Sobriety Navigator: Chronicles of Adult Children of Sex Addicts.
One evening she was sitting in her rocker in the living room watching TV and her six foot, four inch tall step dad came up to her and started nudging her rocking chair and needling her about the fact that he knew she had told. At that instant she had a moment of clarity; her mother was not going to protect her. Her mother was “in on it” in some way and momma was going to protect her man, the object of her lust. What momma wanted, momma got. This 6 year old little girl was on her own. She knew at that moment her mother cared nothing for her she was of no value to her.
The shame, contempt and disgust grew in this child. By the time she was 9 years old, she said to herself, “I will never be like my mother, and I will never love or trust anyone, male or female.”
She was true to her word. Instead, she began to self-medicate with alcohol and isolated herself for the majority of her teenage and young adult years. She kept a vigilant wall around herself and trusted no one. When her mother would get in her face and rage, “You don’t want to be like me,” she never responded. She just looked at her. Only after she joined A.A. did she became aware that situational depression was why she drank. Then things completely changed for her. And it was all good. She learned to become a greatful recovering alcoholic. It was the self-medicating with alcohol that helped her overcome her childhood thoughts of suicide.
After going into therapy for depression at the age of 26 with three years of continuous sobriety, she began to explore and confront the abuse she endured as a child. She was the daughter of a woman so obsessed with sex that she was totally disconnected from the reality of her degrading and incomprehensibly demoralizing behaviors. She brought unbearable and overwhelming shame, disgust, rage and contempt to both herself and her children. When confronted with her sex addiction and the destructive and consequences to her children, she simply replied, “I didn’t think about it.” To this day she still doesn’t. Why? She doesn’t care. This mother is in her seventies now and still has a preoccupation with sex and “power over”. They don’t outgrow their sexual addiction.
By the time she was old enough and strong enough to confront her perpetrator, he had died, apparently from cancer, alone and isolated!
It is her belief that since this man was not her biological father and was in fact, a stranger, that kept her mentally, emotionally and spiritually strong. They couldn’t break her down and make her like them.
This mother’s sex addiction also affected her now grown sons. All have battled substance abuse. Their shame and disgust for her eventually came out sideways as outbursts of rage, fueled by the combination of shame and fear of family disclosure.
Take, for example, when step dad number 2 came along. He was a functioning alcoholic, sex addict and serial adulterer. But hey, her kids thought things were looking up since at least he would work and they didn’t have to support this one with their child support! And, his sexual addiction preference was for other consenting adults, married women in particular. He was neither attracted to, nor needed to feel sexual power over children. The only problem was that his consenting partners often had children the same age as his new step kids. When the daughter of one of his girlfriends asked his new step son, “Why is your step dad always at my house,” this created a whole new set of challenges to deal with. How do you defend the indefensible? He said he didn’t know and just walked away. This step dad eventually ran off with the neighbor’s wife, but not before stealing and destroying what little stability they had.
By the time step dad number 3 came along, all the kids were chronologically grown and didn’t pay much attention to this one. He did like to hit on the daughter from time to time, and he and momma would sexually harass and shame her since she worked and isolated most the time. They really wanted to know why she didn’t go out and get herself a little sex. Of course, momma would make jabs at her about being a big baby and so moral. She didn’t realize until she went into treatment that it was her intrinsic moral fiber that had steadied her and kept her intact. She thought it was just self-preservation, because being sexual meant physical violence. She didn’t know if she was a big baby or not, since she had become so hypersensitive from these trauma bonds she was easily triggered into shame attacks and tears. All she knew was that she didn’t feel good and when she wasn’t working, she was drinking.