I'm sure you get your fair share of letters from young women such as myself, those who just feel the need to release something into the world, and that is what I am doing right now. I have already come to terms with a past history of abuse at the hands of my stepfather. My mother is aware of the abuse and has chosen to stay with him. I no longer live with them but still visit often. I have seen a couple of therapists briefly, no one for any extended period of time. I have told a few close friends. The recent disruption in my life comes from becoming intimately involved with a wonderful man, who I believed I would not be able to become fully close to without disclosing my past. He has been entirely supportive, but this has still led to emotional upheaval. Because he is aware of the abuse, he sees ways it has affected me differently than I do. This, of course, has led to my questioning things that I have long just ignored, feelings and situations. It is very hard. I picked up your book the other day, and have read the first couple of chapters. I know that I am going to have to stand up for myself, and it is something that I've tried to do, but have been pulled back into the act of trying to create a family life for my mother that she has always wanted, complete with Sunday family dinners and holiday celebrations. I realize I am doing this at my own expense, but it's so hard not to want to do it for her.
Anyhow, I just wanted to thank you for putting out "Invisible Girls". It's absolutely right, it does fill a void that existed as far as young women are concerned, something for people who haven't repressed this for years and years and years, people who want to move forward into adulthood free.
So thank you. It is good to be reminded of the strength of others.
Dr. Patti responds:
Thank you so much for writing to me. Your story is difficult. As I say over and over again in "Invisible Girls" the deepest pain is the mother's rejection. I am so sorry that your mother has chosen your step father over you, that she has decided that you need to forgive and forget and have clean and sweet Sunday family dinners. Your new love is right to see things regarding how the abuse has affected you. Please read my chapter on mothers, and also the Incest Chapter tells so much about the suffering of the daughter when them mother does not see the abuse under her roof. I am so sorry that you have suffered at the hands of your step father. And you are strong and loving and capable of a caring relationship because as I say in my book your abuser unkindly borrows something from you, but you own your heart and soul, he can never really take it away from you. It would be great if you could find a talented therapist to help you through what may be a change in the way you support your mother emotionally at the cost of your own emotions. I would love your feedback after you finish the book.
................................xo, Dr. Patti.