I would like to help you with your question.
I am so very sorry that this man is back in your life! The trauma you experienced back then is now being brought into the present - a present which you worked very hard to build. Your shock, anger, disappointment and disbelief are all understandable and reasonable. That your daughters are wanting you to see him in a positive light is not possible at this point....and may never be.
How do I keep this from damaging my relationship with them?
Let's look at some things you can do to make sense of what is happening and to cope with this situation.
Yes...that is a major issue.
Please tell me what they know about him...do they know you were raped and beaten? Where do they think he has been all these years and why he walked away from their lives? Did he ever pay child support or provide anything?
Over the years I told them very little about him other than his name, his heritage, etc. I told them he was abusive, but didn't go into any detail. He told them he was traumatized after our relationship ended (he told them that his memory of how our relationship was differed from mine). He moved, remarried and started a family. He has two children from his subsequent relationship. These children are slightly younger than my daughter (the one I was pregnant with when he attacked me for the last time). He has never provided any child support and in fact, has never seen my youngest child.
I have now told them what happened the last time I saw him. My oldest daughter remembers him attacking me and remembers that she had to call the police. But it seems she is unwilling to discuss this with him, instead choosing to allow him to lie to her.
Actually, she called my mother, who called the police. But she remembers seeing him on top of me and realizing that I was in trouble.
Thank you for this additional information.
I applaud you for telling them the truth...they need to hear it and to process that for themselves.
Your oldest daughter is 31..is that correct?
Am I right in thinking that your daughters are not denying what occurred to you..and accept that he did abandon all of you?
But that there is some willingness on their part to also believe him...or let's say believe that he has no memory of what happened..and was distraught at the divorce?
I'm just trying to get the facts right so that I can advise you accordingly...thank you for your patience with my questions.
Please tell me as well if they have a tight bond with your husband...their step-father?
And...do you have children with this husband?
Yes, but they seem to feel it has no bearing on anything today and shouldn't affect me in any way. That they are adults and that this is their life, their choice. It feels to me like he is victimizing me all over again, only this time through them. And yes, they are allowing him to use "trauma" and his alleged use of drugs to excuse his behavior. He did use drugs, but he knew exactly what he was doing. When the police removed him from the home the last time I saw him, he looked right at me (I was standing there with a bloody lip and black eye) and he smiled. I thought they had a tight bond with my husband, but now I am second guessing everything. And yes, I have children with my husband; we have two sons, age 14 and 10.
I am going to be 100% frank with you...
I think your daughter's are acting poorly towards you.
As women themselves...they ought to realize who was traumatized here and who wasn't!
Thank you. I agree, and so does my husband and 14 year old son. I am so angry that this is causing such a rift in my family, but I can't stop them and I don't feel I should have to deal with having a rapist in my life. Even if it means I have to love my daughters from a distance for a while.
Rape is NEVER okay. Excusing it because one was taking drugs or whatever...is not a reason to harm someone. Being upset with your daughter's makes sense based on their unwillingness to put YOU and your experience in its rightful place. You deserve pity and understanding...not him. He was the offender..you were the victim. Plain and simple.
That they are unwilling to see this...to believe this...to treat you accordingly..is very regretable..and plain old sad.
Thank you. I was afraid that maybe I was overreacting because I am too close to the situation. My emotional status is very precarious at present; I'm very tearful and upset. And that makes me even angrier. I thought I had gotten over this and dealt with it years ago. Now I feel like it happened yesterday and that really makes me mad.
I agree...if your daughter's can not put the emphasis on your experience...then they will have to live with the consequence of their ignorance! And...in this case..it is to be estranged from you for the time being.
I appreciate your advice.
I am going to post an article about trauma for you to read. The reality here is that you are being re-traumatized by all of this mess. Yes..you likely did deal with it, healed, and moved on with your life. But now...he is back and your daughter's are not dealing with this in an appropriate fashion.
Now...it is reasonable for them to want to know him. That is there right and, yes, they are adults and have the right to decide who is in their life. But...what they don't have the right to do is to treat you disrespectfully XXXXX XXXXX matter and to tell you such garbage as you are crazy, over-reacting, and that this should not be a problem for you. It is a problem. This man raped you...that is the most violent act imaginable. In deed, he went so far as to try to kill your unborn child. These are not okay actions. And they should never be condoned.
You are absolutely not crazy. You are not over-reacting.
You are being re-traumatized.
And...you are being hurt by your two daughters.
I feel betrayed by them and that hurts the most. And it's only going to get worse because they are allowing him to manipulate them; I know he LOVES this. The abuse I suffered was not the only thing he did to me; it was just the last thing I allowed him to do. And I refuse to allow him to hurt me any more.
Exactly! You will NOT allow him to hurt you. And..yes...I imagined from what you wrote that the rape was just the tip of the iceberg...I'm so sorry.
For 2 years after the rape I woke up in the middle of the night at any little sound, terrified he had come back and this time was going to kill me. It took me a long time to get past that, and a long time to trust a man again. He took enough from me; I won't let him have any more.
Again, thank you for validating my feelings. I needed someone who is not involved to hear what was going on and weigh in.
What you are describing are typical trauma reactions..and I do understand the courage and strength it took to get past this. Your daughter's are fools if they are unwilling to understand the entire story...
And yes...the reality is right now they are betraying you. I'm sorry to put it so bluntly..but you need the truth not some sugar coated response from me.
Hopefully they come around before it's too late. I'm already distancing myself from them because I have to.
I am going to copy and paste an article into this chat ... give me a minute...
Above is the article I wanted you to read.
I'm sorry but somehow the JustAnswer system erased part of our chat so that I can't see the entire chat between us.
The last posting I made was asking if your daughter's live near you...could you please reanswer that...
I want to see if it is possible to have another meeting with them.
My oldest daughter lives near me; my youngest lives approx. 3 hours away (closer to my ex-husband).
Both of my daughters feel that they are simply exercising their right as adults to have a relationship with their birth father. My youngest daughter seems to at least understand a bit more (or at least be willing to question things) but my oldest appears to have lost her ever loving mind and doesn't see what is happening in front of her.
Denial is a very powerful tool!
Did you get the article I posted?
But I am not going to continue agonizing over this. I cannot make their choices and apparently my opinion and feelings matter very little to them. The only thing I can control is my reaction, and I am choosing to not allow this to affect me. I will love my daughters from a distance and hope for the best for them. I will concentrate on my marriage with my husband of 17 years and our two children, and be grateful I have them in my life.
That portion of our chat has disappeared on my screen.
Yes, I received the article and have read it. Thank you again for your help.
Hurrah! You have a very healthy attitude and approach to life!
Thank you. :) Take care...
Your daughter's will have to find their own way....and I think they will be shocked when they wake up out of the stupor they are in.
But..until that day comes...you can - as you say - not be in that stew with them.
No. It was not a nice stew.
Doing so..puts you in jeopardy emotionally and allows you to be re-traumatized.
I do ask you to please consider therapy if you find yourself slipping into a depression or unable to let go of your daughters' poor decisions.
It does. I haven't felt this horrible in, well, 23 years. Unable to concentrate at home or work, alternating beween fury and tears. Keep trying to talk to them, make them understand how I feel, only to be told I'm "crazy."
I'm sorry .. truly I am. You are not crazy. And..you need to tell them that they must stop using that word to describe you or you will hang up the phone or ask them to leave.
I will seek help immediately. I tried to kill myself a year after the attack and I credit my therapist with saving my life. I'd have never made it through without her. I will never allow myself to slip that far again.
Please....do not allow those words to be used.
You must set clear boundaries with your daughters...the subject of their birth father is off limits.
I won't. My daughters will have a bit of a surprise the next time they call me. LOL - almost feel sorry for them.
Well...they will have to learn...
I do understand the need to know one's birth parents...it is a huge need...
And I have already told them I don't want to hear a single thing about him. I've unfriended them from Facebook so he can't use that as a tool to harass. I told them I was going to do it, and why.
But...to be in denial is another subject.
And I understand the need as well. I guess I just expected them to handle it a bit more maturely than they have.
Good! I like how honest you are with them! That's exactly what needs to happen...100% honesty...he is feeding them lies...you feed them the truth. If they don't like the truth...tough...it's what they are going to get from you!
Thank you for your help. I will be giving you an "Excellent" rating :)
It's my pleasure to help you.
I'd like to also suggest a good book
Secrets, Lies and Betrayals by Maggie Scarf
It might be beneficial for you...
Going back to therapy is a great idea as well...
I will look for it today. Going out to do some Christmas shopping. Haven't been feeling too festive lately. Taking my Christmas back.
You sound like a really smart woman! Yup...I agree those 2 daughters of yours are currently acting very immature. And I mean currently...let's leave the door open to the hope that they wake up soon!
You go girl!
My best to you.
Please know that you can chat with my again in the future if you would like. Just ask for me by name and your question will be directed to me!
I will leave it open a crack. Take care and again, thank you. I promise if I start slipping into the abyss again I will seek in person help.
It was my pleasure to take your question today!
Bye for now!