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What would you do?

(20 Posts)
FairytalesAreBullshit Wed 05-Apr-17 01:59:47

Got a bit of a dilemma & not sure how to go about it.

I found out when I was older I'm actually illegitimate, no known Father. My children treat my Dad (who bought me up) and relatives as their relatives, as I've never really thought about saying anything, as they get on so well, so does DH.

I know how I felt when I found out. Would you keep it a secret for life, or would you plan on telling them at some point?

I don't want to cause upset and questions, ideally DD would be a bit older perhaps. Or I could say to DH we keep it to ourselves, it's not been a talking point so far, hoping for the best.

AcrossthePond55 Wed 05-Apr-17 02:46:26

I'll start by saying that I'm an adopted child, so my 'view' is from that position. I bit different as it was never a 'secret'.

I don't think secrecy is ever good. Witness your own feelings when you found out. But you still love your dad, right? He IS still Dad after all.

The first thing is, does your dad know that you know? Does he even know? You refer to 'when I found out' as opposed to 'when I was told', but also 'secrecy' so I'm not really sure.

Assuming that your dad is aware, then I'm sure at some point your children will say something or see something that will open a conversation, whether it has to do with family resemblance, the date your parents married, a photo that he is not in, any number of things. I don't think there is a need for a big sit down 'discussion'. My folks always used the phrase 'before we got you' as opposed to 'before you were born' so we (brother and I) always knew we were adopted. They also told us the stories of the 'happy days we brought you home'. I'm sure there are things from your childhood you might be able to use to give them that type of reference.

If it's a situation where your dad doesn't know that you know, then I'm afraid you'll have to wait years to tell your DD and any other children. She'd have to be old enough to keep the secret and mature enough to understand why. In short, she'll probably have to be an adult. It wouldn't be right or fair to tell a child 'Don't tell Grand-dad but he's not my father'. Not fair at all. Only an adult would truly understand why you 'kept the secret'.

But for medical history reasons, especially since you are biologically half an 'unknown' quantity, your children do need to know. I have two genetic conditions (neither life threatening, thank God), obviously we don't really know who I inherited them from. Not knowing my family medical history, my doctor looked much further afield for my diagnoses and found them both. My brother is a recovering alcoholic. If you knew our family you'd think he was 'out of the family norm'. But knowing he was adopted helped him to understand the genetic component to addiction, even if he doesn't know who he inherited it from. Also, our dad died of an inheritable genetic neurological condition. Obviously, that's nothing my brother, I, nor my children ever have to worry about. But if we hadn't known we were adopted, it would have been something very concerning and would have overshadowed our lives.

AcrossthePond55 Wed 05-Apr-17 02:51:46

Also, don't be too sure that no one else knows. One of my cousin's children spitefully told his younger cousin (mothers are sisters) that his father, who married his mother when he was tiny, was really his stepdad. No one had any idea that this child even knew. It really affected the sisters' relationship.

FairytalesAreBullshit Wed 05-Apr-17 04:51:51

It's a weird situation as they all know (the older family) my parents were married before I was born, only a few months, but it all looked legit.

My brothers and sisters say my Dad cares for me, but he doesn't speak. I try to initiate conversation but get no reply. I hear from my husband who socialises with family & family friends that my Dad and other relatives have said rather unpleasant things about me.

The main reason it would be hard on DD & DS is they have very little to do with maternal family, so the 'paternal' side is all they have on my side. Luckily DH's family are lovely. It must take a lot of venom to disown your grandchildren on account of really misguided feelings on how having me impacted my maternal family. I was born in an era when it was considered an awful thing to get pregnant out of wedlock.

I didn't have the amazing childhood of a child that was adopted and wanted. Finding out the truth as it were, answered why I was treated the way I was.

I looked at the other thread on here about toxic parents, I'm sure I have the book somewhere.

I'm in constant turmoil over whether I should seek a DNA test to see if that helps, as it supposedly links you with relatives, you may not have known you had. But then there's the turmoil there's a man out there with a daughter and grandchildren he never knew he had. He'd be quite old now, I worry that it's a lot of upset and disruption. Plus he could be dead. He could not want to know anything about me.

If anything there is a milestone in mind when it might be easier to tell the children. Not a happy milestone, but one none the less.

It saddens me how things are, as I've always done the best by everyone. So I can't understand the hate and vitriol. I'm lucky it's not towards the children. DD handed over a card, the person who received it said 'Why does her name have to be in it?'

I'm really ill with a few congenital issues, it appears both DC are free from that luckily. Although with DD some may be apparent during puberty, so I guess there's still time.

I think I'll post other stuff on the other thread. Lots of people who have gone through the same.

The irony is I've devoted my life to being the best a person can be. So it is hard when their feelings that Are circumstantial over ride the good.

At times you feel desperate like you're such a big problem, maybe the world isn't for you. If that makes any sense.

Thank you for your help.

I've contacted many, in order to try and find the guy. But got no where. So this DNA test is the last hope. But something I'm in two minds about as it is a lot of money.

highinthesky Wed 05-Apr-17 05:17:57

Stop overthinking this. This is your identity crisis and not your DC's.

What you choose around DNA testing is your own choice - if you have congenital issues that are considered to be hereditary rather than random / environmental and are in the UK, the NHS may be able to help - but there is no reason you should actively hide the truth from your family. It will not end well.

Enjoy the positives. You have a father and DC have a DGD which is more than some can say.

highinthesky Wed 05-Apr-17 05:22:35

Hate and vitriol?

Treat your relationship with your side of the family as a separate issue from the genetic side of things. The family you grew up with are adults and make their own decisions, as do you. If it's been a toxic relationship as you allude to despite your best efforts, cut your losses and walk away. You do not need this on top of your health issues.

picklemepopcorn Wed 05-Apr-17 06:13:13

Have I misunderstood your post? You have been, and still are, cold shouldered because of this. I can't see that being healthy for your DCs to see.

Does he have any good qualities? What will your DCs be missing if you go NC with him?

mummytime Wed 05-Apr-17 06:21:59

However nice they may be to your DC they are causing them harm by being so dismissive/unpleasant to you.
You have value, and your children know this. Seeing you devalued is psychologically harmful for them.
I would suggest seeing much less of this "family", and getting yourself some counselling.

If it is congenital then there are schemes where the NHS sometimes tries to find family members.

Cricrichan Wed 05-Apr-17 08:03:43

So your dad and your mum's family are mean to you/say bad things about you and to your husband?

I'm not sure I'd want to be related to people who could blame an innocent child!

Are your own children grown up and you now have grandchildren?

AcrossthePond55 Wed 05-Apr-17 17:53:45

Ok, let me see if I understand. Your mum was pregnant when she married your dad, but he was not the father of the child (you)? Did he know that? I mean, it wouldn't be the first time a girl took the 'easy way out' and married a man she didn't love but who wanted to marry her, when the baby's father disappeared! I'm sure it wasn't uncommon years ago, before DNA.

If your dad and his family treated you badly, I'd assume that he didn't know and was somehow 'tricked' into the marriage. That would account for how he treated you. And his family knows. That would account for how they treated you. And I'm sorry your childhood was so bad. You are right, it's not the same as a wanted, adopted child. I'm assuming that it's your paternal relatives you're talking about. What about your maternal relatives? Do they also treat you poorly? Or is it both sides?

BUT, I think you do have to operate under the presumption that 'everyone' knows and at some point someone is going to say something to your children. It could be in an 'I think they should know' way or a 'I'm angry and going to inflict pain' way. Either way, it's going to happen. I also can't get over the fact that they have spoken ill of you to your own DH!! I can guarantee you that if my family did that, they'd have gotten a huge flea in their ear from DH!!

My advice would be to slowly withdraw from your family so as not to startle your children or prompt an angry, retaliatory confrontation. If they truly do dislike or resent you, they'll let you 'slip away' and your children will probably not notice. Many children grow up with just one side of their family. As long as they have people around them who love them (and you), they'll be just fine.

I do think that at some point you'll have to tell them. But if you withdraw from family who will be likely to 'do it for you', you'll be better placed to choose your own time and place to do so.

BTW, have you had counseling for this? Even those of us who were adopted into loving homes and grew up knowing how wanted we were can have a bit of 'baggage' regarding abandonment. I did and counseling helped me work through them. I really think it would help you, combined with backing away from people who are hurtful. You deserve a life filled with love and acceptance.

FairytalesAreBullshit Fri 07-Apr-17 00:10:39

I'm old and could be a grandparent, grin, but thankfully got 2 DC, DD6 & DS13. I never thought about the impact as the family grows by generations.

I found out through spite, it was meant to be that I'd never know, that's what was agreed upon. So when I found out there was initial shock, then it went from there. As time went on relations grew strained on the paternal side, which I was really close to. So that was and has been a shock, but they treat my DC as their own, they get on well with DH. It got to a point where I couldn't cope with the roulette wheel of whether if I went would they be nice or nasty, so I just didn't go round as often. Although there were some petty issues with siblings, but we resolved them.

My maternal side, I can say that it was pretty much the same as the paternal side, as DC were growing up we saw my Mum. Didn't see other relatives though as the tension has always been there that being illegitimate I caused shame, embarrassment and ruined my Mum's opportunities in life. Then things got more distant. I still wish her Happy Mothers Day. I've gone as far as apologising for ruining her life and thanking her for the sacrifices she made, but she's NC, even with DC.

I've never had counselling, I tried it and I don't know if this is the norm, but the counsellor kept saying 'and' after I'd finished saying something. They never injerjected, they just listened, I could think of anything else to say, but I basically got asked to prove further, I thought it wasn't really doing anything so gave up.

I had the offer of something really good, I knew my Dad and DH knew someone who would be interested. I was told by DH that my Dad has bad mouthed me to the point, where this person, who knows very little about me, really dislikes me. This has happened with a few people, where I've approached them and they've been off, or something has happened and people I don't know have been abusive. But then when I've looked into it further, they're linked to either Mum/Dad so have heard whatever.

Like despite being in hospital, they think me being ill is a convenience so I can be lazy. Totally makes sense, I get my dream job, I obviously want to lose it and spend my days sleeping or being really ill.

The hardest part is my conditions will ultimately kill me, given what's wrong and what I go through, I won't know if I'm in a life threatening situation. On the other hand, I've told Mum about these problems in case they are maternal issues, just out of courtesy, I would have thought if she knew who my Dad was this would be a prompt to say, your Dad is called this. Hope it helps. Even a first name is better than nothing.

DC are close to the paternal side, with DH being close too, I can't see a situation where he would support total NC.

I'm just fed up and if I'm honest upset, that my family can do nothing but slag me off, when I've tried to be the best person I can be. I've worked really hard, ok I don't work now. If it wasn't for DC I don't think there would be anything to live for. I suffer 24/7, the people that are meant to care don't. It's always been fairly toxic so it isn't a surprise. What does surprise me is how many people will take on the rants of a drunk person, take them as verbatim and judge another person.

I would give you my last penny if it would help in any way. I support my DC in everything they do, I support DH in everything he needs supporting with. I don't understand where the negativity comes from. When I was in a better position than I am now, I helped everyone. I didn't even question helping a person in need, I did what I could.

On the other hand I am very different to them. I can't see why that would be a barrier though, because I enjoy different things.

AcrossthePond55 Fri 07-Apr-17 02:49:05

Honestly, even though DH and DCs have a 'good' relationship with your paternal family, I think I'd withdraw as much as I could.

But I think I'd wonder why my husband would want to be around people who speak terribly of me and apparently go out of their way to bad mouth me to others, even to the point of damaging my chances for income. Honestly, would you want to be around DH's family if they did the same to him as your family does to you? Your DH should be in your corner, not theirs. The DC of course, are different, they aren't to know the 'background'. Your husband's job is to support YOU, even if he gets along with your family. If they treat you badly, he needs to man up and tell them to go to hell.

Just remember, if you found out through spite, chances are your children will find out the same way. Not to spite them, but to spite you.

I think you should give counseling another try. A counselor's job is to help you bring things out and examine them then decide what to do about them, not to tell you what to do. So if you make a statement and a counselor says 'and', it usually means that they think there is more to it than you are saying or that you should examine what you have said. I don't know if I'm putting it right. Anyway, I think you should give it another go. Possibly your DH might come to some sessions later on. I'm sorry and I don't mean to upset you, but I think he's being very wrong in maintaining a cordial relationship with people who treat you so badly. I don't think it would hurt him to hear how that affects you. And counseling takes time. It took me 18 months to work through the things I wanted help in dealing with.

picklemepopcorn Fri 07-Apr-17 06:02:05

That sounds tough. Definitely try counselling again, you have a lot to deal with. Different counsellors have different styles and methods. The 'and' to force you to reflect more didn't work for you, but something else may.

Families are funny things, I'm sorry yours are difficult. Ask DH what he and the DCs get out of it. And how he knows it isn't bad for the kids to see you disrespected I that way. I wouldn't go myself even if they do.

Separate out all your worries, do you need to know about your birth father?

I'd write to DM and family taking back your apology- it was not your fault you were born, you did not cause their/her embarrassment. You might feel better when you are not carrying that burden.

I think I'd write to DF too, saying you appreciate him bringing you up, but feel he now regrets it, what does he want you to do?

You are carrying responsibility for a whole load of things you are not responsible for, and that is detracting you from the really important things, your DCs and your health.

mummytime Fri 07-Apr-17 07:24:24

Is there specific support for your condition? Is there a group for sufferers? Maybe counselling through them or genetic counselling could help.

I also think your DH is failing you by being close to a father who bad mouths and is spiteful to you. If you can't speak to him then maybe when you find a counsellor you can get on with get them to talk to him.

emilybrontescorset Fri 07-Apr-17 08:21:46

Op what an awful situation.
I too think it best if you withdraw contact from your paternal family.
Tell your dcs the truth. I doubt they will be that shocked, so many children have step parents/grandparents that it probably won't matter one bit to them.
I think telling your dc will also help you go Nc with your poisonous relatives.
I second the advice given about writing to your mother and retracting your apology. You have nothing to apologise for. You may find that once you refuse to accept the blame for any of this you are much stronger.
Start to disengage with any toxic relatives.

FairytalesAreBullshit Fri 07-Apr-17 11:42:35

I don't think it will be a bad shock to DC, as they're friends with a foster child, so know how that works etc. Both are quite mature for their age. So it wouldn't be devastating, I guess they'd feel a bit like I did, in that they've done a lot they didn't have to.

I don't know where my Mum lives, but I could address it to a relatives house and hopefully they'll pass it on.

With DH I think he's been immersed so much in their negativity, he can only see me how they do. Thus our marriage being more or less over. An example, I got a bit of a treat, I'm not known for treating myself, my first thoughts is to get stuff to say thanks to others. So I went shopping yesterday as I wanted some bits, I needed continence pads, only I seem to buy kitchen roll. I bought DH a few DVD's, some nice hot cross buns to take to work, chocolate, doughnuts. He was already angry over the boiler, he said I don't want a penny from you. I was like but it's a thank you for what you do. I'd got some bits from Amazon, DD & DS were looking through the box, DH was like oh that can go back for a start, I explained that DS & DD both wanted this game. At Christmas as a present they hadn't asked for I got them both a Steiff bear out of my money, DH though DS was too old for bears, but I was thinking good quality bears, they had an offer 2 for £50, it could be a family heirloom. He thought I was from a different planet.

When we've had fallouts between DH & myself, my siblings have interjected saying I could go back to where I grew up, but then when I text the person who apparently said it, I get no reply.

The main thing is feeling lonely because I have a big family, but both sides blame me for something I had no control over. I didn't decide to be born, I know adoption was on the cards at one point, but there was a really short window to sort this stuff. It sounds like a relative had an abortionist on speed dial who had very few ethics.

In a way I'm overly grateful for what my Dad did, but at the same time it wasn't all that lovely and Disneyfied. He was in no way as bad as Mum and her family, but he had his moments. I just think being a Dad wasn't his thing, he was kind of thrown in front of the head lights.

Apparently my Mum has written DC a letter each for when they turn 18. It concerns me what she's put it these letters, I don't have them someone else does. An example being my GP didn't speak for a long time as my Mum needed a scale goat for some problems, it was just handy they wouldn't question it if she blamed me.

Before I met DH I had a relationship that was physically and emotionally abusive, one day I got the courage to say this is going on. I was told what do you expect us to do. My heart sank that day, I felt more numb than when I found out my Dad wasn't my Dad. In my head when I had the courage to speak out they'd save me, instead they said that DV was a part of relationships, what did I do to deserve it. In all honesty I didn't do a thing. I would say that's when things changed with my paternal side, as I'd expect such a response from the maternal side, but not the paternal. I was so shocked it was horrible. So in the end I sorted it myself and found somewhere to go.

I'm not naive to think family life is a bed of roses, but certain things really got to me. New people coming into the family being told oh yeah she's the bastard, she ruined her Mums life and opportunities being born. I'm a big believer in truth over conjecture. So someone might say that person is awful because x/y/z, but I like to give most people a chance.

I worked really hard studying and getting a career, it was my dream job. I was bought up that you work hard for your income, so I started working in secondary school, I did lots of different jobs, but ultimately hit my dream job that was advertised as a job for life. My health took over and realistically I wasn't viable a long time before I got retired. They gave me lots of support enabling me to work from home. Even that wasn't good enough for them, which was a big shame, as apart from DD & DS it's the only other time I've ever been really proud of myself. But they tore it to shreds, how it wasn't a job for a Mum, even though we agreed DH would be a SAHP.

I don't get why they think that not working is something I chose. It's taken MN and others to get me to apply for benefits as it's simply something that was looked down on in our family.

As for support with the health stuff, I was meant to be referred to hospice care which in turn would support all those involved, me, DC's, DH if wanted too, at least for preparation for how it would impact DC. I only found that out recently I was told what I was as my condition involves many organs, ultimately it'll lead to full organ failure. As after a period of certain organs not doing their job, it'll impact elsewhere. I've had heart scared that paramedics took very seriously.

On a final note, if I was to die, I don't want them there shedding false tears, I'd be happy having no one there. It would seem hypocritical to me that they'd play the OMG this is awful card, when they didn't give a shit when I was alive. I don't know if that makes sense.

Thank you for your replies.

It's true, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Ideally things would be different, but they are what they are.

picklemepopcorn Fri 07-Apr-17 19:18:32

Fairytales what a terrible tale. I'm so sorry, your first posts only hinted at what is an awful situation.
Do you have good support from HCP that could help you? I feel as though you need family therapy, to cope with the impact of all this. Please, ignore the opinions of your family, including DH, and get support from anywhere which will offer it!


FairytalesAreBullshit Fri 07-Apr-17 20:29:55

I need to get in touch really and see what the next steps are. I know someone with similar issues, they were told rather than going to hospital, hospice nurses and hospice hcp can make sure you're comfy, just because that's the prognosis doesn't mean that you're going to drop dead next week, it means there's few options left, due to significant issues already, ultimately x/y/z will happen.

It sounds weird but there's those who are chronically ill, every new symptom they're on the Dr's doorstep. Instead I think well it's crap but hospital can't do anything so got to plod on.

Got a letter from DWP so got to sort that, it's just getting everything sorted and going from there.

I just really really don't want it turning into a circus when I get worse, people changing their minds as they want to soak up any attention. For some family this would be a field day, they'd be oh so caring and concerned, where in reality they don't care at all.

It'll be fine, I've long had coping mechanisms.

Thanks for your replies, take what you fancy winebrewcakeflowersgin

picklemepopcorn Fri 07-Apr-17 20:43:00

The wine will hit the spot nicely, thank you!

I understand more about your worry about when to tell your DCs, now.

AcrossthePond55 Sat 08-Apr-17 13:28:39

Please get counseling. And I'm going to put this bluntly, if you are facing an earlier death than would be considered normal, you deserve to be happy in the time you are given on this Earth.

Is there any way you can take your children and move elsewhere? Would your pension and benefits be enough for a little flat where you can have some peace?

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