Family Dynamics, Step 5, Motherhood & Other Frivolities

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When a sex addiction is discovered or disclosed in a family with grown children, the hurt is sometimes amplified simply because the enormity of the offense to the partner is better understood. Younger children may have some knowledge that something is wrong, maybe that a spouse has lied or not been nice to the other and that in itself is devastating. When the children are grown and married to faithful spouses, they understand clearly what has been done to the betrayed. Still, they cannot possibly imagine the complete and total shattering of that betrayed’s world. It is impossible for anyone to place themselves in the shoes of another completely…it is even more unimaginable to attempt to do so if that person is a parent. I have never asked that of my children.

I have two daughters and a son. All are married with children and all have solid, loving relationships. I raised them largely as the disciplinarian as Will was not around much and when he was, he was more of a buddy or a friend. When the kids got unruly or outright mean to me, Will became the peacemaker but never, ever took my side or defended me. He never understood the concept of a united front when it came to parenting. I was always the bad guy. Will  was the fun parent who gave to them their love of ice cream, music, bowling and silliness. I asked my grown son once what his first thought was when he thought of “Dad” His answer was Music. I asked the same when he thought of “Mom” His answer…Big hair. (He’s an 80’s kid)  I tried my hardest to teach my kids responsibility and hard work. I did my best to teach them love and compassion. They have all graduated college with bachelors or masters degrees and have careers and lives that they love and families to be proud of. I have loved them all, their spouses like my own, and my grandchildren more than life itself. I have rarely (if ever) told them no when asked to help with everything from home renovations to babysitting. I even had parental custody of my oldest two grandchildren, quitting my job, and suffering health problems while I raised them for two years. All to help while my oldest daughter went through a rough divorce from her first husband and lost control of herself for a period of time. I was at the birth of my second daughter’s first three children at her request. Flying to wherever in the world she lived to be with her. I missed the last birth…but so did everyone else…that baby was born in the car on the way to the birthing center. (That’s a post for another time!)  I have searched my heart and do not know what more I could have done for my children. I know that I could have been more present. I know that I could have been less short-tempered. I know that I could have tried to be more patient. It was hard, and I am not making excuses here, to raise these kids when Will was constantly creating chaos and heartbreak. It was difficult to shield them when Will was causing so much destruction. It was then impossible when, finally, the whole disgusting, ugly truth came out, and I could no longer bear the burden alone. But….I was more alone than ever.

I have written before about my experiences with my initial trauma and the intense mind-losing PTSD episodes in the several months following May 17, 2015. To this day, even with some EMDR and Somatic Experiencing, I still lack total recall of many days, people, events and places. It was terrifying. I still have nightmares but only fragments…and they are still terrifying.  I have tried to explain this to my family but my girls, we’ll refer to them as Ann, the oldest and Kay the younger, have told me bluntly, that they have no interest in any of this. My son surprisingly, and his sweet wife have been more supportive but to be fair, they live out of state and are somewhat removed from the everyday of it all. So, what I am trying to get at is this. Having done all that I thought was good and proper and right by my family. Having loved them and protected them and nurtured them and provided for them. After all of that…there is a horrible, painful, devastating rift in my relationship with my girls. Because of what Will has done. I don’t understand. I ask them…”Why? What have I done?” They say…”We don’t want to talk about it.” I am sure that part of this is because of the way they were raised. They saw that Will never defended me and so they have assumed that I am likely wrong in some way, or somehow to blame, or at fault in whatever has happened. After all, Will has done in this horrible chapter of our lives what he has always done. Become the peacemaker. Told the girls to give me time and I will get over it. I am NOT getting over it. IT.IS.KILLING.ME!

So, in one of my 12-Step meetings we were discussing Step 5: “Admitted to God, to Ourselves and to Another Human Being the Exact Nature of Our Wrongs” I want to do this! I KNOW I made so many mistakes! I have told my kids time and time again how sorry I am that I wasn’t there enough for them. How sorry that my life was not God-Centered when they were young. How very, very sorry I am that when I found out about Will, that I couldn’t hold it all together.  What more can I do?  I am here now…just like always. I still babysit and help with renovations. I don’t do it to earn their love. I do it because I love them.  I don’t ask them to do anything for me…other than love me because I am their mother. Ann has unfriended me from Facebook which means I don’t see the day to day pictures of my three grandchildren. She doesn’t call or text anymore. She is the one who sent that last text saying she needed to disconnect from me. Well, she has. She had a Memorial Day barbecue yesterday at her house. I was not invited. I found out because I had to leave my house because the new buyer was coming by with his realtor to take measurements. I went to Kay’s house. She was making a salad to take. It hurt so, so much. I asked both girls to come with me to a therapy session and they agreed but when I try to schedule…well…they are very busy. So, my questions are these; How can I admit my wrongs to God or anybody when I don’t know what I have done? How can I fix this mess that Will has made when I am the only one willing to try? Why am I STILL so alone?

I hate writing posts like this. I hate feeling so pathetic. I hate sounding so negative!

In DBT therapy we practice Opposite Action Skills. I will commence practicing that now…

Ahem…

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” ~Proverbs 31:28

Meh…..Not working yet…I’ll keep practicing…😏

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17 thoughts on “Family Dynamics, Step 5, Motherhood & Other Frivolities

  1. It’s time for Will to stand up and come forward with the truth. As part of his amends, he needs to take responsibility for his part in your children’s alienation from you. It’s time for all of the sad truth to be exposed in a family meeting with Will holding your hand. 💗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t see that happening any time soon, Jangled. He is not willing to bare himself in that way and they just don’t want to hear it. I feel like I am in a no win situation.

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      1. It might be time for Will to start thinking about this. He has to find his humble and lay bare his humility to truly show his ownership in HIS mess.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. And I do say start thinking this way. It will help the whole family heal. I know for my h it was very hard for him to do. He good guy who could do no wrong. The kids response was to his confession was not what he was hoping for maybe, they were just hating him. Two years on they hate him less. Their relationship with him will never be the same . They have my back, they are understanding of my sometimes crazy. I do have some rough patches and if they know I am in one them they always offer an ear and a hug or whatever.
        Sadly they will never think of their father the same way but it is a consequence of what he did.

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      3. Oh…to know that someone had my back!! That would be unspeakable joy to me. You are very fortunate in that Jangled and I am so, so glad you have that support! I am hopeful that one day they will seek to understand and be more willing to love me without blaming. Keeping the faith…❤️

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  2. Oh, this is so devastating to read. It is heartbreaking and I am really feeling for you. I honestly do not know how I would cope if I did not have my daughters understanding. Or if they thought in some way I was to blame or did something wrong.
    I would need to have some serious talking done. They have to try to understand. We are the best mothers we can ever be at the time. They have to know that you did your best. No one is perfect, the perfect mother or the perfect betrayed spouse. We do what we do with what we have at the time. I think most of us were ugly at discovery. I was crazy lady. What can be expected when our whole narrative of our relationship is blown up.
    You really need to talk it through with your daughters. I hope you are able to.
    Take care xxxx

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  3. Your hurt is bleeding from every word and I’m so sorry. Maybe you should think in different terms. The problem is not with you, but with your girls. I’m going through this with my son and it finally dawned on me that this is his weight to carry, not mine. I’ll be here when his fog clears……Hope that your H is stepping up and FULLY supporting YOU when it comes to your children. Was H invited to the cook-out? …….Make a false facebook page and you can still see the grand-children pics……Does this daughter still ask you to baby-sit?……Good thoughts your way.

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    1. Oh Anna…How I wish Will was more supportive of me! But I think he still has some need to protect his image in the eyes of his children…even at my expense. I also think he really just doesn’t know how. I see some pics of the kids through Will’s Facebook page because he is friends with all the kids.

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  4. Leigh. I am so sorry.
    You are amazing and caring and consistent. You are strong and beautiful and dedicated to becoming whole.
    Your precious ones were loved by you in every way that you knew how to love them, while trying to make up for the holes that would have been present if you hadn’t filled them as much as you could. But no matter how hard you tried, you could not do it alone…not when you had a partner that failed to be a partner.
    You are still so incredibly new to this process…and so are they. Sometimes the ugliness is so heavy, so hard to carry, that people just move away from it. Will taught the girls that well…instead of treating you with real support he taught them to create a false peace – not dig in and address and solve problems.
    We were in this same situation, and the more that HUSBAND and I have melded our lives into the oneness that always should have been…the more we have grown in our individual recovery, and then in our US, the more our children have begun to blossom. There are many wounds, and they are now part of their stories, yet they are finding new strength and real truth and healthy responses.
    Sweet girl…focus on you and your healing. Trust the process. Trust. The. Process. It cannot be rushed, and trying to work toward the END is what we always did before…stop. Start, instead, to work toward the moment – the very next moment right in front of you. And then celebrate the successes…and let the future unfold.
    I’m sorry if I’ve stepped in with too much advice here, but your pain is palatable. I just want you to take heart…have hope. You are on the right path.
    And—you—are—not—alone.
    HUGS.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh Susan…thank you. It is so, so difficult for me to remember the marathon and forget the sprint! I so desperately want the closeness with my girls…I miss their friendship and sharing so much! I know that they too are hurting and trying to sort out their own place in this hell Will has created…I just want to do what I have always done and be there for them, as well as have them there for me. This is what is so hard…they are just…not. This is requiring a whole new level of strength that I am finding nearly impossible to grasp. Thank you for offering so much hope and support! ❤️

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  5. I’m so sorry Leigh- that is such a difficult situation. I wish they would come with you to therapy so you could get to the bottom of their reason for disconnecting from you. I hope you all can get through this with seeing and understanding where the other is coming from. Maybe if talking face to face isn’t happening, maybe writes letter might help? I don’t know- I wish I could offer more advice. And please know you don’t sound needy at all- I think as a mom want you want from your girls is completely understandable- I really hope it all works out!

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    1. Oh Kaye…it’s all just so painful! I keep finding myself asking when the new hurts will stop? I know it will all work out somehow but my fear is that things will always be tainted and our closeness will not ever be as sweet. It is easy to hate Will for that. He’s taken so much already..this just seems to be such a cruel “extra” stab in my already broken heart. I know I will find my way through this, it’s just all so overwhelming sometimes. Thank you so much for understanding and offering such kind words. It means so much! ❤️

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  6. You do know that Will is going to come out of this smelling like a rose. He has had his entire life to get this down to perfection. His role in life was set up when he was young and he has been fine tuning it ever since. You are not going to change him. You can only change your reaction to him. You can only change your reaction to your children. If Will wants to get better let him but you need to look after yourself and stop asking for understanding from other people. Your children are choosing to see only what they want to see. Someone has to be a bad guy in this scenario and you are it. Their father has manipulated them all their lives to think of him as Mr. Wonderful. Someone who is narcissistic is so good at it that that they go through life leaving human debris behind.
    I just read something we all know and forget. None of us view the world the same. As humans we are blessed with binocular vision. If you cover one eye your view of the world changes. So it is with your children. Their view is distorted.
    Pick yourself up, get yourself something to do, and stop letting these other people control your life. There really is nothing you can do to change their minds. Right now your mental and physical health are the things you need to look after. So reach out to others. Gather your friends around you. Be your own “best friend”. Use these online friends.
    I would imagine someone needs to remind your children we don’t get “do-overs” very often. Holding grudges is drinking poison hoping the other person dies.
    Your children need an expert in grief to explain why you fell apart. I am so angry on your behalf.

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    1. Ah..Moi…I have learned this lesson. I cannot change or control them. And I can’t stay angry. What does that get me other than bitterness and pain? What I can do I am trying my best to accomplish. That is to hold to my own determination to heal myself, allow them to figure their own emotions out and try to let go and have faith that God will sort this all out for my good. What I cannot control is the hurt and frustration. That is something I am experiencing and living through and trying to learn from. It is so, so difficult. Thank you for understanding. *hugs*

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