I finally found out the family secret...and now I wish I never had.
I'm posting anon because the family secret does involve me; however innocent on my part, I'm still having problems coming to terms with it. I haven't talked about it with anyone since I found out, not even my SO. I apologize if the post is long...I just had to tell someone.
So...you'll need a little backstory. Really long story short....my parents divorced when I was 2 and my brother was 3. They both remarried and shared custody 50/50. My mom remarried a really great guy, we loved him so much. Let's call him Steve. He married my mom when I was 4 and my brother was 5. We worshipped that guy, my mom was crazy about him, and we had a really happy life together.
But one day....he just left. Overnight. I was 14 at the time. My brother and I spent a weekend at my dad's, as we often did, but when we went home to my mom's that Sunday night, everything was different. Steve was gone. All of his stuff was gone. We didn't understand. My mom wouldn't tell us anything. All she said was that "He did something really bad, and he had to leave. There was no question. It was for everyone's safety." And that was that. She NEVER said any more about it, and we never saw or spoke to Steve again. We got zero closure. I know it was hard for her though, because I heard her crying at night and she was depressed for a long time after that.
Well, for years and years I have wondered what he could have done. My brother and I speculated to no end. But I never asked. I wanted to keep my memories in tact - I didn't want my happy memories and love for Steve to be tainted by something awful. So for years I didn't say anything. But finally, when visiting my mother last week, it came out. We were talking, and one thing kind of led to another, and she ended up telling me.
Steve developed a "thing" for little girls. He never had the inclination before, never thought of me in any unnatural way, but apparently when I started to hit puberty, he discovered a...perverse attraction to me. I never noticed it. Nobody did, he kept it to himself. Until one day, when my mom found out. Steve had bought me a new clock radio that I hated, but he forced me to throw out the one I liked and keep this one. I didn't understand, I thought it was slightly weird at the time, but I didn't think more of it. How could I? But my mom told me that he was so insistent because that clock radio he bought me had a hidden camera in it. He had been planning to videotape me without my knowledge, in the privacy of my room. When my mom found out, she booted his ass out the door, and rightly so. She did what she should have done and protected me, before anything worse could happen. For that I will be forever grateful. But I am still brokenhearted.
Hearing this news did exactly what I thought it would. It tainted my memories of Steve. It made me wonder about every hug, every kiss he ever gave me. Were they really innocent? Or did he always have a thing for me? I feel dirty somehow. I loved him so much....he was very special to me. My mom took me to therapy after he left to be sure that he didn't actually act on his perversion, and she and the therapist were very confident that I wasn't harmed and wasn't repressing any unwanted activity. So my mom stopped him before anything actually happened.
I am just so upset. I feel like I can't talk about this with anyone. Apparently I was the last to know...my brother knew, my Gramma, my aunts, etc. Everybody but me. My mom always insisted that nobody EVER tell me; she never even planned on telling me herself, no matter if I asked or not. But she did....and although I am forever thankful for my amazing mother, who saved me from what could have been a very damaging experience, I just feel....wrong. Like my love for Steve was wrong all along and I just didn't know it. I feel stupid, I feel used...I just feel so conflicted.
I wish I had never asked....I wish my mom never told me. All these years my curiosity has been driving me crazy, but I wish I had never given into it. I think I was better off not knowing.
Wow...I never expected to get so many replies! Thank you ladies for all the wonderful support. :) And to all of you telling me to be thankful for my mother, you can rest assured that I am - every minute of every day. I have always been SUPER close with my mom, she is my best friend. Even before I found out all of this. I am practically a carbon copy of her; we look alike, sound alike, our personalities are incredibly similar, even our laugh is identical. And I am proud every day to be so much like her. She's an amazing role model.
I will never stop thanking her for saving me like she did. I will forever be grateful to have such a wonderful and strong woman as a mother. I only hope that I can do her justice with my kids. I always tell her that she's a "hard act to follow". :) But I know that if I am even half the mother she is, my kids will be just fine.
This will probably "out" me, if any of you can recognize me from my picture. But oh well...I just wanted to share a picture of my mom and I together. We took this only a few days after she told me the "family secret", when I was on vacation visiting her. This is the image of a strong, loving, selfless mother and her eternally grateful daughter: