Need help breaking free from addiction?
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

I Believe My Husband Sexually Abused My Daughter And Is At Risk For Doing The Same To My Grandchildren. What Should I Do Now?


In the last two years my husband has been diagnosed Borderline Personality, Narcissistic Personality, Obsessive Compulsive and he has admitted to being a sex addict. The relationship between he and my adult daughter has always been too close. He has admitted to ‘emotional incest’, making her his ‘chosen child’ over the other six children. I must add that he has also revealed that his mother sexually abused him. His list of sexual behaviors is only partial. He left the marriage rather than do a full disclosure with me in front of his sex addiction doctor. My oldest daughter and I have always had a difficult relationship. She has been withdrawn, shut down, and almost cold. For most of her life I just considered that to be her personality. She is married with two children and the marriage has sexual trouble (according to my son in law). When my husband left the marriage he lied to all of the children about the reasons. He is a pathological liar to add to the mix. At that time my oldest daughter took off her mask and spent two days revealing her rage and hatred of me. Not so much as a mother – she mostly criticized me as a wife. She then took his side and proceeded to remove the granddaughters from my life. He moved back home (for one more year) and she then cut him off as well. Directing her rage at him for moving back home. He is gone now and she will call me occasionally. I sense her rage. It seems as though she is holding it back. He is fully involved in her life again. I have other indications such as two books – one on incest where he puts her name and initial throughout the book. The other book is a sex addiction book where his markings indicate how much worse it was then he revealed to me. I confronted him with the evidence in front of his doctor and he did not deny it. Just sat there and smirked at me.

OK – my question. I have three granddaughters. Two belong to my oldest daughter and one is my son’s daughter. He is in their lives. I am worried that he will attempt something with them – however minor. Do I bring this out into the open. I know my children will be angry at me. But I feel I need to err on the side of the children. Is there a best way to approach this? Or – should I leave it alone? My family is shattered and all the children are angry with each other, me or him. He has succeeded in decimating the core family group. This breaks my heart. Annie

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

You can’t know for sure what the actual risk to your grandchildren is, but in light of the abuse that seems to have occurred in the past (which includes actual physical incest of your own children!) we would have to conclude that the risk that your grandchildren will be similarly touched/violated/raped is very high indeed. The amount of damage that such sexual abuse can cause is substantial, as well. Under the circumstances, I would say it is imperative that you voice your concerns out loud in an explicit and clear manner to all of your children so that they can know to keep their children safe. Because it is your word against his (in the absence of testimony from your incested children themselves), you will need to make the nature of your evidence clear. This communication has to be about protecting your grandchildren and not about getting back at your husband or it will likely backfire.

You weren’t aware enough to have protected your own children from this husband of yours all those years ago. Some of the fury that is directed your way is likely a consequence of this failure on your part. Fallout from this anger may discourage your children from acting on what you have to say. You can head some of this potential resistance off by acknowledging your failure straight up, and asking for some kind of forgiveness. People are not perfect and we fail sometimes, but we can also grow, become more aware and stop making mistakes that we used to make. If you can manage to communicate your own growth of awareness and that you are aware of and apologetic for your past failures, that may go a little towards reducing the anger you face.

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists

  • Claire

    Yes, perhaps you can tell your children that you don't want to make the same mistake again (along with your apology.) Make sure they know how very sorry you are.

  • dawn

    PLEASE PLEASE dont hesitate to do something NOW......get that book with the markings.......if possible.........even if your daughter doesnt appreciate your 'coming against her dad" (I agree the rage is against you cause you didnt stop him before) She may fight you but she will break sooner or later and thank you for saving her children..........and her nieces or nephews.........but even if she doesnt......make sure the kids know not to EVER let someone touch them inappropriately.........make sure they KNOW they can trust you. This will prevent them having the same rage as your daughter does. Get your son in law involved.....u may think this is bad and may ruin your daughters marriage and she may accuse you of this...but as a father he has a RIGHT to know his daughers are in possible danger. He may be more understanding of the marriage probs if he understands and he may be able to get thru to her. DONT HESITATE, DO SOMETHING NOW

  • Anonymous-1

    As PARENTS it is our DUTY to PROTECT our CHILDREN, even if it is towrds the other parent, our commitment is to the lives we bring into this world. As a mother myself I find this to be the most important thing in life. You should be addressing this not pushing it under the rug for GOD sake. Your daughter in the long run will love and respect you more. She probably is mad at the fact that this is something she had to live with her whole life without any protection from anyone and thats why you need to speak loud and do not be afraid YOU ARE HER PROTECTER. Stop being timid this is not the time or subject for that. Be strong and don't give in to this preditor. Your family will respect you for it.

  • Anonymous-2

    ok now u need to tell ur daught tht it wasnt her fault n tht ur sorry make sure she knows tht ur sorry n ask questions about y didn she tell u

  • isabelle


    I have been struggling with the same feelings...all happened this year..when I finally opened my eyes. It is so dificult to bring the truth out without any proof, I recommend that you take the time to gather evidence before you even say a word to anyone about it. I can give you my research and you yours, lets connect ( and help eachother.


  • Austin mom

    Have you proceeded and what choice did you ultimately make?

    The book that contained your daughter's name and initials could have been a workbook. The doctor could have been working with him to explore fantasies which he most certainly had if he exalted his love for your daughter above the others.

    If she's felt safe enough to have her children in his presence, and she hasn't admitted to abuse, it's possible that she narrowly escaped. She may feel blessed to have avoided the abuse but she may exhibit rage because it is her effort to protect the misguided love and trust she felt toward him her entire adolescence only to learn that ultimately he's a monster and has destroyed the family.

    Unfortunately she is content to isolate herself and children from your life, so I wouldn't suggest that you make this assertion that he could be abusing the grandchildren public.

    I feel that as a grandparent you have the right and responsibility to stress the utmost importance that the children understand to never keep secrets from an adult asking them to do sexual things, or touch them, or make them uncomfortable. Watch them closely and protect them - work to salvage the family.

  • Jonathan

    Direct your family to try this if you wanna get over this pain and trauma i would suggest you do a Google search and look for videos entitled "tapping" and "EFT" these are tried tested and true methods of getting past permanently these traumas i hope you are doing much better and if you can direct your older children and grown children this you may be able to have them deal with there angry and emotional issues, at least maybe then they can come out and state what needs to be said and in the light of the possible new information you can use that information to keep him away from the grandchildren, next to nothing its pretty good and it works, i have used EFT and i know people who have and countless people over a 20 year span, can't argue with results, i hope you take my advice and check it out, simple video seach for EFT, Doctors DO in fact use this and there are countless recommondations.

  • Anonymous-3

    You should not be judged for the past, you didn't know & couldn't protect them. I agree that protecting your grandchildren is of utmost importance now, even it drives a further wedge between you and your daughter. Talk to your son-in-law. Write a letter to your daughter & let her know the guilt & fear you have. Maybe it'll help maybe not. If your worry is a great as you say, make a report to Child Protective Services. They don't need proof, just suspicion (which is often a problem for those being unfairly targeted) & they will investigate. Just that you have proof that he has been treated for sex addiction will get them on the case. If you actually have in your possession any of the materials you describe, all the better. They will surely pick up on your daughter's rage. Hopefully, they can get her family into some therapy before it's too late! Good Luck! Don't beat yourself up over the past anymore - look to making the future better.

  • Anonymous-4

    I am writing to find out who I can contact to have pubic hair analyzed. I found a different colored pubic hair in my husband's underwear (with semen stains) and quickly obtained another of his to confirm. They are two different colors (one more red tint, one black). I checked the underwear of someone else renting in my home and found a pair with a pubic hair. That hair appears to match the hair I found in husband's underwear. Is there a way I can be sure what I found in his underwear is a definite match with the one I found in her underwear (the renter) before I approach him?


Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 Who Answers? 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.


Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand