My world is crumbling and I don't know what to do
I feel numb, empty.
Today I found out that my grandfather molested my mother and aunt when they were 13. Until today I would have said he was a good man. He is a little overbearing, and talks down to just about everyone but not a horrible person by most standards. We are close, the whole family is. We do weekly dinners at my husband and I's house. My mom has never seemed to get along with Grandpa, she was always butting heads with him but never seemed afraid of him, never seemed to hate him. That all changed when they got into a huge fight today. She was telling my sisters and I about it, she told us the truth.
To explain a little more, I knew my mother was raped. I knew it was a man much older than her, that she trusted. I knew that it happened to her and my Aunt, so always assumed it was a distant family member. Never in a million years would I have guessed it was her father. It gets worse, she told her mother, my grandmother, what happened and she didn't do a damn thing. She didn't even look at her while she explained what he had done. She called her a liar and told her that she was trying to destroy their family. She did exactly what a mother shouldn't do in that situation. So now not only am I struggling with the news of who my grandfather truly is but also my grandmother.
I guess I'm here because I don't know what to do with this information. How do I move forward in my life? Where do I go from here? I was raped when I was 15, and I cannot imagine living with the boy who destroyed me. Yet my mother lived with them for another 6 years. Allowed us, her 3 daughters to live around them, be around them. I just don't know what to do. I feel like she has left me with only 2 options: Pretend not to know, or never speak to him again. At this moment, Neither seems possible in my brain. The idea of being around him gives me the same debilitating fear that seeing my rapists does. Never seeing him again makes me want to cry.
My parents have been preparing to move to another state for months. 2000 miles away. This already was a hard time before the events of today. The plan was that my sister and I would be here to help my grandparents now that my Mom and Dad wouldn't be just down the road anymore. How am I supposed to go help mow the grass, or take grandma to the grocery store, or for her walks now? How am I supposed to continue when I'm left here to take care of them.
I spoke with my best friend about it and she is going to help me get into a therapist, but that doesn't seem soon enough. I could really use some words of wisdom RIGHT NOW. Any advice or kind words would be appreciated. Sorry if this is hard to read, I feel like I am thinking in very clipped thoughts today and it seems I've typed that way as well.
Give yourself however long you need to get your head around this. What a shock! I can understand why you would need to speak about this now.
I think it would be very difficult for you to pretend this didn’t happen especially since you can relate to it with your own experience. You would be suppressing your feelings and that isn’t healthy for you. It wouldn’t make it easy to see your grandparents either, even if you wanted to.
You don’t have to see them or help them if you don’t want to. No one would blame you and no one should push you into it.
With your grandma I can only think your grandma might of been scared of your grandpa and unable to give your mum and aunt the help they would have needed. Who knows until that conversation is had.
This it is a loss at the same time because you grandpa isn’t the person you thought. He is finally going to pay for what he did now that his grandkids know.
Your parents are moving 2000 miles away, do they expect you to help your grandparents now? How does your sister feel about helping them?
Counselling is a god idea and your best friend
What a disheartening shock!
Time is needed here to process this news and your mother’s reveal. Extended family members are often thrown into turmoil after finding out such information. There’s much to sort out.
I would encourage you to concentrate on comforting and supporting your mother and aunt right now.
There is nothing else you really need to “ do.
The family can hire caretakers and errand runners.
Family counseling is needed, of course.
I wouldn’t say my parents are expecting us to help take care of them now but they were. And even with this information being revealed, I still feel like I’m supposed to. I should explain, we have been raised to always put the family first, always be there for each other. It’s very ingrained in who I am. Which just makes this harder to process.
Hi 091110SREDCH: I'm very sorry for all this trauma you and your family members have experienced. Since I have never experienced such loss, it will be difficult for me to offer advise or kind words, but I will try.
Let's review the options you have and the possible consequences from these options. First, you can ignore what happened ("pretend not to know") to yourself and your mother and aunt while interacting with your grandparents like it never happened. Perhaps it is unfair of me to assess your character and courage to do that, but I will suggest that is impossible for anyone. If you try to internalize these events without counseling, it will be psychologically devastating.
Another option you mentioned is to totally ignore you grandparents ("never speak to them again") but as you recognized, this will devastate you emotionally.
What we haven't addressed are the legal ramifications of these crimes, and they are crimes. I am assuming all these abuses were statutory rape. There is no statue of limitations for statutory rape in most states. What would happen if you pressed charges against both your abuser and your grandfather? I'm going to let you determine that consequence.
Finally, have you considered forgiveness? Let's consider those consequences. Forgiveness would require you never bringing this up again to your grandfather or anyone else. You are personally releasing both your rapist and your grandfather from any further consequences for there actions. Although you will never forget, you will interact with them as if nothing ever happened. This will free you to "move on with your life", not as if nothing ever happened, but with acceptance and forgiveness, and freedom from fear and anger. It can be liberating. I believe this is something that will require help from family, friends, counselors, and prayer, but if may be worth the effort. While saying this may be an option worth serious consideration, never allow yourself to be in any compromising situations even and maybe especially, with your grandfather. Always have control and be in control. Let us know what you decide to do.