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should i tell, or let sleeping dogs lie?(13 Posts)
I shall try and keep to the important bits of her life, and relevant bits.
My mother had a pretty awful childhood. She suffered abuse from her 'father' from a very young age until she was adopted by her mothers younger sister at age 5. She obviously resented her mother for letting this happen to her and never really forgave her.
However, now both 'parents' are dead. SHe is picking up family friendships - she has 6 sisters and a brother. She also has a half brother on her fathers side who she is getting on well with. My mother has spent many years being angry about her childhood and is learning to let go.
The thing is, i KNOW for a fact that her father was NOT her biological father. My adoptive grandmother told me as much. Unfortunately she too has passed. She knew that he couldnt have been her father, because of dates, by all accounts her mother was a bit of a floozy (forgiveable, my mother was born just at the end of the war, and it must have been very stressful for everyone, I wouldnt judge or mention it) Her half brother is not actually related at all, and she only has half sisters.
She still carries anger and resentment.
would it be better to tell her what i know, or let sleeping (or dead) dogs lie? would knowing that it wasnt actually her father that did this to her make her feel any better? would she just wonder who her father was? - and there isnt any way at all to find out now, be worse?
i think it depends on your relationship with her. if it is strong and could withstand unwelcome revelations, thenfine. but otherwise, dont.
also, she will want to know why you didnt tell before.
I would want to know, but only you know if your mother would. My DH has little curiosity about his family and background and says he wouldn't need to know. Besides, you say that your grandmother only told you "as much." Did she actually say hw wasn't the father? Best to leave it, I think.
No advice protected but just want to sympathise with your dilemma. I have a similar situation in my family. I have a first cousin, my aunt's son who is the youngest of 4 children. His mother was a single parent by the time he was born and he was always led to believe that he has the same dad as his siblings but based on the time the man he thinks is his father and his mother split up there is no way this can be. His mother died several years ago without revealing the truth. He is very close to my dad and dad has always wondered if he should tell him or not. He has never felt the time was right to tell him and because my aunt is no longer with us there is no way he can ever find his real dad.
Sometimes I feel really sad about it but as he knows nothing it doesn't affect him and maybe it is better that way.
Personally I would tell her but stick around to support her while she processes the information.
She has every right to know and the chances are she'll feel it somewhere deep down and may even have experienced a lifetime of confusion because of it. Things might suddenly make sense and drop into place if you give her this vital piece of her personal jigsaw puzzle.
actually she never used the words "hes not the father", but it was the disgusted look on her face and shaking her head, and other suchstuff that kinda gave it away - incidentally she never did it in front of my mother. perhaps i should respect that she didnt want my mother to know?
we do have a very good relationship. I didnt tell her before because her mother was alive and she could have tortured herself wondering wether or not to bring it up with her - basically because her mother was a pathological lier. She doesnt have that choice now.
My mother uses a phrase: once you know, you cant go back to not knowing... im really not sure if she would want to know or not.
sorry to elaborate "...basically because her mother was a pathological lier..." you couldnt trust a word that came out of her mouth, so wether or not he was the father or who the father may have been would still have been a complete mystery to my mother with the added bonus of resentment at not being told the truth about such a matter from her mother and frustration to boot.
actually the plot thickens deeper...
this may be TMI please dont read if easily offended:
she wonders actually if her grandfather on her mothers side was her father. But I really dont think so. Just going by what MY grandmother said about him. But my mother has one of those photographic memories. she can remember his naked body coming towards her. but he WAS an ill man at the time of her conception. My grandmother absolutely doted on her father, no man ever held a flame to him. The things my grandmother told me about him are not those of an abuser.
My other thoughts on my mothers 'memories' (and she was only about 10/12mths old) are that if she was in a cot at his house (and she stayed there a lot rather than with her mother, cos basically she was crap at mothering) then if he got up in the middle of the night to see to her, he may well have been naked, yes? i know that i did when mine were small. But she also 'remembers' him 'pinning down' her mother on the bed, and she remembers the look on her mothers face as he did. cant really explain that memory away - but my gran seriously loved him to bits and im sure that nothing untoward went on there. So i suppose she already suspects that the person she was told was her father, wasnt.
all a bit heavy for a Friday night isnt it???
I would tell her. As bad as it was to have been abused, I think it makes it even worse if that somebody was suppose to have been the very person to nurture you. Being abused by some guy is bad, but not as bad as being abused by your father.
I would imagine. Thankfully, I do not really know.
I was just re-reading this thread, OMG it sounds a bit unlikely to say the least. Did i say my mother has issues ??? she has had counselling BTW and it helped a lot.
you are probably wondering how I know what my mothers thoughts are... she hasnt told me this. A couple of years ago she gave me a book that she had written on the advice of her counsellor, apparently Mum used to go and not say a word all session because of floods of tears, so she wrote it all down during the week, and passed it over in the session, where mum would just answer yes/no type questions until she could form a coherent sentence.
she gave me the book to burn (dont know why she didnt burn it, guess some of her wanted me to know) and told me NOT to read it, as "you cant UNknow stuff, once you know you cant go back to not knowing" - but why else would she have given it to me. The stuff in there was a bit grim to say the least, it was heartbreaking, but Im glad i know that stuff about her past, it makes her who she is.
sorry for the ramble.
it helps to clear it in my mind.
perhaps it would be better for the past to die with her when she goes?
Shes told me she is not ashamed, its not her guilty secret anymore.
thanks for listening.
Maggie - that was my thought too.
but the dilemma is, would it be better to just move on instead of raking the whole thing up again?
i dont think thre is anything to gain by telling her your thoughts on who or who isnt her father.
i don't know what else to sah but glad it helps you clear yoru mind
I think you should keep this to yourself. Forget it, in fact. It will be very unsettling for her to find out that you have known something so personal about her, with her not knowing. Anyway, you don't know for sure.
Best IMHO to leave well alone, don't rattle any cages. Best to just help her to move on and live in the moment.
There might be things that she does know, deep down, but self-protection stops her facing them, in which case they are best left. The only way, in your position, that I would say something is if she raises the subject and says she suspects something, in which case you can add your piece, if it's relevant. But as I say, you haven't got facts, just supposition from someone who suspects, but doesn't actually know the truth.
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