The Ultimate Betrayal, The Enabling Mother, Incest and Sexual Abuse, by Audrey Ricker, PhD, See Sharp Press, Tucson, Arizona, 2006, page 167:
"This book is about your mother's role in your sexual trauma. But it's also about all of the feelings relating to your abuse, impulses resulting from it, and reactions to it that you weren't expecting."
This area of healing is probably where I have done the least amount of work. Why, because of my fear of seeing my mother for what she was---the parent who did nothing to prevent the incest from happening. As a woman and mother myself, somehow my mother's role in the abuse is worse than the actual physical abuse from my dad.
My mother played the passive role of the parent who enabled the abuser mostly by sending me places with my dad. My mother didn't openly abuse me like my dad did. She just didn't object when he took me places instead of taking my brother with him. She ignored signs that said something was wrong. She ignored my occasional pleas to stay home. I didn't often have enough courage to object. I usually just did what I was told by both of my parents.
As a child, I needed to be able to tell myself that at least one of my parents loved me. Since my dad was the one hurting me with the sexual abuse, my only choice was to believe that my mom loved me no matter what.
As a child, I told myself over and over again, "I know she loves me. She just doesn't know how to show me." You see. My mother was always emotionally unavailable. At some point in my childhood, I quit calling her "Mother" and starting calling her "Mom." She wasn't my mother as much as I wanted her to be. I was hers. I was the one who nurtured her by being sure not to upset her because she had an unspoken rule that said, "Do Not Disturb."
That "Do Not Disturb" rule is one of the reasons that I didn't tell her about the incest when I was a child and young adult. The second reason was my fear of being judged and condemned by her. She would have said I was bad. If she knew about the incest, she couldn't love me. I needed her to love me too much to chance telling her about the abuse. So I kept silent. I didn't disturb the silence of her inner world. She didn't hear my inner screams or feel my inner hurt and rage. She didn't see my outer sadness. She didn't hear my outer sighs which were the only sign of my inner turmoil.
My mother was emotionally unavailable. She was silently angry. She was always lost in her cigarettes, coffee and romance novels. She was passive-aggressive with her anger. She knew how to use silence to let you know that she was angry. If you asked if she was angry, she would deny it. You could see the anger and judgment in her eyes and how she tightly held her body.
I learned to read body language early on to tell if I needed to stay out of the way of either of my parents. This was just one of the lessons that my parents taught me about Life.
The Ultimate Betrayal, The Enabling Mother, Incest and Sexual Abuse is the only book that I have read that goes into detail on the part of the enabling mother and the roles that she played. What I learned from reading this book is that my mother could have been much, much worse that she was. I caught small glimpes of my mother in some of the examples shared in the book but I didn't really find her there as I was afraid that I would. My mother just wasn't there in my life. She was an empty body with no emotional attachments.