Friday, December 15, 2006

the nightmare in the daytime

This morning I received an email message from a public health nurse who is trying to get medical and other needed help for my elderly parents. In the message she said she was required to report abuse, which my father still gives my mother, to the state authorities. I was stunned and yet realized she was right. And I felt like the nightmares I have been having was now taking place in the daytime. I was being presented an opportunity to help my mother get some relief from abuse. And yet I struggled, because I don't want to hurt either of my parents. They are old. They don't have very many more years to live. They love each other. Dad truly loves Mom, while also getting angry at her and expressing it now through verbal abuse, unlike when I was younger when it was also physical abuse.

I began crying, then sobbing, big sobs, for a long time. It felt like a lifetime of others not knowing finally coming out into the light. Of course, I've been sharing some on this blog, but that doesn't help my mother. Finally, someone who can help is stepping in to help.

It is scary. I don't want others in my big extended family to blame me for turning in my own father and upsetting the "family system." I don't want family members angry at me. I don't want my father angry at me. I don't want him to commit suicide from shame.

It is easier just to keep silent. That's one of the rules for dysfunctional, abusive family situation. But I had to tell the truth. I didn't realize it might result in an investigation from Adult Protective Services for abuse and possible elderly neglect. But if Mom can be helped, and maybe Dad, too, if somehow he can cooperate and understand what he is doing wrong, it is the right thing to do.

I hope there are people out there reading this who understand what I'm saying and can empathize. I need to be understood today.


Anonymous David John said...

I hear your pain and anguish--the strong fears that the shame your father will feel from the abuse becoming public will lead him into suicidal despair. I understand your desire to spare your parents the consequences of public exposure and how it is rooted in the survival rules that helped you makes sense out of an abusive family system. Mandatory reporting by the public health worker takes that decision out of your hands but does not make it any easier for you. I pray that the Lord will meet you in your pain and concern and will work in a supernatural way to provide help for both your mom and dad without the effect of suicidal despair in your dad.
Please let us know how things work out so that we can support and pray for you during this difficult time.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous thememoryartist said...

I don't know if it's easier to keep silent. It's never easy - maybe just a little more comfortable knowing what to expect from oneself and the rest of the family system .Keeping the silence may go easier with the other family members who want everything to stay the same way , but it's an emotional hell on the inside when you're wanting to let it out and get help.
I think you're right to tell the truth - even if your dad never realizes that what he's doing is wrong .Things may get a lot harder for you for a while, and you might also get labeled as "the bad guy" for stepping out of the boundaries of the sick family system. But it sounds like you're wanting to speak up out of concern and from a place of love . Just be ready to do the same for yourself , because the rest of the family will almost surely be angry with you . It's a tough spot to be in.I've been there myself with some of my family - but you will know in your heart when you have done the right thing.

7:06 PM  

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