Have you ever heard things that made you wonder about your childhood? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 10-23-2009, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you ever heard things from older relatives that caused you to wonder if bad things happened to you when you were little that you don't remember or have blocked out? And if you did, would you feel like you needed to explore that or would you just let it go?

So I've been having some problems with my dad stemming from some money that my husband let him borrow at the time of my stepmother's death three years ago(two weeks after we were married). I've tried to speak very carefully through this so as not to cause irrepairable damage to my relationship with my father. There was a misunderstanding about the money- my dad claims he thought it was a gift, we didn't intend that. So there have been some hard feelings. Anyway, I recently wrote him a very brief email requesting a plan from him for repayment(we've already established that he intends to repay- we just wanted more clarity). In response, I got a really mean email from him talking about how I don't respect him, that he is "ashamed for" me and that there should be more to me, finished up by the guilt trip of saying he still loves me just as much as he did 40 years ago when I was running around in my blue pj's but that maybe he needed to give up any expectations of me. Nice, right?

So my grandmother said something to my husband this morning(I wasn't there) about an incident involving my father during my early childhood that made me wonder if it's possible that something bad happened that I don't know about, can't remember or may have blocked out. And I'm wondering what I think about that.

What would you do? Try to find out/explore the topic with a counselor? Or stick to the issue at hand, namely that I'm not too interested in having a continuing relationship with my father? And this is not exactly a pattern- I've always thought I've had a pretty close relationship with him even though it's been quite disappointing at times- never as blatantly, unavoidably so.

Thanks for your thoughts, I'm feeling confused.
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#2 of 13 Old 10-23-2009, 06:17 PM
 
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I can def understand how you would be feeling confused. I don't have any personal experience w/what you are describing but if it were me I would def want to know for my own sanity.

Trust your instincts, if you have a feeling, or a question in your mind about your childhood, you owe it to yourself to investigate if you are ready to do so. Don't let feelings of loyalty to your father or fear get in the way of what your heart and mind are telling you to do.

I would also want to know if there was something that happened that would influence whether I let my children have contact w/him KWIM?

Hugs to you, I can't imagine how you are feeling right now.

Wife to dh, Mommy to ds1 12/2002, ds2 9/2005, and ds3 9/2008.
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#3 of 13 Old 10-25-2009, 01:40 AM
 
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This is something that I have been dealing with, worrying about for a few years. It seems to me that more stuff comes back to me maybe when I am ready for it. When I do remember things, I feel like the memorys were always there, I just forgot to think about them. I got clean and sober a few years ago and have done alot of work to accept my past, and I still am in therapy and going to meetings to find a way to be happy. If you feel like staying away from the relationship thats probably what you should do. Trust your instincts. I know what it is like to be disappointed by my dad over and over as an adult, and I have figured out that I have to be realistic in my expectations of him. Sorry if this is disjointed, not sure it's helpful but you're not alone. hang in there and protect yourself.
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#4 of 13 Old 10-25-2009, 06:01 AM
 
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I would totally want to know. I think things that are half-heard, or rumors that float around, you know, those family secrets that people try to forget, can be really toxic and dangerous.

And weirdly enough, I've often seen people living out these secrets in the next generation, as though they had to do it to work through the issue openly. I'm not sure if I'm making myself clear. But I would try as gently as possible to get information from family members and I would definitely work with a counselor in that situation.

Good luck to you.
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#5 of 13 Old 10-25-2009, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your replies. It is great that you're willing to think about my problems and offer kindness and help. I don't really get the sense there's any big family secret, but the lying and manipulation that my dad engages in (that I'm just now really seeing more clearly) just calls everything into question, ykwim? I've never really had this thought before, but the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard what my grandmother said was this question(if something bad had happened to me). I am trying to listen to my instincts more and so it has stuck with me and made me notice and think when I had this question.

I have overlooked things and made excuses for my dad my whole life and this has just brougt so many of those times back to mind and I see a pattern of irresponsibility, poor judgment, lack of character and manipulation that certainly makes me feel like not having any relationship with him.

I'm not really surprised by any of his current behavior, it's just when the ugliness of the truth becomes unavoidable it is sort of disconcerting and unsettling. And I wonder- is it something about that relationship that cause other issues in my life- weight or trust issues spring to mind. I do think I'll try to find a counselor to give me some practical advice and help figure out this question of the past. I talked to my dh and he said he thought I should explore the issue further as it might be affecting our relationship. Although it does sort of piss me off that I have to spend my money to figure out a problem concerning my father, yk?!

And I agree, if there's anything that I wouldn't want my child exposed to I want to know that. However, I've already seen enough to know that I'm not willing for my child to be exposed to the sort of lying, manipulation and lack of acceptance of personal responsibility that i see in my father. So in a funny way his nasty email to me gives me a great opportunity to make that break.

Any more thoughts or advice is most welcome. Thank you!
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#6 of 13 Old 10-26-2009, 04:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelandmisha View Post
So my grandmother said something to my husband this morning(I wasn't there) about an incident involving my father during my early childhood that made me wonder if it's possible that something bad happened that I don't know about, can't remember or may have blocked out. And I'm wondering what I think about that.

What would you do? Try to find out/explore the topic with a counselor? Or stick to the issue at hand, namely that I'm not too interested in having a continuing relationship with my father? And this is not exactly a pattern- I've always thought I've had a pretty close relationship with him even though it's been quite disappointing at times- never as blatantly, unavoidably so.

Thanks for your thoughts, I'm feeling confused.
At the core of this: your dh said that your grandmother said that something bad happened. I think you should start with your grandmother. Tell her what your husband said and ask her to clarify and be more specific. Things get lost in translation, misunderstood. You definitely want accurate information.

Someone moved my effing cheese.
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#7 of 13 Old 10-27-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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If you are having issues with yourself or have thought something similar in the past I would delicately pursue it, but otherwise I would not pursue in any way looking into whether there was something shady in my past in regard to my dad via a grandmothers off comment. Did I read that right?

Why open a can of worms on a comment. Time really skews peoples perspective and (of coarse without know ing what was said it is hard to know) but maybe your GM views of things are different or off. Or maybe she is motivated by something else, or maybe she has wierd intentions, or maybe she is not remembering clearly, or maybe she is old enough were reality and non reality are blurring.

People who DO remember abuse spend years peeling off layers of family stuff... people without memories seek therapy becasue they are screwed up in some way and have reached a block in their ability to grow or cope. If you are perfectly happy with yourself don't spend the next however many years digging for somehting that is not there.... for goodness sake.
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#8 of 13 Old 10-28-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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I would get some support in place. I do think a follow up conversation with your grandmother is reasonable. What makes you think something bad did happen?

With me my grandfather sexually abused my sister and I'm pretty sure he DIDN'T physically touch me but he has SO many victims, It's hard to imagine he didn't when he had ample opportunity. He was inappropriate that's for sure but I can't be sure that he did and I didn't remember it. I had other abusers so I wonder if maybe something DID happen w/him originally and that left me vulnerable to these other ppl if that makes sense. There's a lot about my childhood that I can't remember and I figure it's probably for protective reasons.

But in general I try not to go digging around but it is not unusual to hear about things that will help access a memory of a certain event or take things to a new depth of knowledge that I hadn't known about previously.

I think it is good to find out how other ppl perceive other family members and events and I don't take anything as true just because a family member says it happened. IF that makes sense. They have taught me to question everyone and everything. LOL.
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#9 of 13 Old 10-29-2009, 01:11 AM
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Trust your gut.

Don't push yourself too hard, though. Just protect your kids, first and foremost.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#10 of 13 Old 10-29-2009, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by aspenleaves View Post
. people without memories seek therapy becasue they are screwed up in some way and have reached a block in their ability to grow or cope.
Oh, thanks so much for that stereotype. :

I wasn't "screwed up." I just wanted to finally deal with some nagging feelings.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#11 of 13 Old 10-29-2009, 03:09 PM
 
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I have a couple of fuzzy memories I would like cleared up. Something happened when I was young and I do have vague memories of it. I can't remember WHO did it and that bugs me.

aspenleaves - I totally find your comment inappropriate.
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#12 of 13 Old 11-01-2009, 12:28 AM
 
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I have some nagging feelings about my step dad. Visiting him or having him visit me (and my 2 kids) always throws me into a tizzy and I watch everyone like a hawk. My grandmother and Aunt mentioned recently that they were always worried my step-dad was abusing me. They didn't do anything or say anything. frankly, this bothers me more than the nagging feelings about him.

I am doing nothing except limiting contact.
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#13 of 13 Old 11-04-2009, 01:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by laura163 View Post
I have some nagging feelings about my step dad. Visiting him or having him visit me (and my 2 kids) always throws me into a tizzy and I watch everyone like a hawk. My grandmother and Aunt mentioned recently that they were always worried my step-dad was abusing me. They didn't do anything or say anything. frankly, this bothers me more than the nagging feelings about him.

I am doing nothing except limiting contact.
I could have written this, except it's my step-dad's mother and his sister.

The thing that bothers me most is that a few years ago my mom hinted at substantial distrust of her ex-mil...yet the woman babysat me before and after school for two years, during which I had numerous health problems that I only vaguely remember. The health problems evaporated when we moved.... Whatever it was, my mom knew, and she did nothing to stop it.

I work on it when the stars are aligned right--when I have the time & energy & money for my therapist....

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