One of the blogs I follow is Emerging from Broken by Darlene Ouimet.
She posted her experience on confronting her abuser/mother. http://emergingfrombroken.com/to-confront-or-not-to-confront-that-is-the-question/
Darlene points out several of the issues when confronting. Not wanting to hurt their feelings. Concern that she would be just like them. Lack of self care.
I also talked to my counselor about confronting my parents. He pointed to the wall. I was puzzled. He clarified. ‘Pound your head against the wall, at least when you stop the pain will stop.’ He brought up two serious concerns. One, my parents continue denial that anything was wrong, that I was unreasonable. The other is ramifications now. He also pointed out in some situations a confrontation can escalate the problems. About 2 years ago, I finally confronted my parents. They denied events. With both my sister and I together, they denied almost everything. It was like participating in a bizzare avant-garde movie with one set of actors totally not hearing the other actors in the movie and going on as if nothing happened. For me, pounding my head against the wall would have done better. The pain stops when I stop pounding my head. After this confrontation a few months later my mother accused me of being unreasonable since the confrontation was supposed to change things. Only she did not change….not one bit. People accused me of holding a grudge. My past shows the pattern but she disrespects me now. It is not the past, it how she always treats me. The past simply confirms my present situation. I answered her accusations but never sent it. I needed to say for myself in print what it was that I perceived happened. I needed to clarify my side of the story. I did not need to send it because she chose not to change. How do I know she made this choice? She told me. Several of her doctors recommended that she seek counseling. One doctor gave her lithium on the condition that she went to counseling. She went a few times then quit. I asked her why. She shrugged, “It’s too hard and the counselor talked to your father and not to me.” Yes, counseling is hard. She chose not to and expected everyone else to dance around her to meet her needs when she has nothing to give.
Now, when ever I think about confronting any rude or abusive person I look at the wall and debate if the effort is better spent pounding my head against a wall. I did discover something interesting along the way. Some people that hurt me will apologize for their behavior and endeavor not to do it again. I worked out mutually agreeable ways to treat me and the other person that worked out to be a win-win. Actually, many people prefer to work out relationships so everyone feels comfortable.
My counselor also pointed out that some people will become more dangerous when they are confronted. Yes, there are people that ended up in hospitals and morgues because of confronting their abuser. Sometimes the abuser is already dead. I discovered that writing a letter to that person can be quite therapeutic, I was able to work out in my own mind exactly how they harmed me and started the mourning process of that relationship. I am not mourning the abuser, I am mourning what could have been a wonderful relationship with different choices.