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Family destroyed by secrets that aren't secret any more.

(202 Posts)

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chubbyhez Wed 13-Aug-14 11:30:29

I have 2 older sisters (technically half sisters although it's never been thought of like that). Mum was married, had them, divorced, met my dad, married, then had me. There's 10/11 years between us. Their bio dad was never around.

Great childhood, string family unit. All remained close even after moving out. Sister 1 living up the road from mum and dad. Sister 2 had I in neighbouring towns. Birthdays, Christmas, Sunday dinners all together, grandchildren at mum and dads lots.

It's all been a lie. Dad sexually abused (inappropriate touching on 3 occasions in one week) ds1 when she was 14 not long after I was born. She told ds2 about 15 years ago. Both of their husbands knew. Mum and I didn't until 2 weeks ago it all came out. Dad not denying, admits it was wrong, is ashamed.

Now it's like we've been blown apart. They (ds1 and 2) say they hate dad, always have (ds2 since finding out) but that doesn't make sense to me. They haven't kept any distance between them and dad. Have let him pay for weddings, cars, holidays, let him spend weekends fixing cars, went on holiday, bought him big presents - there's been no sign to mum or i that all was not well. He's a first class grandad to their kids, they've never made any attempt to keep him at arms length.

Now they're telling me they hate dad. They don't understand why I've been to see him,since finding out or why mum hasn't kicked him out.

I hate what he did. But he's not been,an out and out bastard all our lives. That would be easy.

chubbyhez Wed 13-Aug-14 11:34:07

I don't blame my sister's for keeping it a secret. It has been horrid for both of them. I just don't understand their choices in letting him be a good dad and taking everything he offered us all and saying now that they hate him.

And my poor mum. I don't know what to do for her.

fackinell Wed 13-Aug-14 11:39:59

What a horrible situation to be in but what your father has done and admitted to is horrendous. You must respect both your sisters wishes on this and perhaps get some counseling for yourself to cope with this bombshell. You can't make your mother's mind up for her, I can't understand why she would stay with an abuser but it's her choice to make. You can continue to see who you wish. Are they going to report it?

MaryBS Wed 13-Aug-14 11:43:32

It may be they've tried to pretend it didn't happen, but now its all out in the open, they don't have to pretend anymore? Having been abused, its easy to feel ashamed or partially to blame for what happened. I can see why they would behave like this.

Sorry, no advice, but I would find it hard to defend your dad. But you and your mum must be shell shocked also, I would suggest seeking professional advice?

chubbyhez Wed 13-Aug-14 11:46:17

I'm waiting for counselling.

Does hexagonal being everything he was and is because of an incident a lifetime ago?

Meerka Wed 13-Aug-14 11:47:03

chubby im so sorry for your devastated family and for your sisters.

When I've seen something like this before, the feelings of the abused person have been very mixed indeed. In a way, sexual abuse hits so deep and it's so intimate that it's incredibly hard to admit to yourself and when you do, it's almost compartmentalised. It takes time, as far as I can see, for many people to come out into the open about it.

But at the same time they do have feelings of love for someone who's been there for them and done good things. And feelings of shame and of hate. So many reasons to keep silent at the time, ranging from fear of not being believed to fear of devastating mum's life. All those things seem to weigh on the person.

When they are able to be open about it at last, they have to struggle with conflicting feelings. Perhaps they trust him in some things but not others; perhaps they felt unable to say No to him helping them without questions being asked as to why. It's amazing what you can keep to yourself if you have to without a sign being visible to anyone else. Perhaps accpeting the money etc was actually a subtle form of revenge. At a guess most likely the feelings were conflicting.

I don't think that you can ever fully understand unless you've been there, which you and I haven't. Though I've seen the results of some terrible abuse.

It may help to get some counselling from a service specializing in sexual abuse - you too need help at this point, your whole family's never going to be the same again.

If you can, be there for your sisters. Just listening. Talk to them about why you still see him and be open that you hate what he's done, that you never find it ok, but that he is still your father and you're struggling to come to terms with this terrible, terrible thing.

I have a feeling you may feel a bit angry with them too, but just as their feelings are mixed, so maybe are yours.

As for your mother ... I just don't know what can help. Giving her space to talk if she wants, I suppose. But both she and - strangely- your father are in a dreadful positoin now.

chubbyhez Wed 13-Aug-14 11:47:04

*he stop

chubbyhez Wed 13-Aug-14 11:52:36

My feelings are all over the place. I am angry at my sisters for setting him up on a pedestal, for laying the foundations of a family life I've built on. We're always popping in and out, spending time with dad. They've joined him on holidays as adults - they could have kept a distance without it being questioned, especially with him being their step dad.

They didn't leave home until they were well into their twenties and getting married. It's not like they escaped at the first opportunity. They left me there at the same age ds1 was when the incident happened. They never checked that I was safe.

externalwallinsulation Wed 13-Aug-14 12:01:51

No, despite the fact that what he did was so very wrong, he doesn't stop being who he is, and you don't have to stop loving him. What you do need to do is to find a way of supporting your sisters as they deal with what was done, while being firm about the fact that you will take your own line in relation to both of your parents.

People are not uniformly bad or uniformly good - even people who have done terrible things. It is very easy for victims in these cases to polarise, because they haven't done anything wrong and yet are dealing personally with the horrible consequences of someone else's actions. Making it black and white can be a way for them to handle the terribly mixed emotions that survivors of abuse often have deep down. Being respectful of their need to do take that view, while maintaining your own independent interpretation and your own, different relationship with your mother and father, is important. However, that demands skills of diplomacy, tact, and listening as you relate to both sides that are hard to muster when this situation also affects you very deeply: this is your family that is being ripped apart by a drama in which you are not one of the central players. That is a very confusing and difficult position to be in, because you are quietly going through a loss that is probably not recognised by anyone else - with all the normal feelings that go with grief (anger, upset, hurt, defensiveness etc). This is why it'll be really important to have counselling so you also have a place to think that is independent and outside of the situation, rather than putting your own conflicted feelings back into a family that is already at breaking point.

Meerka Wed 13-Aug-14 12:20:59

^ They left me there at the same age ds1 was when the incident happened. They never checked that I was safe.^

I hear you. flowers.

All I can say again is that the feelings seem to be so complex and so hard to admit even to yourself, that they may not have been able to face it. Maybe they didn't tell even each other, though they were closer in age, until they were much older.

Also, because he sounds like a good Dad in other ways (apart from this devastating tendancy of his) they may have overall loved him much more than hated him .. until at last they were ready to fully face what happened.

At a guess all of you are now facing it and they are facing it again in a different way. As time goes on, hopefully all these different emotions and thoughts can be given their place and the complexity of the whole relationship with him can be faced. But you all need help. You and your mother too. Perhaps him too, too. What he did was many years ago and his selfish, wrong actions have come back to smash his life to pieces.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 13-Aug-14 12:22:40

Isn't this a case of hating the sin rather than hating the sinner?

lljkk Wed 13-Aug-14 12:30:51

It became normalised for your sisters. Most children of abusers love their parents very much. There's good Daddy & bad Daddy. The 2 Daddy's came as a package & they didn't get one without the other so they learned to accommodate. It doesn't have to make sense, it's just how humans deal with hardship.

Nowadays we have an unforgiving view about sex crimes; they used to be seen as like most other crimes, might just be a blip or a phase and somebody could reform & move on & become totally trustworthy again. Instead sex criminals are now seen as unredeemable. I'm not so sure that's right (I'll get flamed for even suggesting it might not be right).

I think you've got to think really hard about what you want going forward that is possible. Your sisters most likely will never forgive their step-dad (but it's their prerogative if they do, and how much more confusing would that be!), and you may be forced to choose between your mom-dad & sisters (sadly). Your father will never be forgiven by hardly anyone for this history.

Quitelikely Wed 13-Aug-14 12:35:57

I'm so sorry about this. Do you know if they are going to the police about this?

chubbyhez Wed 13-Aug-14 12:38:25

No ds1 has said she isn't going to the police. What good would that do anyway.

Quitelikely Wed 13-Aug-14 12:43:24

Has your sister said if you see your dad she won't have a relationship with you?

Has your dad seen her since to be able to apologise and show remorse

chubbyhez Wed 13-Aug-14 12:47:55

Neither have said that. But ds2 has questioned me. They ask how he is as well but I won't be drawn into that.

Neither have seen him since it came out.

GoatsDoRoam Wed 13-Aug-14 13:05:49

For your sister, do you think this is just "an incident a lifetime ago" , or that it can ever be?

By saying this, you are minimizing; expressing the wish that this revelation not change your previously happy family life. Unfortunately, it has. Things are very different now, and they will not be the same again. When your sisters express surprise that you are still seeing your dad and that your mum has not thrown him out, they are expressing their pain that you and your mum are not treating this as the life-changing shock that it has been for them.

Please put yourself in their shoes for a bit. I understand your instinctive urge to downplay this out of a wish to prevent it from changing too much of your previously cozy family. But this is child sexual abuse we're talking about here. For the victim, it can never be brushed under the carpet.

(you ask why your sisters played happy families for so long: your sister had as much stake then as you do now in keeping up façades and remaining in denial. Everybody prefers to play happy families and pretend nothing is wrong, as an attempt to make it not be wrong. Denial is not sustainable, though.)

Quitelikely Wed 13-Aug-14 13:09:49

Have you asked them why they kept it a secret? And why now? They have the answers but I definitely think counselling is the right way to go for you.

Your mother must be in some kind of living hell. Their marriage must be under strain right now.

chubbyhez Wed 13-Aug-14 13:18:37

I don't think it's fair for them to unleash a secret and get annoyed when mum and I don't react how they want us to.

She's lived in mum and dads pockets, she's obviously found some way of mmoving on at some point

GoatsDoRoam Wed 13-Aug-14 13:22:01

Don't then get annoyed that they are not reacting the way you would want them to.

A little empathy would go a long way here, OP.

wallaby73 Wed 13-Aug-14 13:27:31

As goats said, this does read as if YOU are annoyed at THEM; but you really should be annoyed at your Dad.......i don't hear any empathy or understanding towards them, just resentment towards them.....this is ugly hmm

Boomeranggirl Wed 13-Aug-14 13:29:11

No ds1 has said she isn't going to the police. What good would that do anyway

I don't want to hurt you but the question needs to be asked, if he has done this to your sisters has he done it to anyone else? This kind of behaviour tends to be a pattern rather than a one off. That's why they may chose to talk the police. Although they say they won't don't be surprised if they change their minds over time.

I really feel for you it must be absolutely devastating.

wrapsuperstar Wed 13-Aug-14 13:31:27

I'll probably get flamed for this but your posts read rather unpleasantly to me. It seems your anger is directed far more towards your sisters than your father, which is utterly misguided.

Your sister(s)' way of dealing with this horrible, horrible thing should not be put under the microscope. There is no 'right' way to deal with being sexually abused or being the confidant of a victim. Their decision to stay close and accept financial help is not the issue here.

The big issue is your dad did something utterly awful, something that in my opinion is unforgivable. Many victims of childhood sexual abuse (or siblings who were aware of it) choose to stay close to the perpertrators. Surviving something like this is never uncomplicated. They are not to blame for choosing to deal with this in the way the did, nor are they to blame for their current responses either. They went through something awful and deserve understanding above all else. Your anger towards them, whilst I do understand and empathise, is not appropriate.

Your father is the only person who has acted badly here I'm afraid. Your sisters have suffered and probably have been contending with a complicated whirlwind of emotions for many years. Their actions might not make sense to you, and I get your feelings of injustice (especially as you are seeing your mum suffering too), but like I say there is no correct way to deal with surviving this sort of thing. You cannot be the arbiter of the 'appropriate' way to deal with historical sexual abuse. Right now all your sisters deserve, no matter how hard it might be for you, is your patience and support.

coppertop Wed 13-Aug-14 13:41:25

You keep talking about "the incident". By your own (and your dad's) admission, there were actually at least three of these 'incidents'.

Your dad sexually abused a child on three separate occasions. This was a child he was supposed to be a father figure to.

Three separate acts of sexually abusing a child should not be minimised as "the incident".

yoyo27 Wed 13-Aug-14 13:51:19

Oh goodness what a nightmare. Your poor sisters. How has it all come out? What is your mum doing? Is she standing by your dad?

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