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Conversation with my daughter - and a sudden memory of the past

Posted by Mand , 14 April 2014 · 147 views

I have had a lovely day with my daughter. She is currently studying for exams. She has got into Oxford for their summer school taster week for high achieving children from state schools. I am so in awe of her. She is so very bright and 'switched on'. She is nobodies fool, and will argue the toss with great confidence, no matter who you are. I am so glad. I have done my best to never stymie her or make her feel she needed to behave a certain way for me to love her. I often deplore her behaviour, especially when she gets aggressive and violent. That I cannot and will not tolerate, as well as when she is taking advantage of me and not doing her fair share of chores around the house. But she is a good kid - although at nearly 18 she is fast becoming an adult - but she will always be my 'little girl'. She still asks for 'mummy cuddles', and is at that awkward stage of not knowing whether to behave like a grown up or a little child. I give her the space she needs (I hope) so she can go through this painful transition at a pace that suits her, rather than me forcing her to be older than her years. It is hard work, I often doubt that I am doing the right thing. There is no 'manual', and sometimes I feel I am woefully inadequate and at other times I know I am getting it right. Every now and then she says to me: "Mum, I listen to my friends, I watch them with their mums, and I am SO glad you are my mum." And then my heart sings, because she is being brought up with boundaries that are built on a foundation love, but are turning her into an intelligent, confident, secure and beautiful young woman.
We were sat in Wagamama's - her favourite restaurant, and she said "Mum, why haven't you been going to work?". I knew she had noticed I was off, and I warned DH this morning that if she said anything, I would tell her the truth. So I did. I didn't tell her about the CSA, but I gently explained that Grandad had had a tough up bringing that meant when I was little he struggled and used to drink a lot, which made him a bit unpredictable and violent. I also explained that Grandma had a hard time with 2 small children, an alcoholic and aggressive husband, and coped by withdrawing into herself. She has done psychology and understands about core schemas, and immediately 'got' what I was trying to say. I pointed out that both my parents are now different people, and that I loved the fact that she and my mum are so close, that my mum has always been very loving and cuddly with her, and I think this is brilliant. Also, that my dad gave up alcohol when I was 10 or 11, and stopped being so violent (although he is still very aggressive, but he has MS, so she understands that his MS can also make him aggressive too).
When she was 12, my DD came home from school really upset. She was aggressive and horrid and said she couldn't tell me because "Some boys had been really horrid and she didn't want to talk about it". I reminded her of this because not long after, her and my DH had the most horrendous row where she then accused him of being a 'disgusting sex maniac'. I have NEVER known my DH get so upset, be so very hurt. She said at the time she said it because she was angry and it was the most hurtful, disgusting thing she could think of yelling at him. I reminded her of this and asked if these boys had done anything that might warrant her saying this. She laughed ruefully and said: "Mum, NO ONE has ever been sexual with me. I was just a grumpy, hormonal kid who was being as bitchy and horrid as possible". I was so relieved.
But as I was out on my bike this afternoon, I had a sudden memory. When I was 14, my mum took me out shopping. We sat and had lunch together, and she suddenly said: "When I was 14, I was sexually abused." And I remember looking at her and saying (this shows you how VERY naïve I was) "What's sexual abuse?". And she replied: "When a man touches you, touches your boobs and things, and you don't want him too. Has a man ever done that to you?" So of course, I answered "No." Because even though at this age it WAS happening, so far as I knew, it wasn't abuse BECAUSE I WANTED HIM TOO. I realise that mum asked this because she had been taking me regularly to the Dr's for a couple of years. It was the classic - bad headaches, sore throats, extreme exhaustion, not eating, being aggressive and suddenly withdrawing (although that might be construed as normal early teen behaviour), but I also had thrush, and my glands were up all over my body. I remember them taking blood and checking for Glandular Fever (which is notoriously difficult to diagnose as the virus is only active at certain times, so you can have it, but not test positive if it is dormant). It was negative. Every time I was tested.
And finally, FINALLY I have my answer. I have wondered how I let so much happen without really being aware of how very very wrong it was. Because I was groomed from the age of 3. I believed it was love. It was how HE showed me his love. This was how it was done. Cue another 'slap hand to forehead' moment. I'm going to end up with a bruise at this rate.....
But doesn't this just show how CSA continues unabated. How easy it is to brainwash and groom small children. So that they can go for years without even really realising that they have been abused, right into adulthood. Scary really.

Apr 14 2014 12:39 PM

Good for you for reflecting on this and then putting it out there.

Thanks. I felt it was important. If we do have these conversations with kids- even teens- obviously the language used needs to be carefully thought about.
Apr 14 2014 03:15 PM

I so relate to this, and I agree completely about the grooming. We don't know what we don't know. it's that simple. 


My oldest is eleven, and I think about about it often. 

Apr 14 2014 09:12 PM

Wow Mand. This feels incredibly important to me, reading it. Like you discovered he gave you a definition of love that allowed him to do what he did and make it acceptable on a cognitive level, but your body still reacted and showed it wasn't acceptable.


I'm very sad your mom seemed to know what was happening to you and asked. I completely understand your answer. I was similarly programmed.

Thanks intrepid. One of my battles I have had with myself is how could I have not realised!!!! And I know now, and weirdly it makes me feel better about myself.
Mand this is amazing! This has really made me think about my side of things too....growing up I can totally relate. You are doing so much thinking and realisation...its really amazing to see how far you've come and that you are still pushing forward. Sarrettaa

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