Good Mom, I struggle with distrust and her indirect betrayal

Roland

Confident
Something I've been thinking about is my relationship with my Mom. I love her dearly, and she's amazing. My dad was abusive. When I was three, he molested me for the first time. I woke up in the middle of the night and had shat myself, I woke my parents up. My Mom had just given birth to my sister, so she asked my dad to take care of me. He begrudgingly got up, complaining about it, and put me in the shower to wash me, and during that process of "washing" molested me.

My Mom homeschooled me, and I'm dyslexic and dyscalculic (either that, or childhood trauma and ptsd impaired my learning abilities. She traumatized me because sometimes it was "I'll help you, I know you're trying your best, let's go over it together" and sometimes it was "You knew this yesterday, you don't apply yourself, why don't you practice saying 'welcome to Walmart since you won't be able to make it past 3rd grade". She once threatened that she'd 'give me the belt' for bad grades (but never did).

My dad had a lot of rage, and he would look for things to fight about (it was always silly shit, like someone closing the door 'incorrectly' or the windows being left open with the air on). My Mom met that with the same amount of anger because he would provoke her until she got mad. My dad hit us with a belt for any type of crime, and it had little to do with our actions and more.

My Mom's parenting style was more reasonable and more connected to our behavior and more with the intent to teach us and less with the intent to 'dispel rage energy'. But nonetheless, she too yelled at us, hit us with a belt, etc, she just also came up with other discipline measures that made more sense.

When my sister got a bruise on her ass from my dad, my Mom put down a hard rule of 'no more belt or else'. My dad is stupid, but smart enough to know when my Mom isn't playing. So he never used a belt again, and neither did she. Somewhere along the line, she realized excessive negative attention, just makes kids act out more, so she stopped yelling and started a much healthier version of parenting. My dad never changed.

Years later, when I was a teenager, I told my Mom that I was remembering the abuse, and I couldn't handle it anymore. She helped me move out to live with a friend, and a year later she divorced him. When I told her about that specific memory of being molested in the shower, she said she was laying in bed, doubting whether I was safe. Some part of her knew what was happening, but she didn't get out of bed to check.

Now I have no contact with my dad, because he is the same ass person, and never changed. I live with my Mom. Our relationship is great, she's not like she used to be. But I can't justify the person I knew her to be when I was a child to the person I know her to be now. She gets offended when she realized that I don't really trust her. But tbh I can't. I love her dearly, but at the end of the day, she traumatized me too, I have flashbacks that involve her, and she intervened way too late. She allowed my dad to sexually harass me in front of her and other people. She didn't get out of bed, she turned a blind eye. She allowed him to yell at me for no reason and hit me with a belt. She, even herself, hit me with a belt.

Although we have a great relationship now, I don't want to talk to her about it, because she was in a toxic marriage with my dad for twenty years, and she knows damn well that she should have done something different to protect us. So bringing it up is just rubbing it in her face. Bringing up the fact that she traumatized me in school, won't change anything. Telling her that she's one of the demons in my flashbacks, would make her feel awful, and I know she doesn't deserve shit. She has really softened and has become a great person.

Does anyone else have this problem? How do you deal with trauma from a good person? It's easier with my dad because he is a bad person, he is completely cut out of my life. My Mom is good, but she made many mistakes in the past, that she no longer makes. Because of the damage I have, I don't feel comfortable relying on her or trusting her, even though she is now trustworthy and reliable.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Do you have a therapist?
These internal battles are really challenging.

Sounds like your mum has taken responsibility for what she did, but there is also a limit to that. I've. Guilt and defensiveness now get in the way of fully hearing about the impact she had/has on you? I'm saying that not to criticise her, but that's how it reads. It must be incredibly hard to fully and totally hear and respond to the pain she caused you, so it is understandable she wants it all to be fine now.
But it is also totally understandable that you have things to work through given you had no safety or limited safety from her, and your dad, growing up.

Sometimes it's about healing a relationship through how we hold things. If that relationship has it's limits, we need to work through our trauma separate from them and within ourselves. If that makes sense.

You say you don't trust her. What does that mean to you? What is it that you don't trust? And what is it that you need from her in terms of trust? Because you're an adult now (I'm assuming!) and I wonder if this sense of trust and what you need is something child you is saying. Or what this means for you.

Maybe you are still angry and there is anger and grief and sadness to work through about your mum. All valid and understandable feelings.
 

Roland

Confident
Do you have a therapist?
These internal battles are really challenging.

Sounds like your mum has taken responsibility for what she did, but there is also a limit to that. I've. Guilt and defensiveness now get in the way of fully hearing about the impact she had/has on you? I'm saying that not to criticise her, but that's how it reads. It must be incredibly hard to fully and totally hear and respond to the pain she caused you, so it is understandable she wants it all to be fine now.
But it is also totally understandable that you have things to work through given you had no safety or limited safety from her, and your dad, growing up.

Sometimes it's about healing a relationship through how we hold things. If that relationship has it's limits, we need to work through our trauma separate from them and within ourselves. If that makes sense.

You say you don't trust her. What does that mean to you? What is it that you don't trust? And what is it that you need from her in terms of trust? Because you're an adult now (I'm assuming!) and I wonder if this sense of trust and what you need is something child you is saying. Or what this means for you.

Maybe you are still angry and there is anger and grief and sadness to work through about your mum. All valid and understandable feelings.
I don't have a therapist.

Yeah, she takes responsibility, but she prefers to believe that I'm better than I am. It hurts her to know I'm f*cked up.

I think you're definitely right about needing to work through to separate from her, because she has a lot of shit to work through too.

As far as trust, you're probably right that it's actually my inner child (hard to identify in the moment though). For example, if she gives me advice on something, and I don't agree with it, I assume she doesn't know what's good for me or doesn't understand. Sometimes, there's a part of me that thinks she's going to flip out, get mad, or take away my privacy. But yes I am an adult so that doesn't make sense.
 

Rorster93

Confident
I don't have any answers but I am reading and listening. I agree that it might be the inner child that does not trust. Trust to me is a feeling that comes and goes. Some moments I trust, other moments I distrust. I'm not sure if that is relevant to how you're feeling though.
 

Roland

Confident
Thank you
I don't have any answers but I am reading and listening. I agree that it might be the inner child that does not trust. Trust to me is a feeling that comes and goes. Some moments I trust, other moments I distrust. I'm not sure if that is relevant to how you're feeling though.
 

oakleaves

Confident
I relate to this and I think it is really common. It is an attachment style and you can't just switch it off. It's like a consequence of what happened. You love her but there is a part of you wanting to protect you. That makes sense in the context you grew up. She may have changed and as an adult you recognise that but it doesn't change the impact.
 

Friday

Moderator
Something I've been thinking about is my relationship with my Mom. I love her dearly, and she's amazing. My dad was abusive
This is a crazy complex thing. In and of itself.

But I can't justify the person I knew her to be when I was a child to the person I know her to be now.
That makes sense, as she’s 2 different people… who she was and who she is.

. My Mom is good, but she made many mistakes in the past, that she no longer makes.
Lucky. Most people don’t change. Your mom did, as she hit road block after roadblock. IMO? Cherish that.
 
My situation does not compare quite to yours as a child but part of it does to your moms so I wanted to share both.

One thing my mom did when I was a teen was to tell me she was going to leave me with my dad and my brother and go move into an apartment. She did this multiple times. My dad was also a belt disciplinarian although he wasn’t really doing it at that age and he never actually hit that hard. But this was very scary to me because I did not trust my dad to care for us. When I was older I felt a lot of anger toward my mom because this threat of abandonment really messed with me. I finally told her that it really messed me up. She seemed surprised I remembered that. She also apologized. It helped. Maybe your mom could handle hearing some of it? Maybe she would like the opportunity to apologize.

I share a lot in common with your mom though. My ex put all of us thru hell. 2 of my kids are not his and they went thru a lot. At the time I did not know what enabling and codependent behavior was. Or at least I did not know I was doing it. When I found out I was so disgusted with myself. When I went into therapy I had to fill out this adverse childhood experiences form and my score was actually pretty low. But as I filled it out, I realized that my own kids would score much higher because of the things they had witnessed. I still don’t think I have forgiven myself. Even though I made the choices to get out based on what was going on with them first. I blame myself for not acting sooner based on info that I did not have at the time. There is even an incident when my older kids were not at home but my youngest was where she got hurt by him. I have a text I sent about it and a text back confirming from him, but I have no memory of what happened and only found the texts while sorting things out for court. I’m not sure if your dad was being abusive to your mom. But the things I put out of my memory and how quickly it happen still baffle me. And I blame myself all the time. At first when my kids would tell me things (after he was gone) I didn’t know how to respond. I learned that I needed to validate what they went thru and stop playing devils advocate (which is how I was raised) I think I do better now. It gives me a chance to validate their feelings and apologize. I try not to give excuses. And they don’t understand that I was in effect brainwashed at the time. But that is ok. I don’t know where your mom is at in what she is going thru, but she may welcome the opportunity to talk to you about it. Maybe if she could tell you what was happening then vs how she views it now you might trust her more. Maybe it can be ok for you to love her dearly and not trust her. Could it be that because you don’t trust her you feel like the whole relationship is wrong and that is preventing you from being able to build trust? Just another example that popped in my head… my mom had a gambling issue when I was older. I ended up having to pay my parents mortgage (they paid me back) because of her problem. To this day I won’t put her on anything financial even though she hasn’t done that in years. Decades actually. But I do trust her in other areas. Are there some other areas you could identify where you actually can trust your mom? Maybe that would be a start. Maybe you never trust her in a few areas but begin to trust her in others? Just throwing some ideas out there because it seems to really be affecting you. I think if your mom put so much work into herself to get where she is she can probably handle hearing your feelings. But you know her best. Therapy could definitely give you some tools for this.
 

Roland

Confident
My situation does not compare quite to yours as a child but part of it does to your moms so I wanted to share both.

One thing my mom did when I was a teen was to tell me she was going to leave me with my dad and my brother and go move into an apartment. She did this multiple times. My dad was also a belt disciplinarian although he wasn’t really doing it at that age and he never actually hit that hard. But this was very scary to me because I did not trust my dad to care for us. When I was older I felt a lot of anger toward my mom because this threat of abandonment really messed with me. I finally told her that it really messed me up. She seemed surprised I remembered that. She also apologized. It helped. Maybe your mom could handle hearing some of it? Maybe she would like the opportunity to apologize.

I share a lot in common with your mom though. My ex put all of us thru hell. 2 of my kids are not his and they went thru a lot. At the time I did not know what enabling and codependent behavior was. Or at least I did not know I was doing it. When I found out I was so disgusted with myself. When I went into therapy I had to fill out this adverse childhood experiences form and my score was actually pretty low. But as I filled it out, I realized that my own kids would score much higher because of the things they had witnessed. I still don’t think I have forgiven myself. Even though I made the choices to get out based on what was going on with them first. I blame myself for not acting sooner based on info that I did not have at the time. There is even an incident when my older kids were not at home but my youngest was where she got hurt by him. I have a text I sent about it and a text back confirming from him, but I have no memory of what happened and only found the texts while sorting things out for court. I’m not sure if your dad was being abusive to your mom. But the things I put out of my memory and how quickly it happen still baffle me. And I blame myself all the time. At first when my kids would tell me things (after he was gone) I didn’t know how to respond. I learned that I needed to validate what they went thru and stop playing devils advocate (which is how I was raised) I think I do better now. It gives me a chance to validate their feelings and apologize. I try not to give excuses. And they don’t understand that I was in effect brainwashed at the time. But that is ok. I don’t know where your mom is at in what she is going thru, but she may welcome the opportunity to talk to you about it. Maybe if she could tell you what was happening then vs how she views it now you might trust her more. Maybe it can be ok for you to love her dearly and not trust her. Could it be that because you don’t trust her you feel like the whole relationship is wrong and that is preventing you from being able to build trust? Just another example that popped in my head… my mom had a gambling issue when I was older. I ended up having to pay my parents mortgage (they paid me back) because of her problem. To this day I won’t put her on anything financial even though she hasn’t done that in years. Decades actually. But I do trust her in other areas. Are there some other areas you could identify where you actually can trust your mom? Maybe that would be a start. Maybe you never trust her in a few areas but begin to trust her in others? Just throwing some ideas out there because it seems to really be affecting you. I think if your mom put so much work into herself to get where she is she can probably handle hearing your feelings. But you know her best. Therapy could definitely give you some tools for this.
Thank you very much for sharing your story and your perspective. I'm sorry you've been through so much. Yeah, I do think it'd be beneficial to talk to my Mom, I just feel like I need to be careful and like my insight needs to be quiet for a little while and let the rest of my family build their own perspective. But yeah it's hard. She didn't mean to hurt me, but it's easy for things to get messed up along the way.
 
Thank you very much for sharing your story and your perspective. I'm sorry you've been through so much. Yeah, I do think it'd be beneficial to talk to my Mom, I just feel like I need to be careful and like my insight needs to be quiet for a little while and let the rest of my family build their own perspective. But yeah it's hard. She didn't mean to hurt me, but it's easy for things to get messed up along the way.
You sound like a very compassionate person. I wish you the best and I’m sorry you are hurting over this.
 

shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
"I'll help you, I know you're trying your best, let's go over it together" and sometimes it was "You knew this yesterday, you don't apply yourself, why don't you practice saying 'welcome to Walmart since you won't be able to make it past 3rd grade".
This conflicting messages stuff did me some damage as well. It led to my overthinking things. Never really knowing what I wanted or even what I thought about stuff.

I am a Mom to adults now. I am a very different person with them. My 'Mom' self isn't engaged with them anymore. I am an adult and they are too and I don't have to worry about managing them anymore. I like to think I am different because I trust that they are independent now. That changes the dynamic. Maybe over time she will be able to bite off a bit more of what you want to talk to her about. It may feel overwhelming to her. It sounds like she has done her best to protect you and is taking responsibility for what she is able to for now.

I am very sorry you went through what you did with your Dad. I am happy your Mom was able to get out and continue to be a support to you. It sounds like in the end she showed you who her allegiance was to and it was you. I hope you can be patient with her. It seems from what you have written that she loves you and love, sadly, isn't always perfect.
 

Roland

Confident
This conflicting messages stuff did me some damage as well. It led to my overthinking things. Never really knowing what I wanted or even what I thought about stuff.

I am a Mom to adults now. I am a very different person with them. My 'Mom' self isn't engaged with them anymore. I am an adult and they are too and I don't have to worry about managing them anymore. I like to think I am different because I trust that they are independent now. That changes the dynamic. Maybe over time she will be able to bite off a bit more of what you want to talk to her about. It may feel overwhelming to her. It sounds like she has done her best to protect you and is taking responsibility for what she is able to for now.

I am very sorry you went through what you did with your Dad. I am happy your Mom was able to get out and continue to be a support to you. It sounds like in the end she showed you who her allegiance was to and it was you. I hope you can be patient with her. It seems from what you have written that she loves you and love, sadly, isn't always perfect.
I definitely agree. She's amazing, and that's exactly why this is hard
 
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