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#337032 - 07/27/10 10:12 PM Parents confronting my abuser
Moortje Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/20/09
Posts: 104
Loc: Oregon
Hey guys,

Hoping I can get your feedback on something.

After further disclosure to my parents regarding the abuse I suffered at the hands of my grandfather and cousin (who is 3 years older), my mom has personally asked my permission to do something about it.

My grandfather is dead, but my cousin is alive and well. His mother is my dad's sister. Because of him, I avoid practically all family functions with my dad's family, and in the 10 or so years since the abuse took place, I've become something of the pariah in the family, while my cousin has become the golden boy, despite chalking up one domestic violence-related divorce and another undoubtedly on the way (he's engaged).

After first disclosing back in December that he had done "something", but without going into details, my parents still chose to entertain his company while at family functions (functions that I would either not attend or immediately leave as soon as he showed up).

But after explaining to my parents the extent of the sexual abuse, they want to confront my cousin on their own. They want to tell him they know what he's done, and that he is no longer a part of our family, and they are severing all ties and disowning him.

I feel conflicted about this. I know what a big thing "confrontation" is, and to say I'm not ready to confront my cousin is an understatement. Not only am I not "ready" to, I have no desire to do so. Part of me wishes he would just die and go away like my grandfather did, but that isn't going to happen.

I don't want them to confront him and say those things, and have it get back to me, and I can't see how it wouldn't. Either he would try to contact me (about the last thing I would ever want), or more likely, someone in my family (other cousins, grandparents, etc) would approach me to get my "side" of the story, something I'm not comfortable telling just anyone. And with that comes the whole specter of people choosing sides, and not being believed.

I also wonder whether my parents grasp just how much of a bridge-burning act this would be. This could rip a large part of dad's family apart.

On the other hand, in my heart I know my cousin doesn't deserve to get away with what he's done. He sexually, verbally and physically abused me for years. My anger tells me I would like to see the insulated, comfortable lie he's built for himself come crashing down. I would like to see some Earth scorched, and if the damage done would be in any way ruinous to him, I'd probably say go for it. It isn't right for me to have suffered and been the ostracized one.

As you can see, I am conflicted. I suppose my true feelings fall somewhere in the middle. I know I'm not ready for any confrontation myself, but should I deny my parents the ability to act on their anger? I guess I'm not ready to defend myself if any of the fallout is directed at me.

Any input would be appreciated, I know this is complicated stuff.

~Matty


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#337040 - 07/27/10 10:36 PM Re: Parents confronting my abuser [Re: Moortje]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6852
Loc: USA
Matty -

It looks like you are already aware of the issues: what's at stake for the different parties. That is good. It shows your sensitivity to the situation and even to your own emotions.

Could your cousin be prosecuted? If so, you might like to collect some good legal advice in advance. Maybe you said and I missed it. Would you want that (emotionally? rationally?)

Would your parents be able to talk this over with you? It seems like they are unusually open. You really need to get their input. Especially from your father since his family structure stands to suffer.

Confrontation must be done correctly. It is hard to do. If done impetuously it could do damage. There are guidelines here in MS about it. I think Ken Singer has addressed the topic.

It sounds like you already have a pretty strong family structure to allow you to proceed this far. You seem to be on the right path. It could lead to healing for you.

Allen

pufferfish whistle


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#337043 - 07/27/10 10:56 PM Re: Parents confronting my abuser [Re: Moortje]
Mulligan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/15/10
Posts: 94
Loc: USA
Oh man, bring down the thunder. Your parents probably feel terrible for letting this happen to you. Better to protect you late than never. I say let them hang him high! Just my thoughts. May or may not be worth a flip! And one more thing, yur parents won't be the bridge burners, it was your cousin years ago! He is responsible for any subsequent divides.
Your brother,
Billy

_________________________
Because I never give up the fight!

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#337048 - 07/27/10 11:16 PM Re: Parents confronting my abuser [Re: Mulligan]
kidneythis Offline


Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1558
First read the guide here http://www.malesurvivor.org/ArchivedPages/singer3.html with your parents. The first part is about Disclosure the second part is on Confrontation.
Maybe all three of you can consult with a therapist.

Next consider what Allen said about legal precautions for possible reparations or just making him officially criminally or civily liable for what he did. I'd include your parents in this as well. They could give very important information about how you changed during the time it was happening and after.

You are very lucky to have parents like them. Try to remember that when things go dark in the ebb and flow of recovery.

Also try to consider how raw this is for them. Its as if it just happened to them since this is the first they know of it.

I personally think you may be surprised by your whole family's reaction. Its quite likely from my experience that the withdrawal you fell into was misinterpretted negatively. For some reason the look I easily identify as Trauma induced fear is percieved/interpreted by "normal" people as something that indicates bad character. I have never figured this out.
Anyway not knowing what this guy has done to you and probably did to other people combined with his outgoing nature they think well of him. Given the facts I think they might readjust their points of view.
If your parents are this level headed and smart enough to ask you first, I would think others in your extended family are also similarly level headed. These things are taught not something one is born with.

Anyway make the decision that is best for you and you know you can live with. You can always change your mind later on down the road.





Edited by kidneythis (07/27/10 11:20 PM)
_________________________
As Mark Twain once quipped, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

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#337053 - 07/28/10 12:59 AM Re: Parents confronting my abuser [Re: kidneythis]
onlyakid Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 1552
Loc: New Jersey
Matty,
I think its great that your parents are asking you first how you feel about them doing this. This is your decision, when, if and how you want to confront him (whether that be thru your parents or not). I think you need to talk to your therapist to discuss this.

Jason

_________________________
"Being with people that understand you...Priceless"

"and i don't want the world to see me, cause i don't think that they'd understand"

"You don't know what love is...you just do as your told"

"My life has changed. What you take as a simple thing, is not so simple for me anymore"


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#337073 - 07/28/10 09:13 AM Re: Parents confronting my abuser [Re: onlyakid]
Moortje Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/20/09
Posts: 104
Loc: Oregon
Thanks for the advice so far, guys. Can anyone share some of their own experiences with confrontation, and the circumstances under which it transpired?

I'm a little taken aback by how hard and conflicting this is for me. I don't know what I really want, or what would be best. I feel wishy-washy, because so much of it depends on how things transpire and the effect they have, all of which can't be predicted beforehand. At best, those things can be "prepared" for. I don't feel prepared, not sure when I can get prepared (after over a year without one, I'm seeing a new psychiatrist in a couple weeks), and not really sure I want to be prepared for such an unpleasant task. I tend to avoid unpleasant things.

Confrontation with my cousin is genuinely not something I even considered when I started to address the abuse issues, and when the idea was brought up to me by others in recovery, I was dismissive. Now I find myself in the situation where my parents are the ones who are indignant and incensed and want my cousin to pay, and I hesitate to stop them.

If nothing else, I do feel a sense of gratitude to have found them to be so strongly in my corner. They're chomping at the bit to go to bat for me, but I also know they wouldn't act without my blessing.

~Matty


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#337074 - 07/28/10 09:14 AM Re: Parents confronting my abuser [Re: onlyakid]
sono Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/09
Posts: 1069
Hey Matty,

First let me acknowledge what great parents it sounds like you have! We know many cases in which that is not true.

I would echo the guys who say talk to your T of course about this, and maybe there's a way you and your parents can get on the same page with this. Maybe they can get their heads around waiting and maybe you can work towards it happening.

From everything you say about what you DO want, it does sound like confronting is the key to that, his death aside. The things you don't want are understandably part of the process and risk involved in getting there. To one of the things you mentioned, remember you own your story. If others in the family would want to get "your side of the story", well that remains up to you what and if you tell them anything. No obligations there!

best of luck,

Kevin

_________________________
the family
the perp

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#337088 - 07/28/10 11:01 AM Re: Parents confronting my abuser [Re: sono]
kidneythis Offline


Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1558
My Experience with confrontation and ignoring advice to be careful.
I assumed, in spite of advice, that I could handle it. I called my aunt, we had been talking by phone since I had started to recall things from early childhood but I didn't mention that, and at the time I didn't yet remember the CSA she had put me through.
These conversation were helping me to remember things about my childhood, because when she spoke about the past I had for the first time since they had all abandoned me as a toddler, some base to judge my life by.
This brought up long dormant information and memory of my life in her home. I remembered one particular event. The family wanted me to not be able to recall it or tell it clearly and she was told to make sure. SHe started what became my lifelong battle with being confused by and unable to read people properly. She kept telling me stuff that seemed wrong and denying other things I knew to be right.
This is the event that I decided to confront her about as I had assumed by her talking to me that she would repent and help me to overcome this.

I had been told not to by a T who was also denying me care to avoid having to implicate the people who triggered me to remembering this old stuff.
I did it, I called her and after some formalities I brought it up. The first thing she did was to take a short sharp breath and say "you remember that?" man that made me hopeful. Then I continued saying what I recalled and she regained herself and just denied it. SOmewhere in there she tried to distract/divert me by saying in mock shock "X hit you". This did not work for once as I had finally broken the hold she had on me to involuntarily trust her.
Before that call ended she managed to say some fairly creepy evil stuff to me that has stuck, in no particular order; "a lot of bad things went on in that home that the world will never know, and no one will care if they do come out", "no one cares" "you won't be believed". These remarks and her first reaction "you remember that" which was very sincere and ungaurded are what helped me to remember quite a bit more including her sexually abusing and torturing me and a failed attempt to mutilate me that has left me injured and unable to sexually function w/o some pretty excrutiating pain.

So that is what a person who was unwisely confident in himself confronmting an abuser by phone w/o any help got out of it. I'd rather if given the choice now have said nothing and continued talking to her so I could have more family information.
Right after that I sent a letter to the Mother Superior over yet another aunt who tortured my right hand very seriously to try to make sure I couldn't ever work with my hands or be like my dad as I wanted to. I asked her to get her to confess and make amends to me.
In some perverse logic she meant to force me to become a writer. I never did write at all until I started to remember, I don't have command of the language necessary, which is an effect of the abuse I was put through to cover up the abuse she and my maternal family inflicted on me. Irony?
Anyway all that effort got me was a letter telling me they would pray for me.

My mothers sisters and mother hated me. This was made worse by my grandfather loving me so much. He only had daughter's and I was a really good kid. From here I can't tell what was deeper the hatred of my father which translated into abuseing me the apple of my father's eye at the time, or the jealousy of my grandfather's love for me.

I don't think it was as bad as it could have been but it didn't help much. I'd change it if I could.

_________________________
As Mark Twain once quipped, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

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#337144 - 07/28/10 08:49 PM Re: Parents confronting my abuser [Re: kidneythis]
Moortje Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/20/09
Posts: 104
Loc: Oregon
Wow, kidneythis, thanks so much for having the courage to share all of that. I'm so sorry it turned out to be such a negative experience for you.

~Matty


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#337198 - 07/29/10 10:49 AM Re: Parents confronting my abuser [Re: Moortje]
kidneythis Offline


Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1558
At least I don't have to feel phony and weird from all the sex vibe coming over the phone from her.

_________________________
As Mark Twain once quipped, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

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