When I was five years old, my mother got together with a man that she met at her workplace. As the months went by, he began to sexually abuse me. I told my mother twice, but she never did anything about it. Instead, she married the man and had a child with him.

Now I am twenty-six years old and I feel an enormous amount of resentment in my heart. I know that she’s my mother, but it’s hard for me to forgive her. I live with her, but there are days that… those thoughts flood my mind and I just want to lock myself in my room. What should I do?

Dear Friend,

No wonder you resent what was done to you and how your mother failed to protect you! As an adult now yourself, you can’t even imagine how a mother would be willing to “sacrifice” her daughter on the altar of her own selfish love interest. You find it difficult to trust her now, knowing that she so willingly betrayed you then. And you are grieving, not only for the little girl whose innocence was ripped away, but also for the woman who now must face life feeling so abandoned.

It would be extremely helpful if your mother were willing to admit what she allowed to happen to you, and to ask your forgiveness. However, in our experience, that doesn’t usually happen. Your mother likely justified what she did so long ago, and she is still justifying it now. If she were to ever admit that she betrayed you, it would crack the mask that she wears as a “good” mother. It would bring into question what other things she may have done or permitted. So she protects herself (instead of you) by refusing to acknowledge what happened to you.

Please ask your medical doctor or a social worker how to find a group for survivors of sexual violence. You desperately need a forum in which to talk about what happened to you. If you can’t find a group, then you should consider seeing a professional counselor. Keeping all of your feelings bottled up inside could make you physically sick. It could also lead you to engage in destructive romantic relationships, looking for love in all the wrong places.

You cannot forgive your mother by yourself. Only Jesus Christ, God’s Son, can help you to forgive her. He has experience in forgiving the difficult cases, as He did when He forgave the very people who crucified Him. He can help you to understand and believe that forgiveness will free you, not her, from the destructive physical and mental effects of unforgiveness. Pray and ask God to come alongside you and supernaturally help you to forgive.

A therapy group or a counselor can better advise you as to how you should relate to your mother now. Retreating from everyone and putting yourself into isolation in your room is probably not the best option.

We wish you well,