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May 13, 2009
Part 1 of 4: Confrontations and why they don't usually work...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Shanelle, you've attempted to discuss this situation with your mother on more than one occasion. Each time she responds in an inappropriate manner. Further confrontations will unlikely yield the result you are looking for. It is highly unlikely she will ever take any kind of ownership in what happened. Nothing you say or do will change your mother. She is who and what she is. The only person who can change, Shanelle, is you. You are the ONLY person you can control. You are looking for acknowledgment from your mother. You are looking for her to admit that she did something wrong. But you cannot wait for that to happen in order to move forward. Moving forward must come from within you.

Typically, when we feel the need to confront, we are wanting answers, we want to know "why". And while there are never any appropriate answers or reasons "why" we still want to hear them. Or at least we think we do. When we don't hear them, the need festers. I'm going to suggest an exercise I use whenever I find myself stuck because I cannot reconcile my position with that of someone else. Please keep an open mind here, Shanelle; what I am about to recommend can be very eye-opening.

See Part 2: An exercise... below.

A Video Reading by Darlene Barriere
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

May 13, 2009
Part 2 of 4: An exercise...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Find a pad of paper and a pen. For 5 minutes, take on the position of the person you do not agree with. I know...this will be difficult...please try it anyway. For 5 minutes, argue your mother's point. Take a breath, Shanelle. There really is purpose in this exercise. Regardless of how you personally feel, for 5 minutes write down every conceivable reason your mother might be right. I'm not saying she is right; I'm asking you to put yourself in her shoes for just 5 minutes. This will require that you be distant from the emotions of the moment, but you can do that for 5 minutes. One of your reasons could be that your mother did not understand that touching you the way he did was actually sexual assault. I will acknowledge that as you come up with reasons, you may well have more questions associated with each one. But for now, just keep writing.

After 5 minutes (sometimes I get so carried away, 5 minutes turns into 25) re-read each and every item on your list. One at a time, ponder whether or not that item could be true. I'm not saying that any of it IS true; I'm asking you to consider the possibility that it might be true. I find it helpful when the emotions are running high to put myself in "logical" almost scientific mode rather than going into "emotional" mode, but only for the duration of the exercise. It's not intended to remove you from your emotions long term.

Going through such an exercise is a way to offer an explanation. It is not...I repeat, it is NOT an excuse. This is a way to find reasoning (answers) that you are not getting from a confrontation with your mother. I never recommend confrontations because they most often end in denials, minimizations and/or a finger of blame pointed toward you. Such confrontations serve to re-victimize the person who is looking for answers. But the exercise I'm suggesting here is a way to avoid a negative outcome with your mother.

See Part 3: Walking in the shoes of another... below.

A Video Reading by Darlene Barriere
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

May 13, 2009
Part 3 of 4: Walking in the shoes of another...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Shanelle, I have always found that when I put myself in the shoes of someone else, and then walk even a short distance in those shoes, that I am better able to be understanding. Perhaps this is a way for you to better understand your mother.

When I read what you have written about your mother, I see one of two little girls. One, a little girl who struggled throughout her own childhood to be recognized, to be acknowledged, but instead was rejected at every turn. She was always wrong. She could never do anything right. As a result, she has grown into a woman without self-esteem. A woman who feels she must destroy those around her in order to elevate her own status. A woman out of control. A woman with deep-seated anger and hostility.

Or two, a little girl who was given virtually everything, and had lessons that reinforced that others were always wrong and could never measure up to the person that she was. It's been my experience that the former is likely more true than the latter.

In all likelihood, your mother does not know how to treat others with dignity and respect because she never received it herself. She may well have married into an abusive or unfulfilling relationship (I don't know this to be the case...you are in a position of knowledge with regard to this) because of her lack of self-respect. Perhaps her lack of self-respect drove a wedge between her and her husband and he couldn't stand to stay in the relationship. But whether or not any of this is so, what IS so is that your mother's lack of self-respect, her lack of self-esteem has ultimately cost her a relationship with one of her precious daughters. I pity such a woman. My own mother was such a woman.

See Part 4: Moving forward... below.

A Video Reading by Darlene Barriere
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

May 13, 2009
Part 4 of 4: Moving forward...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Shanelle, moving forward is about understanding and compassion, both for you and your mother, as difficult as that can be to swallow. It is possible to be compassionate from a distance. I myself had to draw a line in the sand with my own mother when she tried to get me to leave my husband shortly after I got married. Her motive was control, as it had always been. I had to stand up and stop that, which meant she was no longer a part of my life. That distance was necessary to protect what I had achieved for myself, and in order to allow for my own healing to begin. I would say that that is the place you are at right now.

I do hope you'll find what I've suggested, at the very least, a place to start. I would also recommend some type of counselling in order to help you deal with the emotional residue that continues to linger. You're certainly worth that kind of help, Shanelle.

Thank you for sharing your story with my visitors and me.

A Video Reading by Darlene Barriere
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

May 14, 2009
new beginnings in your life.
by: maurice

Shanelle, you've taken one mighty step in the right direction by writing your story and your gut feelings to Darlene's site and to her many caring visitors who love each other from a safe distance anonymously. It is a powerful site knowing that Darlene's stewardship is first class. I know she's professional in all she shares and allows through in the many comments she receives. It is really the fact that she was abused and told her story that my admiration for her is high because she really and truly emphatises with each one's abuse story in total respect of the one beatiful person telling it. Shanelle be true to yourself learn from all that she has lovingly said to you in her commemts. Many a sister like you learned from the younger or indeed older sister who had a baby. so be grateful to your sister and love her and her baby. a child out of a child as a friend of mine put in to me when she was finishing her training to be a mid-wife when she phoned me one morning. I have just delievered a beautiful child from a child. Those teenage mothers are teachers too in their own right if we only love them enough to learn from them. Shanelle, be true to yourself, your family and friends and begin to LOVE yourself as you never really have up to now. New beginnings.

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stories on this site are true. While I cannot guarantee
this, I do try to balance the need for the submitter to be
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