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Newest Member: Daughterofthemosthigh

Divorce/Separation :
Devastated….When you finally tell your child what their dad did

Topic is Sleeping.
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 Tortured (original poster member #52141) posted at 1:02 AM on Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

My DS has his first girlfriend.

Over the last couple of weeks I have had a few discussions with friends that it was probably time I had to tell him so that he understands more about how he should and shouldn’t treat a partner. He really hasn’t got any good role models and hasn’t had the ideal upbringing. I also mentioned to her mum that he doesnt know what his dad did but it was time to tell him this month and the reasons I wanted to (so that he understands not to make the same mistakes as his dad and grandad and I suspect his great grandad).

So a conversation started between us with me having to address a phone conversation I had with gis girlfriends mother. And it went downhill from there with my DS not engaging and then eventually explaining that if he’s quiet it ends my lectures sooner and he’s went on about my mental state and the damage I’ve done to him and his younger sisters. So given it was only a month away from when I was planning on telling him the story I sat down and explained what his dad had done (serial cheater for over a decade).

I’m devastated and cried a lot and of course my son was in utter shock of the bubble that I just burst about his dad. I’m not sure whether I told him too much or the right amount for impact. I’m not even sure that that’s meant to look like. I just know that I want it to be enough for him to not repeat it in his life like his dad and grandad. I can’t help but feel like I’ve done it wrong. How in the hell is there ever a right way?

For years my children haven’t understood my behaviour by hiding what my ex did to me and the PSTD and struggles of the stress I’m always feeling as a single mum. There was so much trauma and my whole body feels it. Nobody ever wants to have to deliver that message to their child. There is no joy in sharing what a horrible man their father is. It’s even worse when their father is the classic Mr nice guy, successful, has it together and is calm for the kids. It means that they have always thought I was the bat shit crazy one for no reason when really this is who I become not who I was before I was with him.

There’s some relief that maybe my son will have more understanding for me. But none of this takes away any of the history between the home where I’ve not been the best mum I could have been to my kids. For my son he pretty much lost his childhood.

What infidelity did to our family has been devastating and it’s impact long lasting. I hope any WS reading this has a long and hard think about what it did to their kids. Because at least in my instance, my kids didn’t just lose a family, they lost the mom that I had been and I became a shadow of a mum instead.

To the BS out there, I’m at a total loss of how I can fix the damage that’s been done in my home and my relationship with my kids. Any advice is much needed at the moment. I feel like I can’t breathe.

[This message edited by Tortured at 11:26 AM, Tuesday, May 21st]

TorturedMe: BSHim: WH (serial)Three kidsDD: Nov 2015 (and so much trickle truth that I would be listing a month a DDays)Sep: Dec 2016

posts: 185   ·   registered: Mar. 6th, 2016
id 8836401
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crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 6:19 PM on Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

There’s some relief that maybe my son will have more understanding for me. But none of this takes away any of the history between the home where I’ve not been the best mum I could have been to my kids. For my son he pretty much lost his childhood.

Yes now there is context. I looked like the out of control emotional parent too due to my xWS's A's and his narcissism. I hope your son sees now how strong you are and emotionally secure without the WS in your life. I believe my kids are figuring this out as well. As much as my kids hate this D, they have a mom now who is happy and able to do things with them that I wasn't when I was at my worst. Like your son my kids lost a lot of their childhood too due to my xWS's actions and my reactions to it.

It's awful to have to tell them that their parent is a complete douche canoe but I think they should know. It tells the other part of the story (your part) that didn't make sense to them before.

fBS/fWS(me):51 Mad-hattered after DD (2008)
XWS:53 Serial Cheater, Diagnosed NPD
DD(21) DS(18)
XWS cheated the entire M spanning 19 years
Discovered D-Days 2006,2008,2012, False R 2014
Divorcing

posts: 8834   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: California
id 8836443
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 Tortured (original poster member #52141) posted at 5:11 AM on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

Thanks you for replying "Crazyblindsided". The trouble is that for 8 years I’ve not appeared the stable parent to them. He’s calm and collected and it sounds like you’ve got great experience of what that’s like when the other parent stirred the pot and the kids have no idea what that are doing to the you.

I have younger children my DS has been told not to tell.

But I’m so sad. I have no idea whether after the initial shock he will have empathy or no empathy towards me.

TorturedMe: BSHim: WH (serial)Three kidsDD: Nov 2015 (and so much trickle truth that I would be listing a month a DDays)Sep: Dec 2016

posts: 185   ·   registered: Mar. 6th, 2016
id 8836526
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crazyblindsided ( member #35215) posted at 5:37 PM on Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

I know exactly what you mean. I too appeared and was unhinged during the last years of my M. xWS would remain calm because he was banking on me looking that way so he could point the finger at me. The only way to undo that is time. If you are not unhinged now and happy and stable well there is a reason for that. Unless your xWS is alienating the kids your son will eventually see this. Sometimes it takes them to go through an experience in life that mimics what you went through to understand it. Both my kids see a night and day difference between how I was when I was with their dad to how I am without him. I think you are doing a fantastic job as a mom and teaching your son about integrity and values.

fBS/fWS(me):51 Mad-hattered after DD (2008)
XWS:53 Serial Cheater, Diagnosed NPD
DD(21) DS(18)
XWS cheated the entire M spanning 19 years
Discovered D-Days 2006,2008,2012, False R 2014
Divorcing

posts: 8834   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2012   ·   location: California
id 8836583
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InkHulk ( member #80400) posted at 12:38 AM on Sunday, May 19th, 2024

In my experience, my father cheated on my mom, and was also an alcoholic. My relationship with my father tanked, he was not able to keep up any facade of being the good guy in it all. I can at least give him credit for not trying to fool me with that shit. But my relationship with my mother did also suffer. Some from things she legitimately did, and looking back now I think I unfairly judged her for some things. To experience this debilitating betrayal trauma now, there is no way to look back on the last two years of my life and not believe that my kids have been robbed of investment from me because I was so wrecked. And they don’t really understand that. And I didn’t understand my mom, until now. Damn, I wish I had happier things to say. Maybe you can hope that they never experientially understand. But I do believe with time and love that truth can overcome and those bonds healed.

But the selfish actions of parents of young children, they have generational impacts.

People are more important than the relationships they are in.

posts: 2186   ·   registered: Jun. 28th, 2022
id 8837008
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little turtle ( member #15584) posted at 3:17 PM on Sunday, May 19th, 2024

My older son was 1 and younger son wasn't born yet when XWH started his affair. We divorced 2 years later. A few years later, my older son was mad and didn't understand why I "kicked dad out." I explained that Dad broke a rule of the marriage. I didn't give any specifics and he seemed to understand. My boys are almost 18 and 16 now... I've never given the full story and I don't ever plan to while they are still young. Maybe one day when they are grown.

Just because their dad was a terrible husband with me, doesn't mean they need to know what happened.

Failure is success if we learn from it.

posts: 5612   ·   registered: Aug. 1st, 2007   ·   location: michigan
id 8837033
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The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 6:54 PM on Sunday, May 19th, 2024

Have you gotten any counseling for your PTSD?

Yes affairs leave us with PTSD. Some more manageable than others. One of my triggers is $. I need to have X amount liquid to feel safe. Second is I cannot have any debt. None.

Also there are things that can upset me but I’ve learned to control them. With therapy and support I have pretty much healed.

I’m your case if you can show your children stability and consistency and control and less emotional outbursts, that can go a long way towards healing.

I hope this helps you.

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13971   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8837047
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 3:21 PM on Monday, May 20th, 2024

Don’t assume this will be when and where your son decides CORRECTLY on how he will act in his future relationships...
A father is a powerful role-model for young men, and they definitely need strong (preferabley same-gender) role-models. It’s my belief a good, strong mother can be that role-model, and I model a lot of my behavior on my mom, but I guess I model how I interact with the other gender both on my mom’s expectations but mostly on how my dad behaved towards my mom and other women (and people in general).

It’s about 90% certain he will talk to his dad about what you shared, and it’s about 99% certain his dad will give him a watered down version where the reasons for his "need" to cheat are laid square at your feet. A powerful man – a man who understands what being a father really is – would raise his hand, acknowledge his shortcomings, accept his accountability and then share what he’s done to change his character and behaviors. Would that be your ex? His dad?


If there is some male person in his life that he respects? Do you have a brother, his granddad, a teacher, a coach....?
Someone you could ask to talk to him?
Does his school offer therapy or guidance?
Would he be willing to go to therapy?

He’s at an age where a parenting figure needs to be very clear on expectations in self-accountability and relationships should be.

I can share this as a dad of three boys (all grown now):
When my middle-son was the same age as your son then in my community five young men (16-18) had taken turns having sex with a young 15-16 year girl and recorded it. All involved had consumed alcohol. Allegedly the recording was being distributed online. The girl reported them for rape, but the rumor-mill (being what it was...) insisted this was only after the recording was distributed, and that the girl had been a willing participant.
I took my 15 year old and my 13 year old (at that time) and told them something along these lines:
If this was rape, the correct authorities would handle it and we were in no position to prejudge either the young men nor the young woman.
If this was a willing act... I asked them to consider if they would be OK with being a part in that act... If being number two or four with a young woman that was clearly inebriated. If that really had anything to do with their values on relationships and sex. I asked them directly if that met their expectations of self-respect and self-dignity.
I also told them that if they were ever in that situation to witness something of that kind that I would expect them – even at personal risk – to ensure everyone was a capable and willing participant and if so – then leave. If not – make sure it ended.
They have since told me that this moment – over 10 years ago – was a defining moment for them when they finally somehow grasped the expectations they should have to themselves.

I’m hoping your son experiences something of that nature, and I fear it wont be his dad unless he’s really changed since his divorce from you.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 12479   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8837134
Topic is Sleeping.
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