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Question
Posted by: Inshok | 2011-07-10

Sexual deviancy in family, need advice

I recently discovered that when my son was 15 he was seduced by my brother's wife. My son has probably harboured guilt for many years at the thought of having betrayed his beloved uncle. What my son doesn't know is that the ''beloved uncle'' was the manipulator who talked his wife into it, so that he could watch.

I now have to approach my son with this knowledge and help him to deal with it. I have not yet spoken to my son about this because I want to do things properly and I need to be very careful how I go about it because not only do I want him to know that he has no guilt to feel, but he will soon learn that his uncle is actually a very sick man who has been a sexual deviant for many years and should be locked up.

What I need from you is some advice on how to proceed and approach my son about all this or some guidance towards someone I can speak to. I cannot afford expensive and lengthy therapy for myself, I just need advice for now as I am shocked and concerned for my son.

Thank you.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Most probably, your brother's wife was guilty of a crime - the presumption would be that she as an adult probably did most of the seducing, and as an adult was primarily responsible for the decisions involved. And so, probably, was the "beloved uncle".
I am wondering how it came about that you "recently discovered" this, and presumably not from your son, or there would be no question of how to "approach your son with this knowledge".
There are of course no rules about how tom deal with such, fortunately, uncommon situations, other than to be frank, calm, and prepared to listen. Yes, the boy / young man needs to know that he need not feel guilty, and that the guilty parties are not what they may have seemed, and deserve punishment. Often a dilemma arises in that even if the perverted adults were to be charged, any court case would require the victim to testify and this could be highly unpleasant for him, though sensible courts can find ways to make this less ugly. If the accused hires a horrible lawyer, though, they could be cruel in cross-examination.
The uncle is indeed deviant, but not necessarily "sick". Of course you are shocked and concerned. It may be possible to obtain free or nearly free counselling / psychotherapy through your neaest medical school / university or college psychology department, and the complexities of the case though unpleasant for you both, may make it more attractive and interesting for therapists in training ( under supervision ) who could get usefully involved in helping.
You mention that your son was 15 at the time, but don't mention his current age. Presumably he is now an adult. He was young enough at the time to make the role of the "adults" criminal, but not to be held criminally responsible himself ( of course, you'd need a legal opinion on this, and again there should be a free law clinic at your nearest university Law School ).

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: anna | 2011-07-11

At first look, my opinion is that you should tell him the one piec eof information that affects him directly - that your brother may have been the instigator in the incident between you sister-in-law and son.

All the other information regarding your brother is very second and third hand with no-one to corroborate (except him), and if it isn''''t completely true, you will have done several family members terrible harm. A very important question here is whether you sister-in-law is a reliable info source. Her behaviour has also been odd. I would go very slowly and be careful not to repeat untruths.

Reply to anna
Posted by: Inshok | 2011-07-10

@ Maria:

oh my word, I have just understood what you say about y reply/new post ... I will have to direct him here, I can''t retype all that again! Thanks.

Reply to Inshok
Posted by: Inshok | 2011-07-10

Patricia: you make some valid points but I don''t believe that further deceit is the way to deal with this. Bear in mind, my son probably harbours guilt for having betrayed his uncle by having sex with his wife, whereas he was actually set up by that very uncle.

Also, I believe that it was NOT an unpleasant experience at all - at 15 sex is exciting and he was probably thrilled and flatterred. And for years he has had this ''secret'', the (false) feeling of having betrayed his uncle.

My son and I have a healthy and close relationship, sex is not a closed subject so I don''t think he will freak out at the fact of discussing it with me, from a sexual point of view. I am confident that he will be relieved, in fact, to get this out.

As I said, I have known for a long time that there was something bothering him, that he probably wanted to discuss with me.

I will wait for the cybershrink''s further comment on this, he is, after all, the professional.

Reply to Inshok
Posted by: Patricia | 2011-07-10

It sounds as though your mother was the one who started this by having an intimate relationship with your brother. As a consequence, your borther must have felt guilty about it and turned into a pervert himself, who knows maybe out of revenge? Or because it feels " normal"  to him?

I think you should leave things the way they are. It''s been many years since your son had that unpleasant experience and talking about it after all these years will not help. It may even increase his feelings of guilt and disgust if he knows you KNOW about it too. I think we humans have a tendency not to want our parents to know details about our sex life.

If he thinks you know nothing about the whole thing, AND if he likes his oncle and still talks to him, the next time he mentions his oncle, just tell him his oncle is a bad person. Tell him about other stories you know, not his own and not from other people in your family. Say his oncle had this and that behaviour with " some young girl" . Once your son is warned about this behaviour, he will have the freedom to conclude maybe his oncle was involved in his own situation too. He will probably start hating his oncle, but he will feel safe that at least you don''t know about it. Now if you tell him everything you know, he might get hurt and ashamed and he might avoid seeing you from now on. Maybe he even left to another continent to start a whole new life without his past? Have you thought about it?

Please never mention the oncle again unless your son talks about him a good way.

Reply to Patricia
Posted by: Maria | 2011-07-10

The CyberShrink will only see your reply if you put it in a new post.

Presumably your son has processed what happened to him in some way. Do you think that telling him about this additional dimension of the issue will be beneficial in any way?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Amazed | 2011-07-10

Wow, I am amazed. One reads about these things in fictional stories, but.... Personally, I would just keep quiet about the whole affair. Let sleeping dogs lie. So often when we are tempted to " let it all out"  it causes more trouble than before.As they say in Texas, you don''t want to open a can of a whole lot of whiparse ! Your son is old enough to sort out his own problems on his own and in his own way.

Reply to Amazed
Posted by: Inshok | 2011-07-10

Thank you for your comments.

Sorry, I didn''t give all details, it''s all rather complicated!

To answer your questions: My son is now 33.
I found out recently when my sister in law confessed to me whilst telling me that she and my brother are soon to divorce (after 30 yrs marriage). Part of her confession seems to be also an attempt to turning me against my brother because she also revealed several incidents of inappropriate sexual behaviour on his part, over many years, most of which she was made aware of at each time but which she chose to disbelieve. The ''victims'' range from a young relative (female) to adult women (colleagues/maseuses/clients etc) who made complaints against him. I do not have all the details but I suspect he lost at least 1 job as a result. He seems to prey on vulnerable people. At one stage in his career he and his wife ran ''life coaching'' workshops - talk about the blind leading the blind, not to mention all those vulnerable people at their disposal.

I have always felt uncomfortable around him (too many sexual jokes, double entendres, etc.) but I just told myself I was being too harsh - he comes across as very charming, suave, amusing, etc etc.. A lot of what I am learning now makes many things from over the years ''make sense.

As if this isn''t enough, he has also confessed to his wife that he and our mother had a sexual relationship. She is no longer around to dispute or confirm this but that, too, fits in with behaviour and perceptions from my youth (I am the eldest by 5 yrs). I have not shared any of this sordid horror my sister (that''s going to be another issue altogether, I don''t even know if it''s necessary) but she would concur with my ''it all makes sense now'' sentiment. (We 2 girls were always unfavourably compared to mommy''s boy - classic syndrome, we just didn''t dream of the extent of it).

Things are not helped by the fact that I am in SA, brother and his family are in another continent, and my son is on yet a 3rd continent, although I will see him in a few months.

To sum up, I believe my brother really is a danger to society but that his wife has enabled his behaviour over the years. She has a strange relationship with her son (22) - can''t give specific, it''s just a feeling, and she has told him too much.

So, my way forward is on various levels - dealing with my son, possibly forcing my brother and wife to seek help, protecting their young daughter, possibly alerting their authorities in the event of future official complaints, etc.

I don''t think my son would want the legal route at all, and I am fine with that but I just want any emotional aspect to be dealt with - I have always felt there was something bugging him, now I know what it is. I just hope this is all there is to it.

(I am certain that my sisterin law does not know everything my brother has been up to - I am glad they are so far away).

As you can imagine, I am dazed at all this ... I long ago learnt to forgive my mother for her verbal abuse and the damage it caused me, and, like all people with this sort of ''thing'' in their lives, I never dreamt we were such a damaged sordid family.

I look forward to your further comments and advice.

Reply to Inshok
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011-07-10

Most probably, your brother's wife was guilty of a crime - the presumption would be that she as an adult probably did most of the seducing, and as an adult was primarily responsible for the decisions involved. And so, probably, was the "beloved uncle".
I am wondering how it came about that you "recently discovered" this, and presumably not from your son, or there would be no question of how to "approach your son with this knowledge".
There are of course no rules about how tom deal with such, fortunately, uncommon situations, other than to be frank, calm, and prepared to listen. Yes, the boy / young man needs to know that he need not feel guilty, and that the guilty parties are not what they may have seemed, and deserve punishment. Often a dilemma arises in that even if the perverted adults were to be charged, any court case would require the victim to testify and this could be highly unpleasant for him, though sensible courts can find ways to make this less ugly. If the accused hires a horrible lawyer, though, they could be cruel in cross-examination.
The uncle is indeed deviant, but not necessarily "sick". Of course you are shocked and concerned. It may be possible to obtain free or nearly free counselling / psychotherapy through your neaest medical school / university or college psychology department, and the complexities of the case though unpleasant for you both, may make it more attractive and interesting for therapists in training ( under supervision ) who could get usefully involved in helping.
You mention that your son was 15 at the time, but don't mention his current age. Presumably he is now an adult. He was young enough at the time to make the role of the "adults" criminal, but not to be held criminally responsible himself ( of course, you'd need a legal opinion on this, and again there should be a free law clinic at your nearest university Law School ).

Reply to cybershrink

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