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Working Through Mother Blame

Although our culture usually criticizes women for being angry, it does not hesitate to direct anger towards women.

Women, and specifically mothers, are frequently designated as recipients for whatever anger needs a target. This is sometimes evident in the extreme, as when a mother is blamed for the father's abuse of their child. Some fathers have habitually blamed their wives for the fact that they abused their daughters. Many psychologists and sociologists have endorsed this position as well. They cite the wife's failure to meet the husband's needs for nurturing or sex. They refer to her drinking, illness, working nights, or being otherwise unavailable.

"And so," the father pleads, holding up his hands in a gesture of helplessness,"I turned to my daughter."

This is preposterous. It is never anyone else's fault when a man abuses a child, regardless of how inadequate a mother may have been. No behavior on her part is license for him to abuse children.

It's time to stop blaming women for what some men have done.

Some survivors perpetuate this blame of mothers, remaining far angrier at their mothers than they are at their abuser. There are logical reasons for this:

So when it comes to expressing anger, or even just feeling it, we're usually more comfortable pointing it at a woman. There's a precedent: most survivors have been angry at themselves for a long time.

Although some women direct all their anger at their mothers, others are afraid to get angry at with you. You may identify so much with your mother's oppression that you minimize or negate your own. You may feel allied with her as women, in a patriarchal society and think that acknowledging your anger would threaten that bond. But if your mother didn't protect you, looked the other way, set you up, or blamed you, you are inevitably carrying some feelings of anger. It is necessary to experience, validate, and express those feelings. This is not only your right; it is essential for your healing. Unless your mother was your abuser, you must not direct all of your anger towards her. The abuser deserves his or her share. As you allow yourself to know the genuine depth and range of your anger, you will find there's enough to go around.

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If anyone would like to share with others about problems with anger and some of the ways one can cope with this emotion, feel free to sign my guest book. This is how we can help one another with different coping skills. Do you have any other opinions about this topic? What answers do you have?

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