Q. I am a 25 year old married female. I am struggling with my relationship with my mother who has never taken responsibility or accountability for the choices she made that ravaged the lives of my siblings and I. What are some suggestions on confronting her with my thoughts and feelings?
— Tracey

Here is more of Tracey’s story:
I am the middle child of three. My oldest sister, Cindy was fathered by John, a drug abuser. My mom was married to him for almost five years. Then she married Sam, my father, a raging alcoholic. They were married unit I was two. Then she married Carl, the father of my youngest brother, Tyler. They were married over ten years.
From the ages of 3 to 13 it was brutal. Carl rarely worked, used drugs (meth was his favorite) and yielded control over everyone. My mom always had a job, working full time; therefore Carl was our babysitter. He was the meanest man, doing things to us that were terrifying. Sometimes he would pick one of us, usually my sister, she always got it the worst and make us watch as he made her crawl on the floor saying she was a dog or make her lay on the floor and pretend she was dead.
On one occasion I was wearing a necklace and he got mad at me and started choking me. I really thought he was going to kill me. He left an imprint of the necklace on my skin. When my mom got home I showed her and she told Carl to “never do that again.” That was it!!
The school noticed some bruising on my arms and called a meeting. (Strange when I think about it now that the school did not call DHS, they called my mom). She said she would take care if it. “It” turned out to be a talk with Carl. Nothing changed.
I could write pages describing all the horrific things that Carl did to us. I am in counseling and my therapist said I meet the criteria for PTSD. My siblings are also very damaged. My sister is a drug addict and drifter. My younger brother just recently got away from Carl, his dad.
I just don’t understand how my mom could stay with a man who did not work, used drugs and brutalized her children. She knew he was doing it. She saw the bruises, witnessed some of the “spankings” and maybe occasionally told him to stop.
We have not had a close relationship for many years but she has been contacting me more over the past few months. She absolutely seems oblivious to what she put us through, her lack of protection, her lack of concern.
When confronting a parent with how their choices affected others it is wise not to get your hopes and expectations too high. What you are wanting to hear, “I’m sorry” may not ever happen. Sometimes the healing must come from you and your work in therapy.

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

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