Chapter 21 – From FALLOUT: A Survivor Talks to Incest Offenders (and Others) by moi

In cases of continuing incest by the father, to what extent is the mother aware?  Is there a subconscious knowledge?  Conscious awareness, even complicity? (p 214).

I thought little about my mother’s possible role in the incest until many years later.  When she was living in a nearby retirement community. An older man befriended her–his wife was in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s.  My mother arranged for her friend and me to go out somewhere together. I think this embarrassed both of us, and I don’t think it ever actually happened. I wondered then, however, about the dynamics of her machinations. Had she also tried to hang onto my father by using me? (Mykel, 220).

“During therapy, intense feelings of  unresolved anger and grief at the mother  usually emerge and tend to consume much more therapeutic time than feelings about the incestual perpetrator.” (Meiselman 1978, 159)

I had no idea how typical my anger at Mother was until writing this book. The reader may want to reflect on this observation, also.

We long to be able to love her and to see ourselves loved in her eyes. We long to be known, to be seen in our deepest selves and liked for who we are by this woman who is our earthly origin and most often our primary caretaker. (Carlson, 1989, xi)

About Nan Mykel

At 79, I was just about to stop keeping a journal, but that felt like accepting that growth was finished. I don't want to be finished, yet! I'm 80 now, and struggling to communicate with you, if you'll come and set awhile. P.S. My how time flies! I'm 82 now.
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3 Responses to ROLE OF THE MOTHER

  1. edie says:

    I found my anger at my mother to be far deeper and more complex than what I felt toward my father.


    • Nan Mykel says:

      Thanks for replying. Somehow, learning that the feelings were so common really made me sad. A study by Elliott (1994, 84) found that the relationship with Mother was more predictive of a sexual abuse history than any other factor, and after reviewing a number of studies, Finkelhor (1986b, 74) referred to this as “one of the most consistent findings to date.”


  2. bethanyk says:

    This actually makes me feel better. I find that hearing that a reaction is “normal” or ‘common’ is helpful because I know I am not the only one and that I am not abnormal in my thinking and it kind of gives permission to feel that emotion


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