Sharing A Terrible Secret
06/20/2012 at 23:59 PM

This is difficult to write about, but I am in need of support. My wife (we have been married one year) was molested by her father when she was between 3 or 4 years old. Either she blocked out the abuse or didn't remember it because she was so young. But, after years of therapy, she has recollected what happened to her and pieced together who the perpetrator is. Apparently, she has had disturbing flashbacks involving her father.

She has been to counseling for about 10 years. What is difficult is that she still has a relationship with her father. While she was growing up, I am told, he was emotionally supportive, particularly during the divorce of her parents. Her mother is narcissitic and emotionally abusive. Having said all of this, my wife has done tremendously well in healing herself and becoming a remarkable woman. But she carries the dark secret of what happened to her. She revealed to her family that she was abused, and even confronted her father about it occuring while under his care. He responded that he had no idea who it could have been and pointed out that he was drunk most of the time during that period of his life.

At first, I hated her father, now I find him pitiful, a broken man, likely broken by the abuse of his own father.

Here are the difficulties I am having. My wife continues to have physical intimacy, self-esteem and sleeping issues caused by the abuse, but I am prepared to help her deal with those. What I am not prepared for, and what I am having real difficulty with, is harboring this lie with her. Example: Her father sent to me a card congratulating me on my new job. When he called my wife and asked if I had received it, he apparently was hurt by my seeming thoughtlessness. The fact that I am worried about the feelings of her abusive father may seem ridiculous, but he is a part of a larger family, of which I am now a part of. Some of the family members I actually like and respect and want to have a good relationship with. It seems like I can't have a healthy relationship with this family, because it is based on a lie. Sometimes, it is really depressing.

Your thoughts are appreciated...