Incest Survivors Support Group

Incest refers to any sexual activity between closely related persons that is illegal or socially taboo. Consensual adult incest is very rare. Incest between adults and prepubescent or adolescent children is a form of child sexual abuse that has been shown to be one of the most extreme forms of childhood trauma. If you or a loved one is a survivor of incest, join the group and find support.

1 Online
1 Online

Tickle game with my mom

Hi everyone, first time poster. Sorry for how prolific this gigantic post is but here we go...

I am new to the forum and new to exploring my past. I am a late twenties female who was abused by my mother in early childhood, before the age of 4. These are some of my earliest memories. My mom's always been the emotionally abusive type, manipulative, sickly, passive aggressive, controlling... and a psychiatrist to boot.

I am an only child. My dad worked long hours and my mom stayed home when I was little. They've always kept separate bedrooms and seemed to be good partners, but mostly were mostly platonic, save for very rigid single peck kisses when we had company over and they needed to put on a show. My mom claimed the reasoning for the separate rooms was because she was a light sleeper and my dad snored, but during their fights (in which I was often called on to mediate, somehow) my dad would often lament not being able to share a bed with his wife. His bedroom was on the other side of the house off the garage and laundry room.

She used to nap every afternoon (or hide out in her room masturbating, drinking vermouth, and reading mystery novels is more like it) but would often call me in from outside to get in bed with her and play a game she called "Lick and Tickle." These are memories I've avoided for over 20 years. It wasn't until sometime last month when I was visiting my parents that she turned to me and said, smiling, trying to elicit nostalgia, "don't you remember playing Lick and Tickle?"

Licking and tickling was the game, and we would take turns. She would lick me and I would lick her. But I wasn't an autonomous player, she told me where to lick and/or tickle her. I never initiated or particularly wanted to play this game. I remember once saying no let's just do something else and she got very upset with me, like, "this is our thing! Don't you love our thing? Do you not love me? This is how we love. This is special bonding time!" And so we played. Of course the game part was upping the ante of both intensity and intimacy, it got worse, more like wrestling as it went on. She would sit on me, and my mom has the biggest ass of any white lady, ever. I would spend most of the game figuring out how to hide in the sheets only to have her get mad about it.

The memory at best is embarrassing and at worst makes me cringe, cry, stop working, get nauseous, and realize oh my god, she took advantage of me... I'm an adult, I haven't lived in their house for over 10 years, and it's only now that I realize holy shit, I would NEVER EVER do that with or to my - or any - child.

That realization, that there is something inherently inappropriate and twisted is this interaction that I am now aware of as the adult, and would never want to replicate, is the reason I am here.

I was a child. I wanted her love and attention. I didn't understand what exactly was wrong with it. But she was an adult, and a child psychiatrist. There is no explanation except to say that is some fucked up shit. Eventually I would like to feel bad for someone who would use their own kid in this way.

I love kids, they are wonderful. But I've always stayed away from babysitting despite my child-like sense of fun (trust me, I'm way fun). One of my first and only gigs was babysitting a 5 year old when I was 12 (she was my school-assigned "little buddy" who looked and acted a lot like me then), she took her shirt off and wanted to play doctor. Even though I knew this was somewhat normal for a little kid, my reaction surprised me - I freaked out, told her to put her shirt on, gave the poor kid a lecture in appropriateness and then called the parents. As soon as the parents came home - really confused and pissed themselves - I bolted and wandered for hours. My dad later picked me up somewhere miles away. His assessment was that I wasn't "good" with "managing" children and that was that.

What I'm dealing with is shady, it's not obviously horrible, but the dynamic she copped in those moments - you do what I say and are responsible for my feelings, OR ELSE - galvanized my worldview and relationship to my family. I haven't even thought about this specifically in years. Rather than deal, we're all just pretty superficial with each other. They pay for my health insurance and I tell them how to use their iphones.

I have a stable, loving, strong boyfriend who I've been with for 7 years. We share a bed. Yesterday was the first time I've ever talked about this, and it was to him. I'm hoping that even though I've spent most of the last 24 hours in various states of crying, drinking, getting high, playing video games, general internet distraction, or working out until exhaustion, that I've at least started doing some of the work, some of the personal admitting and realization that will help me process this and get over it.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing.

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

Yes, that is some seriously fucked up shit. You must be going through such a tough time right now. I'd be drinking too.

Your mother sounds.. horrifying. That must make it seem impossible to get any professional help to deal with the trauma. I'm really glad you have your boyfriend.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thank you for commenting. Validating feelings feels good. I've just never put a ton of stock in therapy, for reasons even beyond my mom's own hypocrisy. Always been more of a friend confider, and the stable boyfriend has totally helped. But I am looking into groups where I live, I think that could be really good. Now it's just the sinking feeling of what does taking an adult stand on these memories even mean? I'm telling myself today that this is disturbed behavior, so does that mean it's over? How do you even begin to put up boundaries with someone who would probably never be able to understand how this was a ticking timebomb left in my memory?
deleted_user
deleted_user

I wish I could tell you. I just started posting in this forum too, and am totally unprepared to deal with whatever did or didn't happen to me. I was in regular contact with my family up until a couple months ago. I don't know if boundaries can ever really be achieved with this kind of thing. Maybe it has to be low contact or no contact.
Even with no contact, which is what I've been doing (not all that intentionally - my parents haven't tried to speak to me)... it doesn't make this shit that much easier to face. I keep asking "Did this happen? Was it a dream? Was I too little to remember things correctly? What if it only happened once? What if there are things that I don't remember?"

There's no one to give those answers. It's such a heavy burden.
deleted_user
deleted_user

reply #2 'How do you even begin to put up boundaries with someone who would probably never be able to understand how this was a ticking timebomb left in my memory? "

The only boundary that works with people like this is miles of empty space. They will never, can't, understand so you have to enforce them. This is really really hard to do at first because you are not used to it - but do it and you will benefit.

I think also the right therapist could help you deal with what your mother put you through, but I can understand how you don't want to go near one. However, there are good therapists out there and a good one will not push you to trust them before you are ready or with anything you are not ready to disclose.

And you are now an adult. You can walk away if you don't like them or their method.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thank you Breakingtheshell, I'm finding it increasingly important to talk about this, write about it, and seek therapy. I'm feeling really overwhelmed right now... it's like putting this memory into context has made pretty much everything about our relationship make sense.

There are miles of empty space, we live on opposite coasts. But unfortunately my parents make treks out to see me frequently and are coming in early july for 5 days, to stay in my apartment, then off to see more family. I'm trying to make a great purge now, and I think I could potentially get a lot of work done in the few weeks before they come to ensure that I can keep my shit together enough as to not start anything. I could be starting a new job next week and I just can't have world war three happen in my house, nor does my boyfriend want to live through an intense drama. I'm not sure how I will deal with her specifically. I've been good in the past about having adult boundaries and basically keeping her at arms length (literally, she still tries to kiss me on the mouth and the back of my neck... shudder)

I don't know what my ultimate plan is, but since I consciously acknowledged what happened I've been pretty emotional and generally destructive... day drinking, random acts of crying, major work procrastination... but at the same time I understand wiling out is part of the process. I never ever rebelled ever. Now I have so much anger inside of me I'm afraid I'll snap and throw my laptop against the wall or something equally impulsive and violent. FUCK MY MOM AND HER BULLSHIT IT'S NOT OKAY TO USE YOUR KID LIKE THIS YOU FUCKING PERVERTED EMPTY SKIN BAG. Fuck man, she tried to make me like her. She's wanted me to fail, be fat, unhappy. Sigh. Yeah.
bluedragon41
bluedragon41

A child psychiatrist abuser...Jeebus!
That was really fucked up, you have every right to be furious with her.
Refuse2quit
Refuse2quit

NowILookback:
What a challenging situation you are in! To have a psychiatrist warping your childhood is just mind-boggling. Obviously she has not learned that her behavior was damaging to you or she would try to make some amends rather than try to have close physical contact with you when she visits. Can you call their visit off? Make some excuse that is bullet-proof to her insistence to visit until you are on more stable ground?
Unfortunately, once your mind has started the "looking back", it is very difficult to stop it. I often refer to this as opening Pandora's box, because once you open that particular place in your memory, often the past comes flooding out without regard to what you are going through at that time in your life. Many of these memories have sort of a will power of their own and the more you try to stuff them down, the more they torture and disrupt your life. But, I truly believe that our minds know when we are ready to deal with the past abuse and that usually has to do with your stability in a good supportive relationship or a feeling of safety at this time. Other times the fact that our abusers are coming back to visit can trigger these memories to re-surface.
I hope this is not turning into a bummer post, because it is not meant to. I am just trying to warn you, as someone who has been there and worked with survivors for years, that you can get through this and emerge stronger and more whole, if you put the work into it. I know that dealing with such powerful memories will often make us want to turn to drinking and drugs, but these are pitfalls that only make the issue worse. They confuse our thinking and make us feel worse physically. This is a personal choice that we all have to make, but eventually you have to face these issues in a sober and pro-active way.
Again, I think that a visit from your parents right now could spell disaster if you do not want have that confrontation, because it sounds like you have a lot of anger welling up within you.
I hope that you will find a catharsis that assists you in your upcoming journey, and the will and strength to take that journey. Until survivors purge themselves of the doubt and undue shame, they usually do not feel whole or strong.
All my best to you - this site can provide you with a lot of support and acceptance, along with (hopefully) some great advice and ways to deal with your issues. Use it as often as you need. I have been logged on for 20 hours at a time in the past, when I needed support or just someone else to listen.
Refuse2quit
bluedragon41
bluedragon41

"Can you call their visit off? Make some excuse that is bullet-proof to her insistence to visit until you are on more stable ground?"

Agreed...
MRSA!
Methycillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus!

"Sorry, mom, we all have MRSA! if you come over your eyeballs can rot out!"
MRSA...
...When your parent is worse than a bacteria that makes your flesh go necrotic...

( I am kidding, but, like, not entirely...and I'm not doing it to hurt you. I do it because it sometimes helps to laugh at the horrorshow. )
Refuse2quit
Refuse2quit

hylierandom-
GOOD EXCUSE - I will have to remember that.
NowILookBack-
Again, I think that if you can, postpone or completely cancel your invitation until you can better deal with the issue- either that or be ready in case WWIII breaks out in your family room!
Let us know how it goes!
Refuse2quit
Refuse2quit
Refuse2quit

NowILookBack:
I also meant to mention - this might be the first step to setting what you call "adult boundaries".
But as far as setting all your boundaries at this time - my opinion is that if you have not truly addressed all the issues that goes with your abuse, then any "boundaries" are going to change and fluctuate until you have faced those issues.
I am so sorry you have to deal with all this, but you can get through it! You sound very strong and courageous. Again, you may want to let your inner turmoil settle a little before you set your boundaries in cement at this time. But I do believe you need to start by going with your gut feeling about upcoming visit.
Again, just my opinion, but something to consider.....
Refuse2quit
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks Refuse2Quit and hylierandom, jokes are always welcome! We gotta find a way to get out from under this. So, updates:

After talking to some friends over the weekend I decided to call my dad and tell all, and also lay down that I can't see her now, can't have them stay with me. That was last night. He was receptive, calm, but apologizing for her. Ultimately he said let's talk tomorrow (today) and figure it all out. He was apprehensive about having to change plans and things, oh the shame, what will they tell people?

I'm hoping that as a friend put it, maybe he needed the night to sleep on it. My dad and I have a good relationship, an honest relationship at least, and my hope is that he will respectfully understand, not make excuses for her, and support my needing space. Clearly I am also addressing his role in his - he has been severely manipulated by her, clearly. My hope is that the fatherly instinct (oh my hurting child) will kick in and he will be able to mediate his husbandly feelings towards her with his fatherly feelings towards me. I'm not trying to destroy what he has, I don't think the two are mutually exclusive; but I also don't see how this kind of new information couldn't have an effect on future proceedings. Unless he were equally sociopathic, or whatever, in which case fuck them both.

I've been trying to pick myself up, and be healthy, active. I've had a good few days considering.

Refuse2quit, the thing is she's a shitty psychiatrist. I know it's clear I see her as a powerful manipulator, but I think her upper hand was only that she was older than me, that she was able to make impressions on me at a young age. How you learn to see the world at that young age, that's as fundamental as nature, that's learning how the grass grows. Her power had a handicap and that was my youth. Now, as an adult, theoretically meeting her at the same level, her bullshit ceases to hold water for me. The only currency she has is that she's my mom - I love her. I have deep feelings of guilt, installed by her, but even so, deep feelings of guilt. Now's the time to get distance in an attempt to shake this off. To shake off the programming, because if the guilt goes away I can deal with her as a whole person. I won't be a slave to the terror she inflicts.

So I don't put an incredible about of stock in her psychiatry other than that it was totem she slung around; I think it intimidated neighbors, friends, even my dad. He's a smart guy, analytical, sensitive, and yet gets bashful when he recalls that he married "a doctor." Trust me, she's one of these people who can confuse with words, but she has no idea what she's saying. But it gave her some power. It didn't matter that she rarely worked, she was a doctor.

Anyway. I want to talk to her. On the phone. If their trip is cancelled I want to be the messenger, it doesn't feel right any other way. This is hard. I do not know what she will do. She is prone to histrionics. Clearly I am worried, but I have to stay strong. It's been hard to hold onto my anger, my clarity - that I wouldn't do this to a small thing I was supposed to love and protect. The point on that small thing is not to bestow endless love on the caretaker, it's the other way around. I'm not sure she gets that.

I'm not sure my dad gets that either. They both came from emotionally abusive homes, from what I know neither were sexually abused. Anyway I'm hopeful that he doesn't make excuses and takes me seriously. I feel like that's part of the subtle tragedy of this whole thing - it's so well crafted to appear benign. While there were other more "medical" times where she touched my vagina (I had a rashy vag as a child, who knows) this in particular was not acutely sexual, I mean it was certainly sexual, but not traditionally. So fuck me right? If this comes down to semantics, then fuck both of them. The emotional is real. She's a user and abuser.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Well I talked to my dad. He's concerned with changing their plans, what happens if they don't get to hang out with me for 5 days - oh what ever will they do?

I feel betrayed, we did argue about the semantics of abuse - his definition being something along the lines of scars you can see. A common misconception I'm sure we all deal with.

He's undoubtedly in denial, but that doesn't help how I'm feeling very much right now. Alone mostly. My boyfriend's patience is understandable wearing too. I feel like there is a premium on taking me seriously.

I don't know what to do now. It's becoming clear that my parents will change their plans, but I'm not sure at what point I will be the one to break it to my mom. Again, he pretty much refused to see the severity while acknowledging my feelings, he spent a long time in group so he knows how to say "i acknowledge and respect your feelings as authentic, but..."

I am seriously in a pickle. I feel betrayed by him. I thought his responce would be different. I thought I would walk away feeling love and support from him but I feel shitty now for ruining their trip.

He asked me to recant, he said "why can't we come and you just tell her not to touch you? She doesn't want you to get in bed with her and play these games now."

Hurtful hurtful hurtful. How diminishing is a line like that?

I don't know what do to. I'm supposed to send him a smoke signal tonight concerning how I want to proceed - If I will be the person to tell my mom she cant be here or if I leave it to him. There is something inside me that says for my healing I have to be the one to tell her. But I'm feeling so drained right now. I feel so weak, I do not feel prepared to face her. As it is I feel like I cannot possibly be productive or do anything other than shower, cry, sleep right now.

What do I do? Is it right to tell them not to stay with me right now because I don't think it would be good for any of us. Should I attempt to speak to her?
Refuse2quit
Refuse2quit

NowILookBack
This is, unfortunately, a call only you can make. It is unfortunate that his occurred so soon to her arrival, and thus put you under a deadline so to speak.
As far as your father - please do not give up on him yet. Remember he may have had some suspicions in the past, but it has only been a concrete fact for less than 24 hours or so. He will need time to thing this through as he is also in a very tight spot. It sounds like he has been very close to you in the past and you really don't want to ultimately lose everyone because of stress and emotional judgments. Give it time - give him time. He sounds like a decent guy who deserves that. No matter how many groups he has been through, I am sure that nothing really prepared him for this particular new flash.
IF IT WERE ME ( and it has been in the past) I would not trust another person to say what needs to be said by me. That is just pulling another person and their opinion into the fray - and you may not have the strength you need for this at this time, but does it have to be an "all or nothing" situation? Can't you just tell her that you do not feel like having company and that you will talk to her later about it? And if she throws the "what will other people think" at you, tell her to tell them you were not feeling up to having ANY company - you are exhausted and having anyone visit right now sounds like it would just be a strain you do not need. You may say that something has been bothering you to the extent that you cannot really be good company or some other excuse, but you really do not sound like you have the power to address ALL the issues you have with your mom. And it is true - she is your mother and you probably do have love for her - this just shows what a decent person you are. But even loving parents can be abusive and right now you just need to slam a boundary in place for the time being.
Again, it is your choice, but you sound drained, and that is rarely a good time to really talk about the issues you need to address.
All my best - will be thinking of you and your struggle over the next few days.
Refuse2quit
deleted_user
deleted_user

I called my mom today - she had been tipped off by my dad that we had been talking about her and that I was upset - something he tipped me off to. She came to the phone trying to be warm and loving in tone, and achieved that. Said she had been thinking about me for days and was going to call me today if I didn't call her. (My bullshit needle twitches)

I told her I had come to some realizations about the game we used to play - "I only have vague memories of that" she said. I said I'd been dealing with these intense emotions since she reminded me of the game in April - "It doesn't matter why these feelings are coming up for you now, but the important thing is how you deal with them." She said. (Droids not looking for...oh, you're good.)

She said she wouldn't do anything sexual with me because she "wouldn't mess with my mind like that."

She said she thought it was "perfectly natural that I am trying to pull apart and differentiate, that's good, that's healthy" and that she's "getting to an age where [she's] tired and wants to have less responsibility." I told her that if I wanted to have a casually distant relationship with her I wouldn't be having this conversation, an unclose relationship is what I've got. This is me dealing with something specific that bleeds out into the general. A secret I hadn't realized I'd been keeping for 20 years. I asked if this lit up any part of her mind where she thought she might need to do some work around this issue. She told me to take as much time as I needed and encouraged me to find a good therapist.

My mother ladies and gentlemen, denial and pivoting, denial and pivoting....

But, relatively painless. She said don't be hard on yourself a lot, something she says to me a lot.

I've cried after virtually every phone call I've had over the last week, every turn. I feel festeringly angry, am indulging in some good old insomnia, but haven't cried since I picked up the phone.

That's that. I have my space. Now to breathe some relief and to start shaking this off.
Refuse2quit
Refuse2quit

Congratulations-
It sounds like there is a tentative truce going on here - she may not outright admit to the abuse - she may never do this, but at least she knows where YOU are and your the one that counts no. I am so glad to hear that you have reached this point.
So the big question - is she coming for a visit, or is she letting you have your space right now?
I hope the latter, but if now, you have our support - you did REALLY well with this. You are intelligent and strong - I hope you can feel both of those things right now.
All my best - let us know how it turns out!!
Refuse2quit