I'm the father of a 30 year old son who was sexually abused as a child by a neighbor. We first discovered this when he was 17, but he wouldn't discuss it with us. Later, after he was married, he returned from deployment to Iraq with PTSD which compounded the emotional damage. Then an addiction to porn nearly ruined his marriage...twice. After the last incident, he went into serious counseling over a year ago which was the last time I saw him.
We haven't been allowed to see our granddaughters, our daughter in law or him in over a year...we have a very close family. Communications by phone have been sporadic, an mostly difficult.
Yesterday I received an email from him that described some of the events of the abuse, a timeline of nearly 7 years. He said that I was not available to him emotionally or physically as a child, that we were negligent parents, that we acted as if nothing had happened and that we would not have a relationship until I acknowledged that I had a problem with porn.
The problem is that I don't have a problem with porn...we were a very nurturing family...the timeline that he describes as the abuse happening simply couldn't have happened, we were over protective as parents and the abuse happened in spite of everything we did.
I wrote back and told him that I didn't have a problem with porn...that I had looked at it but not for a very long time and I couldn't remember the last time...that we knew that his abuse had happened and had not acted like it happened, he was the one who wouldn't talk about it...that we knew his memories were real to him, and we hoped he would understand if our memories were different...described our memory of his childhood.
Our daughter in law has communicated that our response was the wrong response and we had only traumatized him further...we were supposed to take the opportunity to ask him to forgive us for being negligent, for letting him be abused, acknowledge that I have a problem with porn as well as my father and my brothers.
We are pretty devastated, and horrified to think that our response may have only made things worse for him. We are not in denial...we have begged him to talk to us any time and any place, we've asked to participate in his counseling, we've apologized for everything we can think of. Can we only help him by telling him we're responsible for memories that could not have happened? Is that part of the healing process...is this some form of validation?
We need some guidance!