Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Telling grown up children about SA?

8 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi, I wonder if anybody has any experience to share about talking to grown up children about partner’s SA? I discovered my partners addiction last September, and to be honest I went into ‘crisis managment’ Mode. Found all the info I could, sought an appropriate councillor for him and he went to SAA. It was only after full disclosure in November that I went into shock and felt devastated by what I heard. I understand that this addiction predates me (we have been married for 26 years), and is not related to me in any way, but I am still finding it difficult to come to terms with all this. We have two children aged 25 and 22, neither live at home. So far they know nothing of what is going on (although they are not stupid and probably have some idea that something is amiss). What they have been told is that my partner was repeatedly sexually abused as a child and that he is in therapy to deal with resulting issues. However, since the new year I have been signed off from work with stress related issues. I am studying for a PhD and both children think I am off with stress relating to my studies. (THis makes sense as I had big difficulties with my supervisor and decided to complain and get somebody new - all of which happened in December ). We have been discussing telling them the truth, as it doesn’t feel right that I should be covering up for his addiction in this way. However, the thought of telling them and potentially shattering their good relationship with their father makes me feel physically sick. I worry particularly for my daughter who I think idolises her father, and she has just come out of therapy for anxiety, is about to move abroad for six months as part of her training at work and is just getting herself into a good place. Our son is at uni doing a Masters course and I don’t want to rock the boat for him either(although I believe he is in an emotionally stable place. So my question is, do we tell, when should we do it and how? Any advice/personal experience of this would be welcome. 

Sorry for long winded post! 

Thanks for reading

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi Florrie, there is such a burden on partners to have to cope with all the fall out and emotional wellbeing of the family on top of their own personal despair when this happens. I hope that one of the councillors can respond to your post soon as they are probably best placed to help. Stay strong. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi Florrie,

First of all - I am sorry that you are one of the many women who are having to deal with this.  There are so many of us, and we each have a different story to tell, and are finding different ways to cope with this situation.  I also have adult children, a few years older than yours, who are no longer living at home.  My partner's addiction has been present, to a greater of lesser extent, throughout our marriage, and so throughout our children's lives, but the extent of his addiction had been hidden until the last couple of years. These are my thoughts, and are in NO WAY meant to be advice - this is just to share what I have decided to do in my own life.

I decided at the beginning that the children should be told if I ever suspected that either of them had ever been exposed to, or harmed by, his addiction.  As far as I can tell, this is not the case.  They are both extremely loving towards their father, and he has been (and still is) a great and devoted Dad to both of them.  I know how agonising I have found this whole situation, and I see no reason to put them through the same misery.  I am not sure how either of them would react, but I know that they would find it devastating.  We all keep some things from our kids (as they keep things from us) - in this situation, I think that disclosure would only cause harm.

I have also spent a lot of time getting to a place where I truly understand that this is my partner's problem, and it is his responsibility to fix it, and to put right the damage he has caused.  If I ever felt that the children should know, then it would be up to him to tell them, and not up to me.  I am not going to be an intermediary in this; I am not going to apologise for or excuse what he has done; and I am not going to put myself through the agony of telling my children.  That may sound selfish, but I think when we are coming though this situation, we need to be putting ourselves and our recovery first.

Finally, 18 months on from 'D' day, I am getting into a better, happier place, and my relationship with my partner is beginning to heal.  If I had told my children early on, I am not sure I would then have been able to stay with my partner - I suspect once the information was out there, it would have pulled us all apart.

These are just my own thoughts, but I hope you may find them useful.  Thinking of you and hoping you get some good advice and find the right way through this for yourself and for your children.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Cowslip - thank you for your insight. I, like you, felt that the children need not know about this, but various different literature talk about not 'covering up' and not keeping anymore secrets within the family, one book in particular had a whole chapter on telling children and made me feel we had made the wrong decision, and that my 'covering up' was a sign of co-dependant behaviour. It pleases me to know someone else made the same decision as me and that I am not necessarily doing the wrong thing. As you quite rightly say - we all keep things from our kids, as they do us, and this doesn't have to be any different, I guess. The whole thing has caused such confusion and I think I just looked to the 'experts' who write about it as having the 'right answers' in order to try and clear the mess that is my head. But of course, each story has its own context and it can't be a 'one size fits all scenario'. Thus, from now on maybe I will go with my first instincts and not get hung up on 'shoulds' and 'oughts'. After all, we all have to tread our own path in the end, in a way that is comfortable for us.

It is also good to hear that 18 months down the road, things are looking brighter for you and your partner. This gives hope to us all here that things can get better :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I think part of the recovery process for me has been learning to trust my own instincts and my own judgement again.  My confidence hit rock bottom after 'D' day - I could not believe I had been so blind as to not realise what was happening with my partner, and I spent quite a lot of time beating myself up for allowing myself to be deceived (as I saw it at the time).  It took me a year to get past that point.

I am luckier than many partners on this site in that my partner's addiction was 'only' to porn (I am not sure we would be where we are today if sex workers or chat rooms had been part of the problem), and he had come to the decision that he needed to quit (and tried to quit) long before I became aware of how severe his addiction had become. 

I am hoping that he continues to be able to defeat this, and that we can continue to move forwards, but I realise that a relapse is always possible, and I am prepared for that, and now feel that, if it happens, we will face it together.  I can see a difference in my partner now - he is happier, his mood is more even, and I can only think this is because the addiction is no longer dominating his life.

Through this whole process, I have found the words of other partners on this site to be so helpful, so encouraging and so supportive.  Long may it continue!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I am so pleased to have found this Forum and to realise there are people out there who feel like I do .I found the Paula Hall website (when yet again scrolling through the internet desperate for help following another incident which I now understand to be Acting Out  ) in November I  immediately ordered and read the partners book cover to cover -totally absorbed and for the first time in 2years since discovering my husbands behaviours, felt comfort and understanding and even hope! I totally accept that  self care is so important throughout the journey although it has taken me a long time to understand this.

I have beem married for 32 years and what I have learnt about my husband over the last 2.5 years has been devastating and frankly  quite unbelievable but  I also know its a  reality. 

our  journey is far from over  (he is having therapy but the classification / acceptance  of his issues being an addiction which they most definitely are took such a long time  is how I feel ) but the thoughts and feelings expressed in this forum by others on it too have been so helpful to me.

In particular I worry about  whether full disclosure of acting out is helpful when dealing with the harm caused by continuing deceit  and boundary crossing .My other concern surrounds the issue of disclosure to grown up children  (and being authentic) is it ever a good idea?  These are two things I  am struggling most with most just now.

i am considering doing  the partner therapy sessions on offer  if I can as I think they will be helpful  but bit worried about how to explain my absence to family tho 

 

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi Dee, sorry I never saw this reply to my original post. Knowing what to do about telling grown up children is really difficult, isn’t it? We have still not arrived at decision about what to do. Like you I struggle with explaining some of my actions and behaviours, like why I have been signed off from work for the past three months. They know that my husband is seeing a therapist but think it it relating to childhood trauma, which it is, but they don’t know the implications of  how that trauma has spilled out into adult life. So they have aloof sympathy for him, but are confused about what is going on with me. I feel like yet again I am covering for my husband, and my issues are overlooked. But at the same time I don’t want to damage my husbands relationship with the children as it is better now than ever and they deserve that. The. I think that they are adults now and I don’t need to protect them anymore. It is really confusing and I am still in the dark about what is best to do. My husband is undertaking the 12 step programme and he is at step nine where he has to apologise for wrongs and make amends, he wants to apologise to the children for not being more emotionally available to them and for the financial harm his behaviour cost the family, but how he does that without explaining what is going on is impossible. This is just one of the ways that this whole mess impacts on us, it isn’t just about me and him and our relationship,it is so much more far reaching.

i hope you decide to go to the partners counselling regardless of what you tell your kids you deserve to it for you. Let me know how it goes. Keep strong and keep going with you healing process, and if you have any iseaablut how to broach this subject with your kids please also let me know 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

How sorry I am to hear of yet another poor partner suffering. Similar story here. Married 36 years, found out the full horror of what has been going on for the past 36 years in December. I have adult children, all girls, none at home. I told them of their fathers behaviour. I refused to be complicit in a lie. All acted differently. All dealt with this news differently. They are adults ranging from 26 to 34 and they are not stupid. One was even surprised that I had been so slow to notice..... 

Tell them the facts. Hard I know but while telling them try to keep any anger or emotion out of it. There will be plenty of time for more in depth chats with them after they, themselves, have had time to think about what they have learned. It would be better coming from him. My husband said he would but didn't, so I did. 

They have been very supportive to both of us. Tho as their father is making less and less effort to kick this habit they are making less effort with him.

Janey

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0