Dear Auntie Linda, my 29 year-old daughter, Steffie, fled to my home late one Friday evening battered and beaten. She had been fighting with her husband Rob after their 7-year-old son stumbled onto pictures of his father having sex with transgender man who was a friend of theirs. We called the police. Rob spent three nights in jail while Steffie showed me and my husband, Mike(Steffie’s stepfather) many pornographic pictures and messages she’d found. She intended to leave him, but bailed him out so he could get back to work with intentions of filing order of protection.
Once he was out, he convinced Steffie to reconcile. My husband and I were horrified at her waffling and taking her six and seven year olds back into this mess. No doubt He convinced Steffie she couldn’t make it on her own. Mike and I were very upset and encouraged Steffie to take the children and get out. She refused, saying they’d just built a house and gotten the kids in a good school district. The result is, Steffie is furious at Mike and me. We are now troublemakers interfering in her marriage and made up the whole thing. We weren’t allowed to see the children for weeks, since we’d “turn them against their parents and lie to them.” Recently, they have started allowing the kids to get off the bus here again, since babysitting became a huge issue, but Steffie won’t come in, except to threaten us if she heard we’d told the children any of our lies. We are being held hostage.
The sad fact of the matter is, Steffie is following in my footsteps. I stayed married to her father for years, even though he drank, cheated, beat us, and never supported us. He was addicted to porn. I would have never had the courage to leave him, knowing he might have killed me. The final humiliation was when he walked out on me before I had a masectomy for breast cancer because he didn’t want “no hacked up, titless old bitch.”
We ended up moving in with my sister and went on welfare while I went back to school and got enough skills to get a job.
I feel awful knowing Steffie is following in my footsteps. I traveled the path before she did. She throws that in my face now, saying I am no better than she is.
I feel responsible for mess of Steffie’s life and know just how scared she is to get out. I am worried about Steffie and the children. How can I help her? Been There
Dear Been There, This is a sad, but not uncommon situation. sounds like a real mess at Steffie’s house. Even though Steffie saw you in the same situation, she is an adult now and responsible for her own life. Neither of you can change the past. It’s good you’re able to be with the children. I know you will be alert to any signs or talk of abuse. The children definitely need a safe place. Steffie may get enough and need your help before too long and be desperate enough to accept your help. Right now, all you can do is be there for the little ones. Don’t fail report any signs of abuse. Auntie Linda