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Do I tell family history truths that will hurt my dad’s memory?

(29 Posts)
PJN1952 Sun 10-Jan-21 10:50:39

Warning: this post contains possible upsetting details.
I am 68 with 3 younger brothers but I am only close to the middle one as the others estranged me and my family before my mum’s funeral in 2013. My dad died in 2006 leaving a family in disorder due to his disruptive relationships with each of his 7 children in 2 marriages.
I have written up my dad’s parents family histories so my brother has their life stories and now in lockdown I am writing my dad’s life story. In the 1960’s he had a close friendship with a work colleague, a man who inveigled his way into our home and ‘groomed’ me from 10yrs old then sexually assaulted me in my bedroom several times when I was 12-13yrs old. I reported it to my mum eventually who stopped him coming to our house. She didn’t want to report it to the Police because of the implications of court etc. I learnt later that he was convicted of Paedophilia and jailed. When I was 18 yrs old I unexpectedly met him again at my dad’s works Xmas party: they had stayed friends and dad had given him a job after prison. I was shocked and upset, blocking it all out for many years. I never told my late husband and it was never discussed in the family or with my parents. It has affected my sexual relationships and how I feel about sex. I have some traumatic memories so certain songs and places can reactivate those bad memories. In retrospect I should have had counselling but this was late 1960’s.
So.... do I write up the truth for my brother to read, about my dad’s close relationship with this Paedophile and how he continued with it even after his conviction? My dad may have seen his post prison help as part of resettlement. Will revealing it all now change my good relationship with my brother or is it better to leave it out? As a victim I want to write it into the history but as a sister I want to protect my brother from more hurt and upset.

GagaJo Sun 10-Jan-21 10:54:57

Write it, for you. It could be healing.

What you do with it after you have written it is yet another decision. If passing it on also helps your healing, do that too. YOU are the victim in this. Do whatever you need to do.

25Avalon Sun 10-Jan-21 10:59:30

I agree with GagaJo. You can still get counselling now you know. When you have lived with something a long time you can still need to let it out.

timetogo2016 Sun 10-Jan-21 11:00:51

Agree Gagajo.
How awfull for you PJN1952.
Not a nice position to be in.

Oopsadaisy1 Sun 10-Jan-21 11:05:29

How awful, but maybe your other siblings also had a problem with your Father and his ‘friend’.

I agree that writing it all down can be cathartic, you are not at fault here.

Oldwoman70 Sun 10-Jan-21 11:06:41

Was your father aware of his "friend's" abuse of you? I can't believe that a father would help or remain on friendly terms to someone who had abused his daughter.

If he didn't know then I would suggest you write about it but state clearly that your father knew nothing of the abuse. If he did know then make that clear.

I agree with those suggesting counselling - it is never too late.

crazyH Sun 10-Jan-21 11:13:59

How awful for you PJN.....
My advice would be for you to write it down, get it out of your system, and start the healing process. . Good luck !!

PJN1952 Sun 10-Jan-21 11:23:36

Thx for the replies. Yes my dad knew what his friend had done after I reported it to my mum. I have wondered lately whether one of my estranged brothers was also abused at the same time as me. This sort of thing in a family can be a real minefield... I had psychotherapy when my husband died which exposed some of the post abuse issues. It was helpful and allowed me to talk to a friend whose stepfather abused her young daughter which was helpful for both of us.

vampirequeen Sun 10-Jan-21 11:45:13

I would write it down for your own benefit. Write a version for your brother but leave an obvious gap in the narrative. If he asks why then tell him there is something about your dad that he may not want to know and leave it to him to decide whether he wants to know it.

Luckygirl Sun 10-Jan-21 11:53:09

I this man has already been convicted of a paedophile offence, your revelation is unlikely to come as a surprise to him.

PJN1952 Sun 10-Jan-21 11:53:14

What a good idea VampireQueen. I can do that.

PJN1952 Sun 10-Jan-21 11:56:44

My brother is 10 yrs younger than me so in the abusive years he was v young. He probably hasn’t heard about this man unless my estranged brothers have discussed it. What I find difficult to swallow is the continued friendship with my dad after the prison sentence for paedophilia including with his own children.

Parsley3 Sun 10-Jan-21 12:02:29

Was your brother very close to his father? Is that why you don’t want him to know?

PJN1952 Sun 10-Jan-21 12:42:51

No Parsley3. In fact none of us were close to dad as children but my estranged brothers became closer as adults. I think I feel embarrassed about the abuse and dad’s friend: that feeling of it being ‘my fault’.
If my brother knows about it from me it might explain some of the actions I took as a adult with dad as we didn’t have a great relationship.

BlueBelle Sun 10-Jan-21 12:43:26

I m another who says YES write it all down it may save someone in the future The reason abuse continues is because of silence and cover ups The abusers feel safe because they know the shame you would feel of speaking out

Well done for telling your Mum and well done to your mum for keeping you safe by banning him from the family They were different times and we can’t really judge the mum for not taking it further she obviously thought she had done what she could by banning him and keeping him from you

The father whilst not abusing you physically, abused you mentally by continuing a deep and involved friendship with the man That’s a complete compliance to the crime and puts him on apar with the abuser

Abuse happens because of silence and fear of ‘hurting’ yourself or someone else if you speak out
It is your feelings and your harm that needs to be removed from the safety of silence and in the open to help others as well as yourself

Smileless2012 Sun 10-Jan-21 17:16:01

I agree with vampirequeen. You can write a full account for your own benefit and give one to your brother with this particular relationship between your father and this man omitted.

I think you need to ask yourself why you think your brother should know about this. Would it benefit him in any way to know? Writing this all down would I'm sure benefit you but will the benefit to you be increased if you make your brother aware of something he has no inkling of?

I agree that it's "your feelings and your harm that needs to be removed from the safety of silence and in the open to help others as well as yourself" (beautifully put BlueBelle) but does that mean telling your brother?

oodles Sun 10-Jan-21 17:25:11

you might find that it helps your brother explain some things in his own childhood, you could do as someone suggested and do an expurgated version and offer him the omitted bit in a sealed envelope
Certainly for me finding out from other people helped understand things that had gone on, and helped me because I was not the only one [and the things that happened were a lot later on from childhood from my family member [and ex husband] Hard decision to make, but what is probably important is that you keep to facts and how it affected you, your feelings about what happened.

Parsley3 Sun 10-Jan-21 17:43:52

I hope that the advice you are receiving here is helping you to think this through and come to a decision. For your own sake, I think that you should write the truth.

PJN1952 Sun 10-Jan-21 17:45:31

Thx for your comments folks. They have given me much to think about... 🙂

M0nica Sun 10-Jan-21 17:49:16

I can see one very big danger in the bringing this appalling episode in your life into the open.

When you tell your brothers about this man, his abuse and you fathers implicit acceptance of it, they may turn on you and hold you to blame for what happened to you.

It is very clear to anybody that you were the victim, but when family politics and strained relationsships are concerned, some people will spring to the defence of the accused, because they have guilty secrets or idolised the abuser oe just do not want to know, so please go ahead with writing about your experience, I believe it is a story that should be in the family annals, but be prepared to be attacked and blamed for what happened, no matter how unjustified.

paddyanne Sun 10-Jan-21 18:04:26

I think you should tell your brothers ,what happened wasn't your fault .It was done to you and your father by staying friends with the man betrayed you and your trust.
You may find your siblings had issues too and didn't want to speak about it for the same reasons you do.You might find you can help each other make some sense of what happened ,I hope it all goes well for you .Just writing it down might help

Toadinthehole Sun 10-Jan-21 18:05:46

Can I just ask, and I don’t mean to offend in any way, so sorry in advance if I do.....but it seems you’ve been so hurt by your family, with only one brother that you have a good relationship with, left. Why do you want to write this account at all? I can see that you’d like future generations to know things. We’ve actually made a photo video of our life, which covers all the children’s lives as well. There are snippets of our parents, who we didn’t get on with...but they weren’t abusers. Personally, I’m all for being straight and honest...and wouldn’t flannel it at all. If you’re going to write this history, the abuse is part of it, and I would want to know if I were your sibling. If he really cares for you, it shouldn’t turn him away, but if he does find out somehow...years from now, he may be angry you didn’t tell him. Good luck whatever you choose to do.💐

PJN1952 Sun 10-Jan-21 18:07:36

How amazing that idea is. That’s exactly what I fear my estranged brothers will do - blame me/call me a liar. I won’t be sending them a copy of our dad’s life history (and it was an interesting life) so it is only my close brother I am interested in. I don’t think he will blame me but I understand the risk.

sharon103 Sun 10-Jan-21 18:47:13

I agree totally with Monica having gone through a similar story concerning an immediate female member, only the sexual abuser was her dad. They lived in another country. She still does.
I can't reveal the full story but my relative was abused to put it mildly from a very young age until her teenage years. She told when she was in her late 20's but wasn't believed by her fathers relatives. They cut her out of their lives. Didn't believe her.
When she left home, neither I or her family here were told where she lived despite asking time and time again over the years. She was found finally 3 years ago via social media.
She told me of her abusive childhood. everything added up and I believe her 100% and more.
My eldest sister, her mother found out that I knew and that I had told my brothers and other sister.
My brothers kept in contact with them. My other sister and I did not.
The mother, my sister, and her husband are now deceased.
I shed no tears for either of them. She had known what had been going on all those years ago.
I would say to you not to disclose to your brother what happened to you. You only have one brother in your life. It's a gamble as to whether he would believe you. If he did, all would be well, if not, you will lose him.
If I was you, I would get therapy to help you.
If your brother were to find out through someone else, I'd explain that you didn't know how he would react and didn't want to hurt him.
I'm so glad that you were believed by your mum.
So many victims are not.

Ohmother Sun 10-Jan-21 18:51:10

That ‘blame me / call me a liar’ is the thing that prevents lots of the victims telling. It’s part of the guilt that victims can carry and it keeps the abuser safe to continue abusing. The abuser will still have the power unless the victim finds the strength to tell. None of this was your fault; why own it any longer? 💐