like the weight of it was off my shoulders. I had no expectations from her and of course, she had no real answers. But I took back my power. Yes, I am still hurting, but I am also healing as well. It takes time to heal from everything that we have gone through with all the different abuses and having selfish mothers.

2) You can write mother a letter. I know this may seem odd, but it is another way to get the hurt out. I find this to be helpful in the past. When my dad died and I found out that my mother told me lies about him and I believed her. I felt...well I have no words for how I felt. I wrote my dad a letter; it took me about 3 hrs typing through all the tears, but when I was done--I was done. I felt peace! The letter isn't for your mother to read. It is just for you to get your feelings out and you can go back and re-read it if you need to or lock it away somewhere to never be seen again or burn it if that makes you feel better.

Some how or another, you have to get your hurt feelings out and take back your power.

You really need to talk to a professional to help you unravel all of your feelings and thoughts and plus help you to get your life back on track.

Midkid is right. The abuse was not your fault.

You did not fail! Whatever has gone wrong in your life is not your fault. We can not be raised by selfish, passive-aggressive, mean, hateful moms and be perfect normal happy human beings. We are products of our environment--period!

Stop telling yourself that you failed or is a failure because your not. I don't know what your beliefs are but what I do know is that God loves you and HE has always loved you before you were even born. And HE is with you...waiting for you to call onto HIM.

Your are not alone my friend! Sending you lots of hugs!!!💗💗💗
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Shell38314

You are living in a house full of bad memories, with people who are part of the memories. Many women ‘cover up’ abuse by fathers, step-fathers, brothers, uncles – you name it – because they are afraid of what will happen (particularly to them) if the family falls apart. After my own marriage broke up when my daughters were 6 & 8, I resolved never to live with a partner until they were adults. Working in welfare I had heard just too many stories about abuse of pretty little girls in those circumstances. Incest is far too common, and bringing in people from outside the ‘incest’ taboo screen makes it even more likely.

After nearly 40 years, I would doubt if anything will ever take away the pain. Forgetting may ease it a little, and that can’t happen when you are confronted by the memories daily. Can you put your energy into finding somewhere you can start a new life, without it circling around your mother, her house and your own sister’s past?
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Reply to MargaretMcKen

From your description of your mother, do you really expect the desired response from her? As suggested in previous answers, you need to work on getting a place of your own with your children. While working on that, seek therapy. Look for low cost therapists in your area. Many cities, towns offer therapy based on income.
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Reply to peace416

I’ve had a difficult upbringing, not exactly the same story but I too was wondering if I should talk to my dad about what happened and how I felt, just to get it off my chest as I wasn’t sure he knew how difficult things used to be for me. He’s 81 now and has dementia. So maybe I shouldn’t have brought it up. I don’t know what I was expecting but one day I just started talking about it. It’s as if he had lived in a different household. As I expected he had no clue how I felt all those years. All he could say now was “that’s too bad”. So I don’t think my telling him really helped me but I was worried I needed to speak my peace before he passed for my own sake.
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Reply to Martz06

There were many, many players in your very complex history. Why does your mother get all the blame?

I can sympathise with the anger you're going through, mind; I went through a very similar set of feelings myself during my most active caregiving years. Every failure, oversight, omission, mistake mother had ever been guilty of bubbled up and boiled over. I even tried to do something about it - by taking *mother* to a therapist! Dead waste of time and money that was, but it seemed worth a go...

In the end, you have to make this about what is going to make you feel better and help you change whatever you feel needs changing in your life. Considering the likely outcome of a confrontation with your mother - she isn't going to break down and apologize, far more likely she won't even begin to grasp your point of view - I can't imagine that it will help.

I think saying it out does help, though, don't you? You can use us, on the forum; you can look for a good, constructive, outcomes-focused therapist. You can write it down. You can read round the subject. You can mind-map your next steps. But...

By the way. Does your 86 year old mother have any care needs?
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Reply to Countrymouse

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