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monkeymayor

parents are cousins

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Hi

My parents are cousins.

i have struggled with this for as long as i have known about it - about 25 years.. i am 39.

i wanted to know how other people have felt. i have been unable to talk about it and i think it has been a contributing factor for many reasons in me lacking commitment in many different ways in life. i feel a sense of shame, but very recently, and hence me now looking online an starting to come to terms with it, and understand my parents must have really loved each other to go through what would have been a social taboo and its actually helped me see my parents as more human

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Ok Monkeymayor, let's look at a few aspects of your life:

1. Physically, do you have any major deformaties? Everyone has minor deformaties, but I'm talking about major ones, like more or less fingers/toes than normal etc. I suspect not, so 1 tick for your parents.

2. What was your childhood like? Was it a) as normal as any other average kid, or B) terrible, and your parents abused you. A tick for a), a cross for B)

3. Your parents have been married/together for at least 40 years. Divorce rates in the USA are estimated to be about 43% within the first 15 years, so that's another tick for your parents.

So, what more could you want from parents? I think you should be proud of them.

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monkey, i have this urge to give a knee-jerk response, but i won't. i read your post yesterday, and decided i'd better say nothing. i'm glad i did, because now that i've slept on it, i think i can maybe say something constructive.

this really isn't your fault. your parents kept this big huge secret from you til you were a teenager, and then somehow, you found out. maybe they told you, maybe you just stumbled upon the information. but this is exactly why i tell couples who ask "when is the right time to tell our child" that they need to be telling them from the time their child can comprehend english!

secrets, by their very nature, convey shame. if your parents had brought you up in the knowledge that they were cousins, you would not have felt all the shame that you have felt for the last 25 years. if we could turn the clock back, i would tell your parents to start introducing you to the concept with beatrix potter's 'the tale of the flopsy bunnies'.... did you know in that cute little kid's book, that benjamin bunny married his cousin, flopsy? and they had a whole brood of baby bunnies. then as you got older, i'd have suggested they talk about it openly with you. they could have told you that some people think it's wrong or illegal, but that they just don't know what the laws or what the bible says about it. i'd have told them as you got even older to encourage you to read (or watch the movie versions) of movies like mansfield park, and other classics, that feature cousin romances.

but its too late now. your parents did you a disservice by not telling you sooner, but don't lay a bunch of blame on them. they did what they thought was right. they were trying to protect you. they had no way of knowing how it would backfire. your only recourse now is to take responsibility for your perceptions and attitudes, and educate yourself. i think as you let yourself understand the truth, the facts, and maybe if you will also explore classic literature and discover for yourself how natural and common it used to be considered, it will help chase away some of those feelings of shame. i do hope so, anyway.

and one more thing.... maybe you could sit down with your parents over dinner some night and say "hey... i'm still struggling with these feelings, and i'd like to talk to you about them now." even if you already know the facts, and they know the facts, just discussing it will help bring healing.

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Hi

Firstly, thank you all for your considered replies. I was fearful i would receive reactions to my post rather than responses.

TearsOfHappiness > Absolutely. Thank you for re-affirming my current state of mind, which i admit has taken me someway to get to.

Scorpion Queen > i can answer positively to all of your questions. My parents are still together after 46 years, and i have been shown nothing but love.

LadyC >  Thank you. Your response has helped and enlightened me. I think my parents keeping a secret from me has led me to feel a sense of shame. A shame that i has led me to lie and rewrite my history to friends and partners -which ultimately has left me feeling insecure and very uncertain about myself. Taking responsibility for my perceptions and attitudes around this now makes perfect sense to me, so thank you. I really don't blame them for the way they handled it, its sad to me that i have interpreted their relationship as shame. My journey with this is only just beginning, and of course it has to start somewhere - so i apologise for my, perhaps ignorant post, that led you to initially want to give a knee jerk reaction.  I am thankful you didn't as your constructive response has helped me. I hope to one day be able to talk with them about it - i am not there yet with that, but i hope to get there. I am immensely proud of my parents for the love and support they have given me throughout my life, and the values they have instilled in me, through this journey i am starting to feel proud of them in a very different way, and in a way that is making me feel a love and attachment to them that i have never felt before.  I am sad that i haven't been able to do this earlier, but it has taken me a while to get here.

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i'm glad i didn't react immediately too! it wouldn't have served any real purpose... i'm glad that my response was helpful to you :)

sounds like you have really awesome parents, even if they didn't do everything right. LOL, what parents get it right 100% of the time, anyway? i'm glad that you recognize the values they've instilled, an the love and support they've given, not just you, but each other. that takes a lot of commitment, and courage, and patience, and well, a great deal of work. i'm not sure which is more difficult... navigating life with a husband (or wife), or raising a child into a responsible adult. to be able to do both simultaneously is almost as big a miracle as raising a child without the help of a partner.

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