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

Question:

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 She has been withdrawn, shut down, and almost cold.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

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Answer:

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.

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