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Newest Member: Papi

Reconciliation :
Years later and the kid is angry - second title - hi again!

Topic is Sleeping.
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 hopefulkate (original poster member #47752) posted at 2:56 AM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

Hi all, boy its been awhile! I've thought of coming back here to post but I've stayed away until today. I will get to why that is in a minute but - wow! Can I just say hi to some old friends here?? I can't believe how many names I saw and it was like an amazing hug! I had all these happy tears and felt all warm and tingly! That might sound weird, but that's what I just experienced. Please feel free to say hi! I'm not sure how deep I might dive to see how you all are doing (I can still trigger sometimes - especially if I'm hungry grin - but the moments don't last long.)

Mostly I am still working on me and know where my brain is making the wrong connection if that makes sense? Meaning, I may trigger about the affair, but most of the time it's just my silly brain trying to protect me from something I no longer need protecting from. I am shocked that I am still working on that neural network, but at the same time, I get it too. I have worked on myself emotionally, but not physically, and after baby 3 and my 40s (and maybe an aversion to exercise and salads) I can let myself feel down about that. But, each day gets easier, and so far I am down 10 pounds - wohoo!

A quick update - wow life is full. We have done so much work on ourselves, and tried the best we could to help ensure our kids were ok, but anyone else have a really hard year parenting? Like - the hardest one yet? We have teens and an elementary kid and this pandemic was *hard*! They all had varying levels of depression - and we were there for them through it. The tides are finally turning back up to hopeful (yay!), and there is a lot we all learned along the way.

But it's not all shiny, which brings me to today - our oldest is really angry with me. Today I sat down with him to see if we could figure out why and really, he's mad at me for 'disappearing' after the affair, and for a long time after. He felt abandoned (rightly so) and is now feeling angry about it. (Again, I totally get it.) He is not wrong either. I barely survived that first year, and barely walked that second. Then I stumbled on my own issues and had to relearn so much that his anger is valid. I have never told them all what happened, just that dad had a mental breakdown, and as a result caused me to have one and it took a long time for us to heal from that. But kids are smarter than we give them credit for, because as I was apologizing for not being there, my oldest just consoled me and said, "it wasn't your fault". (omg the waterworks!)

But what do I do about it? How do I fix that I couldn't be there for him after dday? Or fully for like 3 years. (I'm super slow at this stuff.) Or that I drank myself numb a lot in the beginning just to survive. (I am so ashamed of that too...a bad emotion and one to work on, but gosh this stuff is hard right?)

This isn't the first time that I have talked about this stuff with him, or his brother, but it is the first time his anger is present and he could connect the two. When I asked him how to fix this he quickly, with a side smile, suggested we go to GameStop. So, it's not all doom and gloom here - we do have fun too - but there is *real* pain and hurt there, and it is alllllll directed at me, not MrKate. I'm sure you can figure out my feelings on the fairness here but....

MrKate suggested talking to him - but we are giving him some processing time, and I will reach out to my therapist tomorrow too. My oldest refuses therapy (I won't insist on it then) but I can go and work on me and then talk to him about it. However, I also thought, if anyone could understand, it would be you all.

Any words of wisdom??

posts: 1814   ·   registered: May. 3rd, 2015   ·   location: United States
id 8738971
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3yrsout ( member #50552) posted at 3:22 AM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

I think give him what we all wish our waywards had given us: Complete honesty and transparency without defensiveness, and with appropriate remorse.

"I was gutted and left bleeding when I found out your dad had an affair with a 20 year old. I stumbled around numb to the world and angry in ways I can’t begin to understand well because I was a hot mess. As a parent I struggled, as a human I struggled. Some days getting out of bed was hard. I was absent from you and sought out comfort in alcohol, which is equally as bad as your father seeking out other women. Words cannot express my disappointment in myself for sucking at coping at that time. It’s something I work every day to improve upon. I’m seeking counseling to work on this, and your anger is righteous. To say I apologize is meaningless, but I want to say it anyway. I love you and I will never enter that realm of self involvement again. I see how that was a crappy coping skill and I make daily moves to do better. I would appreciate your vigilance in this as well. If you want me to explain things further, I’m here for that. If you want to give me feedback on ways I can show you I love you, I’m here for that, too. I love you and won’t let myself enter that world again. It hurt me and to say it hurt you is an understatement."

And then listen.

posts: 644   ·   registered: Nov. 27th, 2015
id 8738972
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 3:39 AM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

We're not perfect people, Kate. We do our best and sometimes our best is disappointing. Life is real though. It's not a sitcom. Expectations sometimes need to be adjusted and compassion applied. My advice would be to start with you and work outward. :)

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5767   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8738975
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 hopefulkate (original poster member #47752) posted at 3:39 PM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

Thanks 3YearsOut- that's a great starting place. I've wanted to have this conversation with him for a long time, but don't want to take away his relationship with his dad in any way. But, my kids are amazing and smart and we *do* talk about our feelings, so maybe there is a way. Oopf, this is emotional! And they deserve peace and healing!!

And thank you too, ChamomileTea, self compassion is probably the biggest thing that will get me through this and help me be there for him now too. I *have* been there for the past few years, and hopefully just continuing to show up will help. And it's not like I was never there, but damn that time period was hard.

posts: 1814   ·   registered: May. 3rd, 2015   ·   location: United States
id 8739016
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:12 PM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

If I were you, I'd start with a big happy dance because my kid shared his anger with me. It's a positive sign of your son's mental health, I think.

I think you're doing the right stuff. The one thing I'd add is asking your son what help he wants from you and guiding him to ask for it. He's a kid, so he may not be able to answer well, but maybe asking him what he wants is just what he needs. (It's often hard for adults to verbalize what they want, as we all know.)

No one parents perfectly. Everyone takes in some crap as they grow up. We cannot protect our children the way most of us want to. If we could, the healthiest of our kids would call us over-protective. And they'd be right.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 27435   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8739024
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 4:44 PM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

I've wanted to have this conversation with him for a long time, but don't want to take away his relationship with his dad in any way.

The alternative to that is what you've got going on now, where his understanding of what exactly happened is incomplete and he's drawing his own conclusions. That said, you've got no guarantee that he'd be equipped to identify with what happened to you even if he knew the full truth. Most people don't really 'get it' until it happens to them. So, it's your call. You know him best.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5767   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8739029
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strugglebus ( member #55656) posted at 8:07 PM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

I think the discussion about the affair needs to go squarely on Mr.Kate’s lap. He recognizes he caused this problem, right? Therefore he should model owning your choices (including bad ones) and apologizing to those impacted (which includes your oldest). Honesty and transparency, vulnerability and empathy and remorse STRENGTHEN relationships.

But if you tell your son this, as opposed to MrKate it can land poorly.

Once MrKate comes clean, then you can talk with your son again and give your own apology once your child has the facts.

BS -DDay: 9/26/16- Double Betrayal

Happily reconciling.

Be True to your Word. Don't take things Personally. Don't Make Assumptions. Do Your Best.

posts: 2550   ·   registered: Oct. 18th, 2016
id 8739072
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 8:48 PM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

^^^^This. Strugglebus has an excellent suggestion. Your kid still might not completely understand your devastation, but she's right, this has the potential to be a teaching moment where your kid sees an important lesson in personal responsibility modeled for him.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5767   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8739079
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straightup ( member #78778) posted at 9:20 PM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

Post my Dad’s affair, when I was 10 (they divorced and Dad married AP) my Mum drank. Still does, secretly. She was very unstable but improved in her 60’s. She only goes off the rails occasionally now.

You know what? Although there are still some trust issues, so I stay as chaperone, Mum has been a very sincere and pretty good grandmother to my 2 kids and to my brother’s one kid. I hadn’t predicted a happy ending, but that has been healing for all of us.

Do just like you have been doing. Start where you are. Confront the everyday problems life puts before you. Opportunities will come to show your love. Grab them.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
Mother Teresa

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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 10:48 PM on Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

How do I fix that I couldn't be there for him after dday? Or fully for like 3 years. (I'm super slow at this stuff.) Or that I drank myself numb a lot in the beginning just to survive.

Flaking out on your child is the parental equivalent of being a WS. So do what you would expect of a WS who genuinely wanted to reconcile. Be proactive in your relationship with him, and in thinking of ways to help his healing. Consistently be there for him- no more flaking out or drinking, ever. If he gets angry about the past, just be there to listen and don't blame your behavior on your ex. Also don't complain about your ex in front of him at any time. Kids hate that, even if they already hate the ex- they don't enjoy hearing it. I know this from experience.

It sounds like he's forgiving you so you're already on the right track. There's no magic pill to make a wrong past right. You can't change the past. Just be there for him now and continue to be there for him.

Fyi I grew up with a mother who flaked out and wasn't there for us for several years after my father flaked out of their marriage and eventually abandoned us. The lack of parental guidance from either parent devastated my later childhood/adolescence, and by extension, my entire life. So my answer comes from the perspective of the child, not just as another BS (although I am that, too).

[This message edited by morningglory at 10:54 PM, Tuesday, June 7th]

posts: 454   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8739098
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 hopefulkate (original poster member #47752) posted at 12:15 AM on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Thank you all, this is incredibly helpful!

Sisoon - as always, thank you for your kind words. I was so glad he stayed to talk with me! Even though it was hard to hear. I have asked him if there is anything that I can do, and offered to talk anytime. He's...young in the ways of knowing what he needs still, but I *love* your idea of child led healing. Makes a lot of sense.

I do also think he does deserves to hear some more of why I was so upset for so long, so he can understand his own story - so thank you all for putting that concept in my head more concretely. I'd also really like him to know how much I have done - for his dad, for me, for them, for our family. Maybe knowing how hard I was working would help? Maybe not if he didn't see or feel that? I'd really like the credit for keeping MrKate alive this far. laugh (Ok, I don't get all the credit, but...) He has seen me conquer the alcohol, and I'm really glad for that.

Strugglebus - you are right about it being something MrKate should handle! He did offer, though I still hold him back at times, worried about how he will be. I'd hate for him to dissociate when I'm not there and not be able to explain that too. Although we have let the kids know that dad has memory issues. I really like your perspective on why it should be him too, so maybe I need to not be so afraid and let MrKate do some of the hard lifting. And in writing this I can say that if I talk to MrKate's system first, that it would be ok. Thanks for helping me to think this through more.

StraightUp - I'm so sorry for that painful time, and so glad you have found healing!

I was certainly an internal mess, but it was my job to take care of everyone, so I functioned -but after dinner I would drink until sleepy so I wouldn't have to feel anything. I couldn't bear to think of losing control or feeling dday over again. I admit that it kind of worked in the moment, but that prolonged my healing by increasing my anxiety, among all the other things that daily drinking can do. Mostly, I just tuned everyone out to try to escape myself. Funny thing, it didn't work and I had to learn to live with myself instead.

posts: 1814   ·   registered: May. 3rd, 2015   ·   location: United States
id 8739109
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 hopefulkate (original poster member #47752) posted at 12:36 AM on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Flaking out on your child is the parental equivalent of being a WS. So do what you would expect of a WS who genuinely wanted to reconcile.

Ouch. But, exactly. I think what hits harder is that if these are the same, can I ever win his trust back? I like to say I trust MrKate again, but I don't 100%, and never will again. My heart is forever somewhat guarded I think. As you mentioned, my goal is to help him heal and live a full life without all of this going with him.

Not that I can send him off perfect, but he is only home with us for a few more years, so I would love to spend this time being as supportive, loving and present as possible. One, I *want* him to love us and want to come home, but two, I recognize what I represent in his psyche and hate to think that his sense of attachment or belonging/self has been damaged too badly.

posts: 1814   ·   registered: May. 3rd, 2015   ·   location: United States
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Want2BHappyAgain ( member #45088) posted at 1:28 AM on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Hi there hopefulkate grin !!! It is so good to "see" you on here again!! Here is a big (((HUG))) from me to you!!!

Our kids were grown and gone when my H had his A. They knew something was wrong though after Dday...and kept asking me if everything was alright. I told them that things weren't alright...but it was something personal between me and their Dad...and it concerned SEX. I then asked them if they REALLY wanted to know...and thankfully they told me NO laugh !! After that there were no more questions...but lots of hugs and sweetness from them smile .

But what do I do about it? How do I fix that I couldn't be there for him after dday?

As we all know...there is NOTHING that can be done about the past. But moving forward...you can show him that you ARE here for him NOW smile . NOW is what counts grin !!!

I had seen it somewhere that when a child lashes out at a parent...it is because they feel safe with that parent to let their feelings come out. I have no idea if that is true...but does this ring true in your case?

A "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.

With God ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

I AM happy again...It CAN happen!!!

From respect comes great love...sassylee

posts: 6188   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2014   ·   location: Southeastern United States
id 8739119
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 2:28 AM on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

can I ever win his trust back?

You didn't lie to him, so the issue isn't trusting in terms of honesty, but trusting in terms of being stable. Keep being stable, and yes, he should eventually trust that you will consistently do so.

The way my mother earned my forgiveness was by being a good grandmother to my son. And that was needed, given that I was a BS and his father is a narc. So I let go of the past since she's cleaned her act up and rejoined the real world, and values her family.

Your son wants to forgive you which is great. Keep being there for him consistently, and it should go well. He will not forget, but will forgive and still love you.

posts: 454   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
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ISurvivedSoFar ( Guide #56915) posted at 10:56 AM on Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

Hopefulkate - HI THERE!!! So glad to see you here.

I have recently gone through similar encounters with my daughter. Here's the thing - as you say, children are smart and they get it. Recently my daughter has opened up to me about that time in our lives. She was here, saw everything and saw things she should have never seen. And even though my behavior at that time was initiated from the infidelity trauma, I still have to own my part.

I told my daughter she didn't deserve what happened to her. That one line, no blame, no criticism, just ownership and understanding allowed her to open up and reveal all that she knew and understood at that time and in retrospect. She is revealing many of her feelings to me and it gives us an opportunity to form a new relationship, both at new stages of our lives. She's been nothing but understanding and supportive even with the hell we put her through because we were so broken.

I know I didn't cause the infidelity but I also know, as it seems you do, that I own my behavior after. Honestly by being open and sympathetic DD is able to sort through the truth and come to a place of understanding. She even said to her aunt just yesterday (they are visiting from out of town) that she knows that parents can sometimes misjudge but in the long run it okay if there is love and caring for each other's well being.

We cannot take away what happened but we can learn from it and use it to model ways in which we overcome strife. And I guarantee that your understanding will ultimately make the two of you closer.

Mr. Kate may have to do the same but right now your son needs you to understand his pain.

DDay Nov '16
Me: BS, a.k.a. MommaDom, Him: WS
2 DD's: one adult, one teen,1 DS: adult
Surviving means we promise ourselves we will get to the point where we can receive love and give love again.

posts: 2819   ·   registered: Jan. 15th, 2017
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Fof9303 ( member #70433) posted at 11:15 PM on Friday, June 10th, 2022

Hi there,

It is so hard being a parent on a regular old fashioned day and then when you throw in marriage issues, and Covid and all the other crap-- sheesh it is a wonder how we survive. I know it is so hard when we blame ourselves.. If only we had done this.. if only we had done that.... I always wonder if my kids directions would have been completely different. One our marriage got cracked they were juniors in high school and prepping for college tours and all that stuff. We missed a lot of things and my daughter did not try for the college she wanted because honestly I dropped the ball. I hurts and stung for sure, but not so anymore. Time has passed and their lives are good. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason, and that some good will come of it one day... whether that day will be here on earth or in heaven.. I don't know yet .. lol I think having those open conversations are good, so keep talking and keep laughing with them. We talked about it in the beginning those first few months and then it is has never been mentioned again with them, but my son lets me know what a strong woman I am every now and then and I know what he means. They are happy and healthy, one getting married next week, and one having a baby in December. They are good and I am sure that you will get here too with your littles. God Bless.

posts: 140   ·   registered: Apr. 27th, 2019
id 8739699
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devotedman ( member #45441) posted at 2:15 AM on Saturday, June 11th, 2022

Hello, hopefulkate!

Glad to see you again. Glad to hear that Mr Kate and the younglings are still kicking. smile

You're getting lots of good advice so I'll leave it to others to comment.

Bye! smile

[This message edited by devotedman at 2:17 AM, Saturday, June 11th]

Me: 2xBS b 1962 xWW after 2 decades, xWGF after almost 1.
Amelia Pond: Who are you?
The Doctor: I don't know yet. I'm still cooking.
ENFP-A. Huh.

posts: 5139   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2014   ·   location: Central USA
id 8739709
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 hopefulkate (original poster member #47752) posted at 7:05 PM on Monday, June 13th, 2022

Hi All - thanks so much, so many wonderful words of wisdom, support and solidarity!!

It has been interesting, as our wedding anniversary happened to be this week. I didn't feel like celebrating, tbh. We had some medical things with my mom and my other child, and instead of traveling this weekend, came across something that we knew my oldest would just LOVE to do, so we dropped everything and took him to that - just me, my husband and him. He has thanked us a few times already for this! Pre covid we used to do things like this all the time, so I'm glad we can start again. (We have, but you could tell this was now different somehow.)

Still waiting for MrKate to speak with him, but I will say that things are already a lot smoother, and you can tell he is glad we are talking about this. When he does and and we know more, I will come share an update. Sounds like this is a common thing in some ways, so to hear how others have healed past is very, very helpful to this mom!

WTBHA!! ISSF!! DEVOTEDMAN!! HUGS AND FISTBUMPS TO YOU!!! So nice to "see" you again, and thank you for your support! I wish I could stay here more often, it is really nice to see you all and hear your wisdom. Its still hard to be here sometimes.

but it was something personal between me and their Dad...and it concerned SEX. I then asked them if they REALLY wanted to know...and thankfully they told me NO laugh !! After that there were no more questions...but lots of hugs and sweetness from them smile

laugh laugh laugh I might try that one ;)

I told my daughter she didn't deserve what happened to her. That one line, no blame, no criticism, just ownership and understanding allowed her to open up and reveal all that she knew and understood at that time and in retrospect.

^^^This 100%. If there is one thing I have learned through all of this is what a true apology looks like. No 'yes, but'... only ownership. I have tried to give that as often as possible. Glad you were able to have the conversation! Our stories are similar and also different, so I am curious as to what he does remember or has made into his own narrative. Something I am also sort of afraid to hear, but know that owning your story is so powerful. Afraid is kind of the term?, looking at with sadness? I'm sure there is a better word here. Not looking forward to the hard conversation(s), but 100% looking towards the healing that it will bring.

I should post an update overall, because while this moment is hard, lots of good have been around too. Maybe one day. :)

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Chaos ( member #61031) posted at 4:23 PM on Tuesday, June 14th, 2022

My children will never forgive their father for his LTA. And on some level will never forgive me for attempting reconciliation.

The tentacles of infidelity are long reaching and unmerciful.

BS-me/WH-4.5yrLTA Married 2+ decades - Children (1 still at home) Multiple DDays w/same AP until I told OBS 2018 Cease & Desist sent spring 2021"Hello–My name is Chaos–You f***ed my husband-Prepare to Die!"

posts: 3493   ·   registered: Oct. 13th, 2017   ·   location: East coast
id 8740134
Topic is Sleeping.
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