Our expert says:
You have done admirably well under extremely difficult circumstances, and have constructed a deservedly good life for yourself.
Its not easy to believe your mom's excuses - if she knew this horrible man was abusing other local children, she MUST have suspected you could be amongst his victims, and yet she seems to have chosen to do nothing about either of these. And blaming the kids is also an unacceptable excuse - did she truly believe that the neighbourhood just happened to be full of sexually predator children, all of whom just happened to prey on her innocent man, who was of course unable to resist the temptation and forced to give in ?
Lets face facts : you are describing a feckless, morally and sexually irresponsible woman whose chosen actions in life caused inevitable problems for you and others, and aparently wished to do no better, and refused to take responsibility for her own choices.
The value of "Forgiveness" is grotesquely and obscenely exaggerated these days, maybe especially in South Africa. Only in the sense of freeing yourself from bonds of bitterness that tie you to the perpetrator is there any value in overlooking past harm done to you by others. Forgiveness in the ways it is far too easily pressed on us by irresponsible and ignorant do-gooders, in ways that let perps off the hook and indeed encourage and assist them in continuing their ways, is an evil in its own right.
You cannot and SHOULD not try to have a normal relationship with an abuser - it only harms you and encourages them.
Why shouldn't your children, her grandchildren, think badly of her ? IF she chooses to continue behaving badly and cruelly towards others ? TO encourage them to overlook her offenses teaches them that such behaviour is OK, which is a very bad lesson to learn.
Your priest and your psychologist are absolutely right - cut her out of your life and this can only benefit you and your children. OF COURSE YOU ARE BETTER THAN HER - MUCH, much better. Not because you were educated, but because you are not selfish and abusive, as she is. You EARNED everything you have in life, and she didn't bother to choose to try to do so.
If your sister chooses to "forgive" her mother ( which, as I've been saying, usually actually means choosing to encourage her to continue being a selfish and unpleasant person ) she is free to make that choice. Maybe because she has chosen to live a more solitary life, and has CHOSEN to focus on your mother as a resource of some obscure sort, she feels she has less choices. But that is her choice, not yours. She has no right whatsoever to even suggest that you must do so, let alone to pressure you to do so. That's none of her business. She is cruel to call you cruel for not ignoring the cruelty of your mother.
Work with your psuychologist specifically on developing ways to "write your mother off", to separate your life from hers, for your own sake and that of the children. Stop assuming that you owe her anything. And she has no right whatever to take your children away for any reason, whether to a party or for any other reason - never forget6, this is the woman who chose to expose you to a child abuser, and to ignore what he was doing to you and to other local children. She should never be allowed to have charge of anyone's children. If she EVER tried to do that with my children, I'd call the police and have her arrested for child abduction, and insist on pressing charges. And let her know that this is what will inevitably happen if she dares to try this again.
Do not accept their invitations for you to feel guilty for the things they have chosen to do wrong. This is often the lesson abusers teach and may be more damaging to their victims than anything else they do.
I keep emphasizing the theme of "chosen" because we always have choices in life, and too often prefer to pretend we could not possibly have acted differently. You yourself are a marvellous example of how even in the worst of circumstances one can indeed choose to do the right things and not embrace the wrong.
As ANne says, explain gently to your children that because your mother took part in bad things in the past that hurt you terribly, and because you are worried about them possibly coming to harm when with her, and because you can't continue to allow her to hurt you as she still does, you and they will not be seeing her again, and that they should report to you if she tries to contact them in any way. If necessary, get a restraining order against her.
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