Friday, February 19, 2016

Unpleasant Things

"We don't talk about unpleasant things in this family." While he was growing up, my friend Rodney told me that was what he heard regularly.

Whether parents say such words isn't as important as their behavior that implies those words. They probably mean they don’t want to face difficult issues or have their lives disrupted. For Rodney and others like him, there was no openness to talk about the sexual abuse by his much older brother. He obeyed the family rules and kept quiet.

We refer to that as a conspiracy of silence. That term usually means the family ignores, denies, or chooses to remain ignorant. They don't know because they don't want to know.

It may appear as if they are protecting the family; in reality, they're worsening the effects. By not addressing painful issues, parents fail their children.

It's not that all parents say such negative words, but they still don't invite the Rodneys to open up.

I refuse to remain silent 
because others consider abuse an unpleasant topic.

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Are there questions or specific topics you would like Cec to address in upcoming blog entries? If so, please send an email to his assistant at the following address: cecilmurphey(at)mchsi(dot)com. 

1 comment:

Andrew J. Schmutzer said...

"They don't know, because they don't want to know." This is an ETHICAL issue, not a cognitive one! And there are other kinds of "not knowing." Whether it is the "sacred silence" of the church or a parent's "collusive silence," I've learned we cannon heal what we will not not name. There it is: an issue of the will, not even real ignorance.

God keep us from willful ignorance, and maybe our children will do better than we did.