Recently, I was asked why family of origin would side with an abusive in-law as opposed to the victimized family member. The woman asked me, “Why does my client’s own family not believe her?” Then she explained the fact that the victim’s family has been hiding the secret of abuse by the father toward their mother for years. It all started to make sense. Here was my response. Maybe it will help some if you who are dealing with similar situations.
“Ok – I have your answer. They do believe her. Rest assured. They all know she is telling the truth and it absolutely kills them. It infuriates them. It saddens them – for about 5 minutes and then it scares them. They are all hiding the secret of abuse. Dad has been abusive and they have been taught not to tell. So, they haven’t told. They have done nothing to protect mom all these years. They are guilty. They are victims. They are probably dealing with abuse in their own homes now as adults. Some of them are likely abusers. If they side with her then they are admitting that abuse exists and the lies they all have been hiding become truth. Mom may even be unable to admit this out of fear or anger that her daughter is going to stir the pot and cause Dad to turn up his abuse. How about the kids in the family? If the true definition of abuse comes out, then the cops may show up on their doorsteps. The whole family is sad, angry, hurt, torn, guilty, victimized, and terrified. All they can do is lie and fight on the side of the devil in the hope they can keep their house of cards from falling apart. Your client or friend needs to hang tough. I did. She is the one who is now free. They will live in bondage to a cruel master. She has done the best thing for herself and children. Cut the strings if necessary.” ~ Lisa