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Confrontations? 
26th-Nov-2006 07:51 pm
sara of the woods
I'm wondering if anyone here has confronted abusers and, if so, what your experiences were. I'm really considering confronting my emotionally abusive mother because I'm at my breaking point with her.


I've pretty much decided that I want to confront my mother and say to her all the things I've been so terrified to say for so many years. It will either be the end of the relationship or the beginning of healing the relationship, and the choice will be hers. I've tried and tried and tried to make things right, and I've tried all the dance steps I know with her. I have nothing left to lose in the relationship anymore. I will put out there what I need to say; what my mother does with it after that will be up to her.

Ideally, I'd like to do this in my therapist's office with her present. My therapist has been on me lately to say things to my mother that I haven't said instead of holding them inside. I'm thinking I will write down everything I want to say beforehand so I don't get so caught up in the moment. Maybe take only half the session for the confrontation and the other half to send my mother out so I can collapse afterward and then process what happened. I dunno. I'm going to talk to my therapist next session and see what she has to say about it. I'm just too tired of dealing with my mother's crap to keep swallowing what I really want to say. However my mother chooses to react, at least it will be a step forward in my healing.


Sara
Comments 
27th-Nov-2006 01:57 am (UTC)
Wow, it sounds like you are so strong, to want to confront your mother.

I hope that it leads to healing for you.
27th-Nov-2006 06:36 am (UTC)
I think you need to be careful that in healing yourself, you aren't completely ignoring her needs too.

"Maybe take only half the session for the confrontation and the other half to send my mother out so I can collapse afterward and then process what happened."

What support will be in place for her at that point in time?

I think it's admirable that you'd like to confront her, but we can't be callous with other people while taking care of ourselves.
27th-Nov-2006 06:45 am (UTC)
That would be her responsibility to find her own support. A large part of the problem for me was that she made me into her support for years and years, when I was too young to know that it wasn't right.

I can't be responsible for providing for anyone else's needs but my own at this point. That's not my responsibility, and it's irresponsible for my mother to expect me to do that. She won't even provide for *my* needs at this point. If she has her own emotional needs, she has a therapist of her own that she can go to to deal with it. It's *not* my responsibility, nor should it be.

Sara
27th-Nov-2006 06:47 am (UTC)
I'm not saying it's your job, but making sure that she goes with someone or has some preparation is only fair. "Mom, I am asking you t meet with my therapist to talk about some hard issues," would be fair enough. It gives her a heads up anyway.

I know though that with some people, if you simmply confront them without making sure they are safe too (this should be your therapist's role) they aren't going to be able to deal with it, which is ultimately what YOU need. Otherwise you coud talk to a picture. You need her to hear you.
27th-Nov-2006 06:54 am (UTC)
For things like that I go through my therapist--she will call my mother and tell her there are some issues that need to be worked out in a therapy session.

But my basic sentiment is that I don't owe anything to an abuser. I don't think we'd be having this conversation at all if I were talking about confronting, say, my father, who prostituted me out to all kinds of men when he wasn't abusing me himself. Emotional abuse is just as severe and life-impacting as any other type of abuse.

Sara
27th-Nov-2006 06:55 am (UTC)
I'd have the same discussion.
I don't believe that being abused by someone gives us license to abuse them in return. I believe we need to respect ourselves more than that.
27th-Nov-2006 07:07 am (UTC)
Saying the things I need to say to my mother isn't the same as abusing her. I'm not talking about a screaming cursing throwing things blowout like she does. I'm talking about, "You said this and did this, and it's something I have to live with every day. I've tried this, this, and this to make you happy, but it never seems to work. I've bent over backwards trying to repair this relationship, but you don't seem willing to change. Well, I won't be treated like that anymore. Come talk to me once you've actually changed."

That is *not* the same as abusing the abuser. That's getting out in the open the things that I couldn't say for years for fear of being kicked out of the house, abandoned, cut off from the rest of the family, or sent to live with my father. That's reclaiming my life and my relationship [or lack thereof] with my mother.

Sara
27th-Nov-2006 07:09 am (UTC)
I think it's wonderful that you're asserting your feeelings. I'm not saying you are doing anything wrong. PLease don't interpret it as such. Yu need to do what's right for you, and I hope that it leads to some healing for both of you.
27th-Nov-2006 07:16 am (UTC)
That's my hope too, that there will be healing for both of us. But I can only control and be responsible for my own healing.

I guess what you said really touched on some deep issues for me--mainly the lie that I am responsible for my mother's well-being. It's something I'm working hard to undo: to teach myself that the only person I am responsible for is myself. It's been such a screwed-up relationship that I've been daughter, mother, best friend, surrogate spouse, confidant, and therapist to my mother since I was five or six.

I have such twisted feelings of responsibility and obligation to her that it really threw me off-balance to interpret your comment the way I instantly interpreted it. What I heard was, "You are responsible for protecting your mother." I know that's not what you meant, but that was how I instantly read into it. And that brought up so much anger and resentment at her, too, for never having protected me from my father's abuse and for being abusive to me herself.

I'm not upset with you, and I apologize if I sounded that way. I think it was actually a helpful dialogue, this, as far as better understanding some of the complexities of my mother issues. Thank you.

Sara
27th-Nov-2006 02:12 pm (UTC)
I have a very similar relationship with my mother. I've been considering the confrontation thing with her for a while now, but I'm terrified to do it. Good for you for taking this step. I hope it helps you (and her)!
27th-Nov-2006 07:01 am (UTC)
i agree with you. i think survivors don't owe anything to abusers. it's for the most part, abusers fault that survivors struggle with all this sh*t.
27th-Nov-2006 07:10 am (UTC)
No, we don't owe them anything. I'm not going try to hurt her because I believe that is wrong. But I'm not going to swallow what I need to say--what I have needed to say for years--just because it might hurt her feelings. I've been doing that for years, and it hasn't worked so well. It's certainly not working well for me at present.

I'm not just changing the dance steps, I'm changing the music and the shoes too.

Sara
27th-Nov-2006 07:21 am (UTC)
i, too, believe it's wrong hurting someone in return for an abuse (and even hurting someone who hurt as not in abusive way is wrong too, if it makes sense). i wouldn't do this on purpose, too.

and i think you're right for wanting to take another step in your own healing. you deserved to be at peace with yourself and your life.
27th-Nov-2006 06:54 am (UTC)
i tried to talk to my parents, but they don't see their fault at all. no matter what i would say, they thinks i made up everything. but they're alcoholics, so i've just given up on it long time ago. other abusers, i didn't talk to.

i think it's a good idea to write it all down and talk with your mother on a session with therapist. i hope things will go well for you, and even if your mother won't understand, you will find a way to your own peace. lots of hugs.
27th-Nov-2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
For a very different reason than waywardwidget, I'd also recommend that your mother have some support available - even if it's just your therapist there to talk it through with her. While you are not responsible for her emotions by any means, having support there for her to deal with her emotions will make it safer (possibly) for you.

Sometimes, when abusers, or abusers' accomplices are confronted, they have the 'wounded animal in a corner' reaction and lash out. So having your mother know there is some support there for her could lessen that type of reaction and make this confrontation much more of a discussion between adults. You deserve to have a discussion, after all you've been through.

I think the therapist's office is a great place to do this if your therapist can provide a time that works for the both of you. That way you are in a safe place, you know that you will have protection (both physically and emotionally), and hopefully your mother will feel supported enough by the environment to treat you with respect during the whole thing.

I had very very poor results when I confronted my parents on more than one occasion, but my most peaceful confrontation was done with my therapist
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