Mother's Denial of Sexual Abuse

In The River of Forgetting, you talk about how your mom, "Myra", basically told you to forget about what your dad did to you as a child. How did that make you feel then and now? And how did you move on from it?
It made me feel crazy. What was I supposed to do with this huge betrayal? My feelings were not seen or heard and my reality was denied.

My mother’s pushing me away was intensely isolating. It meant that I was all alone, unprotected, and vulnerable. As a child, I coped with it by forgetting, just as she told me to, and becoming a good, obedient child who got the best of what the family offered in many ways. I developed a very competent fa├žade.

If only one adult had said, “That is wrong. You were hurt and I will protect you. Here, come cry on my shoulder. I will make sure it does not happen again.” If I had had one ally, my world would have been different.

How I moved on was, in a way, by going back and reliving it, but now there was a caring adult, my therapist, to hear me and to say the things no one had said in the past. I learned to love that child who had been violated, to listen for her voice, and to admire her strengths. As I learned to care for that inner child and for myself, the lighter, more creative parts of me came out to play, as well.

I also came to understand how very frightened my mother had been. I remember one role play where my therapist asked me to play my mother’s part and speak to the child. As Myra, I said, “That’s all I can do. I’m helpless. You have to forget it.” I felt her despair inside my body at that moment. I am grateful that my life is so much bigger and I have more power than she did.

This is an excerpt from an interview with Adam Adamson, on his site Zentactics, where he's asking about my book, The River of Forgetting: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse.


YelloDevil said...

You are strong. You are loved. You are ok.

Jane Rowan said...

Thanks, YelloDevil. You, too!