Interested in your interpretation


When I disclosed the sexual abuse to my mother about the sexual abuse my father did to me, she replied, "Just because you're gay, doesn't mean that happened to you."

First of all, it's a very nasty trap, I realize that. The problem is I struggle to make sense of why it's works on my mind as powerfully as it does. I don't quite get what she said. With her, and considering my family's terrible history, it's nearly impossible to take anything from any of them at face value and I struggle to understand some of the bizarre and cruel things they say. I'm curious to know your interpretations about what she said and meant.

Your replies appreciated.


Sorry that your family is not supportive and says and does bizarre and hurtful things.

They way I figure it, I am very good at blocking out what happened. Lived a lot of my life in denial. It was too painful to look at or acknowledge so I did everything I could not to admit the truth. Most of this I did without realizing that I was doing it. Looking back the abuse is obvious.

I think the same happens within families. We do not see what is too painful to see. We cannot acknowledge what we really know to be true deep inside. We cannot face reality. So the mind makes up excuses, smooths over the obvious for the comfortable. We often do not even know we are doing it.

But who is to say I am not doing that right now.
Is the truth our families knew what was going on and ignored it? Are they choosing to deny our pain to keep their peace?

It is easier for me to think that they say and do hurtful things because it is too painful for them to see the truth.

Then again, some people are narcissistic, selfish jerks.
I find it interesting that she combined her denial with pointing out you are gay. Seems to me she has not accepted you being gay and is perhaps even resents it. She could be using the "gay" thing as a means to deflect blame and guilt.
I have a similar experience with lawyers during court sessions. They claim there was a consensus because I am gay. Neglecting the fact that I was a small boy back then. So, @eltoro65 I can be wrong of course, but I interpret it as because you are gay it couldn't have been abuse.


@eltoro65 I believe she is speaking through walls of coping mechanisms. Within a horrible family history like yours, everyone, adults included were traumatized. I think her comment speaks more to how she survived than it does to your revelation. For you, I am sorry she couldn't offer the support you deserve, then and now.

My mother did a tad better, but not much. My family always believed that I ran away, when in fact I was kidnapped. Decades later my mother and I planned a conversation to share my story. Only a few sentences in, she looked away and said "but you're OK now, right?". That was the end of the discussion. Though she heard the word "kidnap" she hasn't asked a single question in the years since.

It told me exactly everything I always knew...she couldn't bear to know what was happening with me. Yes it was her job. But so long afterwards I see she was just a woman with her hands full. She didn't have the capacity to deal with what she knew was horrible.

Of course I wish she could have then and now. But she can't. As a child I had a right to a mother. As a grown man, she has the right to be understood as a person. I can love her without needing anything from her. But that took work to get to. I know I can't depend on her for any heavy lifting, it's not who she is.


That strikes me as a non-response to your disclosure, a deflection that attacks what she might see as a motive for the disclosure rather than engaging in facts, so I can see why it bugs you.

My read on it is she is telling you, in a round-about way, that she does not intend to support you if you want to dig into your father's abuse. But rather than say that directly, it's easier to just lob back this statement, the implication being that you are looking for someone to blame for your sexual orientation. That's obviously not your intent, as you are trying to resolve issues about abuse.

To just come out and say, 'I don't believe you and I don't intend to talk about this any more' is an option I don't think she can handle. Because it invites further discussion, like you asking why she doesn't believe you or bringing in specific incidents. This way she hopes to foreclose future discussion without upsetting the image she's built up of the family, which the abuse would not fit into.

Anyway, that's just my two cents, of course, but its the type of thing my mother would do, and I suspect many mothers. She's very much about leaving the past in the past.
@eltoro65 if my mom quipped at me like that, I would just think I ran head first in to her own wall of shame & its denial, and then ignore everything she said. It would just make be more confident in my interpretations of past events due to her inflated/exaggerated response.