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parents affair vs current situation

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TheRealDeal posted 8/11/2013 20:13 PM

I've been thinking about this and am curious if others had similar situation and how they seem to cope.

My dad was a WS 28 years ago when I was 16 years old. It continued for several years. I was the one who discovered it and then my Mom did, too. It was pure hell on earth living in that household until I moved out.
I suddenly found myself being the "mother" to my 14 year old sister and confidant to my Mom as she tried to cope with my Dad's affair. My Dad also came to me when he needed to confide information about the OW/affair/wanting to divorce my mom. HORRIBLE. I would hope no one else ever puts their kids in that same position. but that's another topic....

With my own situation currently underway I found myself suddenly relieving those painful years.

My IC tells me that in addition to my own current situation, I am also reliving the pain of that terrible time so many years ago because it wasn't properly dealt with. My parents never went to counseling and neither did my sister or I. They are of the "stoic" era and we were told to move on with our lives as if it never happened. It was never mentioned again by my parents.
my sister and I have discussed it over the years but never with my parents. never did I think it would come up again like this.

My Dad recently wanted to come visit and I had to tell him that now wasn't a good time. He got upset and hung up the phone on me...avoiding the situation just like he did all those years ago. But he is a major trigger for me right now and I just couldn't face a visit with him right now. I feel guilty over that but it can't be helped right now.

My IC is telling me I am handling things just fine. But sometimes I don't feel "fine". I feel out of sorts because I'm not sure if I'm trying to figure out my current situation or trying to reconcile that horrible time in my life so many years ago. IC says it's a combination because it wasn't dealt with properly back then and it's now bubbled back to surface.

My parents do not know the details of what is going on (live 1500 miles away) and I've been reluctant to tell them because I know it will be a major trigger for them, too. At 73, they don't need to relive those horrible years just because I'm going through something similar. and even if they did know, they'd probably give me the same advice..."move on with life".

it's rugsweeping, by my parents, at it's finest. That's another FOO issue I'm dealing with, too.

I am going to talk with IC at tomorrow's session but I am curious if anyone else has faced similar situation? if your parents were WS/BS and you are now facing the same? do your parents know what you are currently going through? are they supportive of decisions you are making? or do they try to make the decisions for you based on their own personal situation they faced?

remember my parents are rugsweepers - everything looks nice and clean from the outside looking in - so they just might deny it ever occurred. And I probably know more about the whole damn thing than either one of them do since I was both of their confidant. how messed up was that??

I'm trying to reconcile past issues with current issues. my IC says they are intertwined because of never having the means to fully deal with it 28 years ago. I don't know if they can really be untangled at this point. What a mess.

sorry for the rambling post but my mind is scattered tonight going over all these things. just wondering if anyone else has similar situation and how you cope

Tripletrouble posted 8/11/2013 20:48 PM

Our stories are different in some ways, but we are the same age and I was also thrown into the middle of my parents marriage as a teenager. In my 20's my dad stopped hiding his LTA OW and it was hellish. No rug sweeping though, as my parents finally divorced several years later and he married OW. It has been horrible, as my mom is incredibly bitter and perceives any communication between me and my father as a betrayal of her.

I have not told anyone in my family, and there is enough distance to let me keep some privacy. My mom knows something is wrong, but not what. I am definitely processing this through a filter of foo issues. Specifically, my dad taught me over the years that promises mean nothing and sincere efforts to change tend to peter out after some time. I doubt any of this helps you, but you are not alone.

Phoenix9572 posted 8/11/2013 21:29 PM

I can relate to your situation too. My dad had multiple flings and a LTA while I was a child. He was outed by a family member who saw him with the OW and told my Mom. They separated for a short time and when he came back he said it was over and that he wanted to be with my mom. Unfortunately, that was not true for very long before OW was back in the picture.
I too became my Mom's confidante at a very young age 12? and had some pretty strong resentments toward my dad. When they divorced my Dad sued for visitation rights - I did not want to have anything to do with him. He had left my mom and me and just caused a lot of pain whenever he was around. He got visitation and would use the time to lay massive guilt trips on me. It was brutal for a long time. Somehow by the time I graduated from college my dad and i had settled into an awkward relationship.
Now with my WH I'm dealing with all the issues of his immaturity/selfishness - which is how I always felt about my dad's affair. its hard to not draw similarities between them. Sometimes I wonder - did I marry my dad?
My IC and MC sessions have touched on this some. I'm sure I have much more work to do with dealing with past hurts and current issues. It's all a hot mess.
Also, just to round out the complete mess of my life. My dad eventually remarried (not OW) and seemed to finally be a respectable spouse and I thought I had put alot of the old BS behind me. Of course it was all blown out of the water when it came to light that my dad was having an affair with a woman younger than me. Things spiraled downward quickly and we no longer have contact with each other.
Aren't families fun?

MegM posted 8/11/2013 21:47 PM

Dear TRD

Count me in too! there are a lot of us here - survivors of parental infidelity.

both of my parents were unfaithful to each other through out there marriage. I was aware of my mothers accusations against my father all my childhood. Discovered her infidelity by seeing kiss another man when I was 8 and 10 and then hearing her have sex with another man when I was 12.

My dad kept his infidelity mostly away from us. But always suspected. It was confirmed on eve of my wedding when he told my H. that you can have your cake and eat it too ... you just have to be smart enough to keep it "on tour".

Like you it all came up through this journey and my husbands betrayal. At the time of my infidelity (10 yrs ago) I didn't connect my parents adultery - except it was a major reason for rejecting my AP and ending the 'freindship'. I didn't want to be like my parents.

I have been cycling and recently healing from the trauma of my parents, my and my husbands infidelity. It has all been enmeshed in my head.

My therapist has used TRE (traumatic release excercises) to help break the trauma cycle. IT has assisted immensly - along with very good somatic and cognitive based therapies.

Bless you TRD. I understand the pain and confusion.

There is a thread in I Can Relate for children of parents who were unfaithful. You may find that helpful.


plainpain posted 8/11/2013 21:52 PM

Both my parents were WS's. My mom had multiple A's, and used them to punish my dad. He never told anyone. My dad had a RA, and my mom made sure we all knew about it. I always vowed I would be faithful - that I would not do to my spouse or to my kids what my parents did to us.

My parents are being very supportive.

womaninflux posted 8/11/2013 22:05 PM

It all ties together.

I don't think there was ever cheating between my parents but my mom almost left us when I was in 6th grade. I remember talking her out of it and then she was locked in her room for several days afterwards.

My SAWH's parents are a different story...there is definitely something that has been rugswept. No one is talking, so that leads me to believe that there is something everyone wants to keep secret.

My MIL told me "You'll get over it." My mother said my MIL means well and that she's probably right. My dad has been very supportive and rational. And of course no one is talking about what happened 35 years ago.

[This message edited by womaninflux at 10:11 PM, August 11th (Sunday)]

kickboxer posted 8/11/2013 22:37 PM

This topic has weighed heavily on me for the past month.

My father was a WH (several times over), and my mother had a RA (only 1 that I know of), which made her a WW.

They were married 20 years before the divorce was final.

At the time, I felt relief for it being over...but now, as a 40 year old with a family of my own, I believe their divorce has affected me far more than I ever thought possible.

It's one reason I'm committed to R...because life would have been so different if my parents had committed to trying, but my father refused. My mother begged him to reconcile, and he wouldn't consider it. He couldn't forgive her RA...never mind his own despicable behavior.

My father went on to marry again. Her daughter is exactly the same age I am (literally - our birthdays are 10 days apart). He was able to replace his old family with a new one. He has been a loving grandparent to her children while being distant at best to mine and my brother's. He could care less if I'm a part of his life or not.

My father has been the ultimate betrayal to me.

Until now.

Now I've been betrayed by the man I love. The man I swore I would stick by no matter what.

The man whose behavior reeks of the same deception, disloyalty, and selfishness.

purplejacket4 posted 8/11/2013 23:28 PM

Yes this has weighed on my mind too.

My mother was the WW and had a LTA with a MOM for THIRTY years. It started when I was eleven. It ended only with his (warning TMI) impotence when I was 41. My father was the minister at the church and this prick was the deacon. My dad never knew who the guy was. He still thinks MOM is his friend and has even invested money with him in the last five years.

Both of my parents have terrible boundaries. When I was 15 my father would tell me how she had "cut off his water." When I was 19 they both bitched at me about the divorce settlement. When I was 30 my mother finally told me who MOM was.

I never told my dad who he was. What's the point? By that time my father was happily remarried (still is), but it still made me an an "accomplice" to the affair. I still feel guilt over this.

So when fWS cheated on me I didn't tell my dad. He already didn't like fWS ( can't imagine why the former Church of Christ preacher wouldn't like my lesbian life partner!). And I really didn't want a replay of the commiserating from 30 years ago.

So I told my mother and watched her awkwardly try to comfort me for the same thing she herself had done. If it hadn't been so sad it would have been funny. I also told her that her affair had been as damaging to me as fWS affair. I'm surprised she's still speaking to me after that!

So yeah, I totally get where you're coming from!

TheRealDeal posted 8/12/2013 15:43 PM

I'm so sorry for everyone else who has gone through the same thing.

Thank you for the recommendation of topic in ICR forum. I will check it out.

I talked with my IC today and he was almost speechless when I told him of the situations I was put in/questions I was asked during my parents situation.

IC had mentioned to me a few weeks back that I should check out more information about co-dependency. After hearing my story today, he just nodded his head and said, yes that would have done it. What 16 year old - or any child of any age - would have the emotional capability of supporting their parents cope with an affair?

I have a long way to go but at least I can now see that I'm on the right path.

hugs everyone, hang in there. thanks for all your support. as awful as it was for you I feel better knowing I'm not walking the path alone.

Dance4Me posted 8/12/2013 17:39 PM

Initially, A big problem I delt with in R was that my childhood issues crept into play. My dad, most likely, had several PA's when we were little - he was a big partier and stayed out late a lot...I remember! The one confirmed PA was when I was 17. I had come home from college on a weekend and my mom said my dad was leaving for some random OW...she was eerily calm but I could tell she was shaken up. She would clean like crazy when she was upset - our house was sparkling! Anyway - I vividly remember me telling her to "let him go" - he's no good - been difficult her whole marriage and had some deep rooted anger issues due to his FOO issues (I was a brunt of is anger once - so I hated him in some ways.). I remember at the last minute, he changed his mind and stayed and R with my mom. I know she didn't leave because she really was stuck with no education, no money and four kids under the age of 17. To this words. "let him go!" still haunt me.

I made sure I got an education, but gave up my nursing career for my H to travel on a moments notice. So here I was on Dday in the same damn boat as my mother...I ended up having her life afterall and I didn't tell my H to "get out!". In some ways, I feel pathetic and weak as I thought my mother was 28 years ago - like you TRDeal!!

Now that I am four years out, and SI enlightened, I realize there is so much more involved in a successful R. My parents rugsweeped and my Hs affair brought a lot of their shit back to the table for them! My dad never ever cheated a matter of dad was the one to sit me down and tell me that my H could change for the he did! If he could change - then my extremely remorseful H could too! I totally forgot abut that until just now - my dad was right - four years later here and we are almost R completely. We are still a work in progress .... But I am better today than a year ago, two years ago...four years ago!! One day at a time...

[This message edited by Dance4Me at 5:40 PM, August 12th (Monday)]

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