Problem Adult Children

My daughters are 38 and 39 and have had a friendly and loving relationship with their stepfather since they were 8 and 9 years old respectively. All hell has broken loose since we had a huge argument with the eldest child, who wanted to live with us for a couple of weeks. Two weeks turned into nearly 3 months with no respect for tidyness or cleanliness. Our complaints resulted in her offending us and calling us evil. My husband gave her a letter saying she had one month to find other accommodations.

She went to her sister's house (around the corner) and after much discussion, discovered that they had both been propositioned and touched once each by their stepfather when they were 13 and 14. They wanted me to leave my husband (their stepfather), refuse to ever speak to him or see him again and don't want to see me or let me have anything to do with either of them or my grandchildren who are 1 and 3 years old.

My husband was an active alcoholic until 1989 when he went to rehab. In the last 20 years, he has turned his life around. He is now a kind and loving person. We have a loving relationship. He adores my daughters and his grandchildren. He has gone back to school, got a degree in psychology, and works actively with drug and alcohol clients in his work as a counselor and has changed completely.

My daughters have gone from lovely people to very angry and non-communicative. Their father died in 1990 in a car accident. What should I do about this situation?

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Oct 04, 2009
Skeletons in the Closet
by: Laura Ramirez

You are in a delicate situation that requires the skillful hand of a seasoned therapist to sort out and work through. Although your husband has struggled through his own darkness and now counsels others, neither one of you seems to see the importance of allowing your adult children to do the same. This is called denial. The fact that you report that they had a good relationship with their step father as young children, despite the fact that he molested them in their teens, further proves this out.

Child molestation whether it happened once or repeatedly can leave scars into adulthood (read my article on child incest). It seems that your sympathies are entirely with your husband who has overcome his problems with alcohol and turned his life around. Although he has put his past behind him, this does not mean that past wrongs for which he has not made himself accountable cannot come back to haunt him. He simply hasn't earned that right.

You have a choice to make. Either you are willing to go through this process with your adult children (who it was your duty to protect when they were younger and vulnerable to this man's abuse)or you are going to lose your family. Either way, this could tear apart your family and rip apart what your husband has worked so hard to build.

I suggest that you get a therapist (if you need one, I can recommend one.) Your husband is not qualified to counsel anyone in this case.)

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