DEAR ABBY: I'm in my early 50s, disabled and live with my elderly mother. Between the ages of 8 and 11 I was sexually abused by my adoptive father. My mother finally caught him in the act, but the next day they acted like nothing had happened. He never did it again, and it was never spoken about, ever.
I have read about women who caught their husbands abusing their children and kicked them out, pressed charges, etc. It makes me think I didn't matter enough for her to do that. I confronted her about it a few years ago. Her response was that it would have been in all the papers (my parents were prominent local musicians in our town), and there was no way she could have raised two kids on her own.
I still have a deep ache in my soul that tells me that I don't matter as much as other human beings. I resist going to therapy because I live with her and I know she will quiz me about what we talked about in the sessions. I just want to keep the peace and not risk her going into a tirade about how she "did what she had to do." I don't know what to do. Please help. -- STILL HURTING IN NEVADA
DEAR STILL HURTING: You should absolutely talk about this to a therapist. If your mother demands to know what you're discussing, tell her. If she unleashes a tirade, invite her to accompany you to a session so she can explain to your therapist that she didn't kick her child-molesting husband out because she was afraid she couldn't support herself and two children alone. (Was your sibling also assaulted?)
You and your mom are both adults. You should be able to have a frank discussion without her intimidating you with her anger. If anyone has a right to be angry, it is you. And she should clearly understand how her inaction affected you for all these years, and possibly your sibling, as well.