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…
“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…😏