When something disconcerting, hurtful or wrong occurs in your relationship, there are usually are three options that arise.
1. Acknowledge event, but don’t address it 2. Acknowledge and address the event 3. Pretend it didn’t happen and act like you are fine when you aren’t
The healthiest choice would be number two, acknowledge and address the event. However, it is the manner in which you do this that can ultimately affect the outcome.
Generally, when we’re hurt our emotions take over and our response could vary from anger to being withdrawn. When acknowledging something painful and addressing it with the person that has hurt you can be difficult at best. The key is to address the event itself and not attack the person.
If necessary, wait to address the person and event until you have time to process all of the emotions and circumstances. Sometimes things aren’t always as they seem.
Once you’re in a place to have the necessary conversation, it’s helpful to be in a neutral space, plan for enough time and privacy.
Try and place yourself in the other person’s shoes as you discuss how you feel and why. It’s important to think about how you would want somebody to address you, if you were the one that created the hurt. This is not to minimize the event, but to have beneficial, helpful communication so that the event or behavior is not repeated.
Options number one and three, acknowledgment without addressing and pretending the hurt didn’t happen, only ultimately hurts you.
Healthy relationships thrive on open, constant, mature communication. No partner is perfect, there are bound to be misunderstandings and hurts. The key is that both partners are willing.
I was gifted a “23andme” kit last Christmas. It sat on my desk for months because I was truly afraid of what it might turn up. Let me explain why…
My ‘sperm donor’ father (never was my dad) abandoned me at two years old. It was in my 17-year-old wisdom that I finally decided to meet this man. From this point forward my father will be referred to as SD (sperm donor).
My mother was mortified because she know what and who he was. She never bad-mouthed the man who never paid her child support or helped her in any way raise me. My mom made my upbringing look easy for her, but I now know how she struggled alone to make ends meet.
I was a scared, insecure teenager who was meeting her father for the first time. SD promptly and proudly informed me that I had three half siblings. In order as follows:
1. One half-brother, Daniel (seven years older) from a previous marriage that ended in divorce
2. Two half-sisters; from the same mother; marriage also ended in divorce
a. Anne, 13 years younger than me, and
b. Sue, 15 years younger
So, in a matter of a half hour I had gained three half siblings I never knew existed.
It was overwhelming at best. SD excitingly explained with his heavy Italian accent all about his immigrating to America from Italy in the late 50s and how he had to learn to speak English before he could get his green card.
During the first year of knowing SD, I also met my three half-siblings. My two half-sisters were so young that I felt more like their aunt.
SD and I had infrequent interactions over the years with long periods of no communication at all. After several very disturbing interactions with him and by now having children of my own, I knew I did not want SD around me, my babies, or my family, period.
What I learned from these disturbing interactions is what my mother did not share with me. SD was an alcoholic, a compulsive liar and a complete textbook narcissist.
I severed the relationship with SD at age twenty-seven. At 40, I received a distressing confession letter from a forwarded email. The confession was from SD to Daniel, Anne, Sue and me informing us we had another half-sister, Tammy. SD had not previously acknowledged Tammy’s existence. So she hired a private investigator to hunt him down along with all of her half-siblings. Now there were five of us, four baby mamas and three marriages.
Back to recent events and 23andMe. After spitting into the DNA collection tube I felt almost ill from trepidation. But, curiosity got the best of me and into the mail it went. As soon as the kit left my possession a feeling of dread overcame me. When the results arrived I didn’t open the email for two weeks.
My gut was screaming that I was going to have another half-brother or sister or two, who knew. Well, I was right. I now have another half-sister, Linda. SD did not acknowledge her existence either and her mother put her up for adoption.
So the now the “Jerry Springer” tally goes like this:
1. Half-brother Daniel (Born 1957)
2. Then myself (Born 1964)
3. Half-sister Tammy (Born 1966)
4. Half-sister Linda – (Born 1970)
5. Two half-sisters from the same mother
Half-sister – Anne (Born 1977)
Half-sister – Sue (Born 1979)
The total now is six children with SD genes, four baby Mamas and three marriages that we know of.
Ancestry is still out there waiting for me to spit. Should I or do stay with the current “Jerry Springer” family tree I have accumulated thus far? The jury is still out…