Comments for Am I obliged to report?

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 20, 2008
Helping your daughter
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Frank, I don't know what kind of relationship you currently have with this daughter, but if you are on speaking terms, if you do have a communicative relationship with her, you CAN help her through her emotional difficulties. Of course, there is no guarantee, but as her father, I'm sure you would try anything to help her through her pain. Just understand that it will require that you set aside your own pain over this first.

The reason your daughter is having problems is that she is stuck in the emotional mind-set of the little girl she was when she was being abused by her mother. She is dealing with the emotional trauma of the physical abuse, as well as the emotional abuse. She is dealing with issues of trust, betrayal and abandonment. What she needed as a child were a mother and father who would love and nurture and protect her. And when her mother chose to abuse her, she should have had the protection from her father, Frank.

I know you feel terrible about not being there for your daughters when they needed you; and I know you were not there to witness the abuse, but that isn't what your daughter needs to hear from you. What she needs to hear from you is that you SHOULD have been there to protect her. And that you SHOULD have stopped her mother from hurting her. And that you SHOULD have taken her away from such an abusive environment. In other words, the very things you feel terrible about are the very things she needs to hear you tell her. Because you see, Frank, when she was a little girl, she was helpless and needed her daddy to keep her safe from her mother. That's where part of her mind-set is right now.

You could help her immensely if you could open a dialogue with her about what you as her father SHOULD have done. Don't give reasons why you weren't there; save those for when she asks you WHY you weren't there. If and when she does ask this of you; yes, tell her, but make sure to include that those reasons do not change the fact that you SHOULD have known and that you SHOULD have kept her safe. Frank, you said that you were unaware of the abuse your ex inflicted on your girls because you were away travelling a lot during those years, yet you once restrained your ex from "beating the hell" out of your daughter, and you yourself were almost run down by this woman with a car. When your daughter does ask you why, you'll have to be prepared to answer for how it was that you DIDN'T know, especially given these two situations.

One more thing, Frank; don't ask for her forgiveness. I strongly recommend you read my Exchange with Jane page on this site to learn another way. I sincerely hope you and your daughter can heal together.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Am I obliged to report?

Return to Ask Darlene

Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge the child abuse
stories on this site are true. While I cannot guarantee
this, I do try to balance the need for the submitter to be
heard and validated with the needs of my visitors.



E-book: Victim To Victory

From Victim to Victory
a memoir

How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life

Read more...

Most Recent

  1. The reasons I've been absent

    Nov 14, 17 01:30 PM

    It's been another challenging time for me. As I actively work toward an online program for survivors of sexual abuse, I've also had to deal with issues at home. Hubby has been diagnosed with 2 types o…

    Read More

  2. I Self Medicate

    Jun 26, 17 04:40 PM

    When I was 3 we left Illinois for Arizona. The day we left my grandfather had a heart attack and died. I have one uncomfortable grainy memory of him. I

    Read More

  3. Ongoing Abuse

    Jun 06, 17 03:03 PM

    I'm 15/16. I am still getting abused physically, mentally and verbally by my family especially my mother. I don't understand what to do to overcome this.

    Read More

E-book: Victim To Victory

From Victim to Victory
a memoir

How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse and moved on with my life

Read more...