Son discovered nasty texts on father's phone


#1

I am so beside myself that I can hardly stand it. My 17 year old son was playing angry birds on his Dad’s iPhone three days ago when an instant message popped up. We don’t have secrets as a rule and he just opened it as he often reads texts to his dad and I. It was a response to a filthy conversation that my husband was carrying on with some woman on Yahoo messenger. The conversation was graphic and disgusting. My son took the phone, jumped on his bike and met me at the top of our street. It was 8am and I had been at the dentist, he had texted me repeatedly and called to tell me to prepare for a shock. He showed me the pictures he had taken of the texts before the account signed out.
Now I am sick to my stomach and I have no idea where my marriage is going, we have been married 29 years, very happily, so this is an enormous shock, and frankly a deal breaker, but right now I am most concerned about my son. He is a very emotional person, completely bottled up, and he says that he cannot live here anymore. He doesn’t want to return to school for his senior year, he cannot concentrate on anything, reading, playing basketball, etc. We are extremely conservative, Latin Mass Catholics, and he attends a private, Catholic school. We are trying to get him some counseling but it is a long wait. He does not want to talk to a priest right now.
My husband is going through a nervous breakdown due to work related stress, and this is honestly very uncharacteristic behavior, which meshes with a number of other mental, not moral, lapses. I do not believe that this is a pattern with him.
Has anyone else been through anything like this where their child became aware of a parent’s sinful behavior, and how do I help him get past it. He thinks I should ask his father to leave, and I will if it would help, but my husband is in a very fragile state himself.
Thank you


#2

What a mess. Have you or your son talked to your husband yet? I am not a fan of these secrets and think you should get the whole thing out in the open as soon as possible. Your husband's response will determine the next steps. And your son has right to hear from his father directly, although he may not want to even talk to him.

I can well imagine either of my sons finding such a thing on their father's phone. They probably would never talk to him again. Your son has had his image of his dad shattered in one moment. A terrible blow to his trust in others. Your husband should have to answer for that. He did so much damage in such a selfish way.

I can't offer any advice but I will add your family to my prayers. I hope your son does go to a priest or someone he can talk to about this.


#3

Time for your son to grow up. His dad is human, his dad is going through something mentally, you said this isn't typical of him. This could be a part of it-- depressives for example start doing some pretty outlandish things in an attempt to feel something, anything, as opposed to the deadness inside.

So, I would sit him down and tell him he has a right to feel whatever he is feeling. Let him know a priest, friend, grandparent or therapist can all be helpful when he needs to talk to someone. Then explain that we do expect God to forgive us as we forgive others. If no one ever wrongs us, we never have the opportunity to forgive. I would have him read and contemplate over the tale of the prodigal son.

Then tell him that while you would never accept this kind of behavior from someone new in your life, you have over 29 years of history with this person and all the positives that entails, all the good things, all the support that man has provided. You did make the promise for better or worse, you've been through some better times, this is some worse times. It's going to cycle.

Has your husband actually been diagnosed with anything specific? I would get some books on whatever the condition is and have your son read them in an attempt to try and understand what his father is going through, vice focusing on his own hurt.

God bless, I will be praying for you all.


#4

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:2, topic:251900"]
What a mess. Have you or your son talked to your husband yet? I am not a fan of these secrets and think you should get the whole thing out in the open as soon as possible. Your husband's response will determine the next steps. And your son has right to hear from his father directly, although he may not want to even talk to him.

I can well imagine either of my sons finding such a thing on their father's phone. They probably would never talk to him again. Your son has had his image of his dad shattered in one moment. A terrible blow to his trust in others. Your husband should have to answer for that. He did so much damage in such a selfish way.

I can't offer any advice but I will add your family to my prayers. I hope your son does go to a priest or someone he can talk to about this.

[/quote]

Thank you, oh my yes, this has all been out in the open, as I said we have never been ones for secrets. We have been discussing it constantly, separately and together, my
husband is on his way now to talk to a priest at another parish. My husband has been very open and forthright with both our older sons at home, we have a 24 year old, as well as a married daughter and a son living overseas. The oldest son would kill his father if he ever finds out, and of course we are trying to keep it from our 12 year old. He is special needs, knows that something is up, but we are focusing on the financial challenges with him,
which will be real enough. You are exactly right about my son's image of his dad. He thought he was a perfect husband, which he was. I don't think he will ever get over this. Prayers are very appreciated.
This appears to simply be a case of mental and physical exhaustion caused by work pressures.


#5

My husband is going through a nervous breakdown due to work related stress, and this is honestly very uncharacteristic behavior, which meshes with a number of other mental, not moral, lapses. I do not believe that this is a pattern with him.

You did not mention that the text messages revealed an out-and-out affair. It looks like it is just a filthy conversation that could ultimately result in an affair. While the talks are lewd and have no business taking place for a married man, it doesn’t reveal anything more serious at this point in time.

What it DOES reveal is a potential addiction to porn that stimulated this type of behavior. EWTN has shown in two series on “Crossing the Goal” how terribly addicting and serious porn is for men. One talk was on last night and may be repeated again, as they often do, or else on their youtube videos. Porn stimulates testosterone in men and gives them a high not unlike drugs. They require more and more of it, increasing in violence and severity, to get that high.

Hopefully, your husband has not progressed that far. If you want to save your marriage, I would insist on counselling and not take “no” for an answer. You need to back up your demand and not let him talk you out of it, as if it is just “nothing.”

The part of your post that I requoted is looking too sympathetic. Many men have work stress that can cause severe anxiety attacks, yet they don’t go out and behave this way. That is no excuse, dear, and I pray you won’t let your heartstrings override your reason.

Your darling son is so disillusioned and really needs some counselling, as well. May you find an appropriate channel to obtain help for the two of you to cope with this. Catholic Charities is available in many diocesan offices, and would be a good place to start.

May God comfort you with His peace and guide you to a good solution!


#6

Ok, here’s the advice from a therapist who advised me in a similar situation.

The bigger deal you make of it, the bigger of a deal it becomes to your son.

I would hope your children, prior to conducting fratricide, would try and have some compassion for your husband-- since this is not typical of him.

Do not let this wipe out 29 years without making a serious attempt on your part to understand and support him, as you’ve vowed to do.


#7

[quote="Eleanor61, post:4, topic:251900"]
Thank you, oh my yes, this has all been out in the open, as I said we have never been ones for secrets. We have been discussing it constantly, separately and together, my
husband is on his way now to talk to a priest at another parish. My husband has been very open and forthright with both our older sons at home, we have a 24 year old, as well as a married daughter and a son living overseas. The oldest son would kill his father if he ever finds out, and of course we are trying to keep it from our 12 year old. He is special needs, knows that something is up, but we are focusing on the financial challenges with him,
which will be real enough. You are exactly right about my son's image of his dad.** He thought he was a perfect husband, which he was. I don't think he will ever get over this. Prayers are very appreciated.**
This appears to simply be a case of mental and physical exhaustion caused by work pressures.

[/quote]

No one is perfect. I'm sure you know that, and your son needs to know that people can fall, and fall deeply, and yet still be good people and repent. This is a big lesson that if he idealizes someone, even his parents, he may be in for a shock if he finds out some nugget of truth.

Oh my gosh, if either of my sons knew about my promiscuous past? I'm sure they would brand me all kinds of names and call me a hypocrite for telling them not to do everything I have done.

Has your son ever done anything he was ashamed of? Time for the compassion talk to come out. He needs more strength and resilience to go to the next level in his growth. That's why it would be good if he would accept help. At this point I might insist upon a few sessions with a family therapist, or a counseling priest.

I like the direction the other posters have taken the recommendations...More toward being matter of fact, compassionate, assertive and not angry, understanding to a point but with firm boundaries about this sort of behavior. Stay strong, dear sister in Christ!

You have a special-needs son? You REALLY have my prayers. I'm sure that is tough on a marriage and both parents. I have a son with ADHD whom I would not term special-needs but he's been a he!! of a challenge to raise. :grouphug: We may have finally crossed the Rubicon with him but it almost destroyed our family getting there.

More prayers for you!


#8

Actually my son, the one who discovered the texts, is angry with me for not being more angry. The murderous son who is mercifully out of the country has Asperger's and sees things in black and white, as unfortunately do I. For my part I am doing as much damage control as I can and am largely out of touch with my feelings, which is usual with Aspergers. I find it interesting that some responders see me as too sympathetic, while others urge even more forbearance. I am truly grateful for all who take the time to offer advice.


#9

I see this as an excellent opportunity to use our faith in action. Assuming he gives a good confession and is forgiven, so does the family forgive. Going forward I would trust and verify for a while. He may need extra help to get healed in practice.

I always hoped Tiger Woods would have said "I screwed up and now I will show the world that I can be an excellent father and husband." Unfortunately Tiger chose to be a bum instead of a man.


#10

Well, something you can point out to your son is- what good does anger do? It makes you hold onto a situation vice moving forward, he can’t help feeling it- but he needs to analyze it. It’s easy to hold a wrong against someone, why is it so much harder to remember all the good and try and reach for understanding? Why is this person doing this now if it’s not typical behavior? God calls us to forgive, because only in forgiving can we let go of the pain and move on into the future. Lack of forgiveness anchors us to the past.

I’m sorry you and your husband are going through a tough time. I hope you and he work together towards a solution. These incidents can bring people closer together just as they can tear them apart. I hope you and your husband will be able to model to your children how marriage lasts through sickness (mental or physical), bad times, poverty just as it does through health, good times, and wealth.

As for your son, he needs to understand that you and your husband’s relationship has been built over 29 years and he has no right to interfere in it. Your husband, you and your children need to respect the boundaries- keep to the husband/wife those things that belong between husband/wife as much as possible. Just as you have no right to interfere in his relationship with his father.

Again, I will include you and yours in my prayers.


#11

i cant give you no advice but i prayed for you and your family and i will offer up a Rosary for y’all God bless


#12

Your family is in my prayers.

My advice is like closing the door after the horse left, but in the future, a few words to the wise-

KEEP SECRETS. I don't tell my old man everything (I didn't when I was a kid, I don't know when I'm 31) and he sure as heck doesn't tell me everything. I cannot, for the life of me imagine asking to use his phone and screwing around with text messages-if I saw something, I wouldn't read it. Probably because of that rule, my father and I have a releationship that many of my friends-and their dads-envy deeply.

I admit in this "tell everyone everything society" I'm old fashioned.

And regardless of what happens, be very careful in the future. A 29 year marriage isn't something to throw away easily. No, I'm not saying your going to, but just be careful.


#13

I am so sorry this has happened to your family. It may be best if children are not looking through things that belong to adults. It is not about secrets it is about boundaries. They are not your friends, they are your children. You need to have a sit down with a family therapist at this point, considering you have already raised one with special needs (which is not your fault but it does take a toll on the family) the time for this is well past due.


#14

I need to correct an assumption. My husband was in the same room as my son when this happened. My son was playing a game on the phone. Text messages pop up on an iPhone, on the screen, he wasn't looking through them until after the conversation popped up. The kids routinely play with his iPhone and my iPad. My husband is so confused and clueless he must not have realized this could happen, but he was completely aware that our son had his phone. In fact he had it because my husband was using my iPad to read the news, or he would have been playing angry birds on that.


#15

[quote="Eleanor61, post:14, topic:251900"]
I need to correct an assumption. My husband was in the same room as my son when this happened. My son was playing a game on the phone. Text messages pop up on an iPhone, on the screen, he wasn't looking through them until after the conversation popped up. The kids routinely play with his iPhone and my iPad. My husband is so confused and clueless he must not have realized this could happen, but he was completely aware that our son had his phone. In fact he had it because my husband was using my iPad to read the news, or he would have been playing angry birds on that.

[/quote]

Ok, well, I'm sorry if I misunderstood-I don't have an Ipad/Iphone. I'm not sure how they work.

I stand by what I said though, otherwise. Keep secrets, don't ask, don't tell. My pops and I usually can't shut up when we see each other (believe me, it's bad! People complain they never get a word in edgewise! :o) but we still know what topics to avoid.

Maybe a future rule would be, "Don't play with each others ipads/ipods/etc?"


#16

[quote="Rascalking, post:15, topic:251900"]

Maybe a future rule would be, "Don't play with each others ipads/ipods/etc?"

[/quote]

Or an even better rule would be, "Don't do or have inappropriate things on iPads, iPods, and iPhones!"

My son also plays Angry Birds on my iPhone, so I can understand how a message would pop up. I've never had anything inappropriate on my phone, though, so I have nothing to worry about!


#17

[quote="Catholic90, post:16, topic:251900"]
Or an even better rule would be, "Don't do or have inappropriate things on iPads, iPods, and iPhones!"

My son also plays Angry Birds on my iPhone, so I can understand how a message would pop up. I've never had anything inappropriate on my phone, though, so I have nothing to worry about!

[/quote]

Which again goes back to the man's mental state. Why would he allow his son to play on the iPhone if he's in the habit of sending/receiving those kinds of things? If he's being secretive/sensitive/furtive? Almost as if he wanted to get caught? I mean, he didn't deny it or try to claim that it must be spam?

Counseling together seems the way to go, why was he reaching out to someone this way, how do you two work together to resolve it, in addition separate counseling therapy for him to diagnose any physical mental condition which may be underlying this; and your kids if and when they need it. Therapist will be able to tell you the signs to look for and avoid 'talking' them into making it a big deal vicing simply guiding their natural ability to cope.


#18

[quote="Eleanor61, post:8, topic:251900"]
Actually my son, the one who discovered the texts, is angry with me for not being more angry. The murderous son who is mercifully out of the country has Asperger's and sees things in black and white, as unfortunately do I. For my part I am doing as much damage control as I can and am largely out of touch with my feelings, which is usual with Aspergers. I find it interesting that some responders see me as too sympathetic, while others urge even more forbearance. I am truly grateful for all who take the time to offer advice.

[/quote]

I can very much understand, when people with Aspergers get angry they can be extremely violent. I know this as someone with Aspergers and from knowing other people with Aspergers. If you get a very religious Aspie angry by immorality they might as well be Torquemada and you a Marrano if you know what I mean.


#19

[quote="Dakota_Roberts, post:18, topic:251900"]
I can very much understand, when people with Aspergers get angry they can be extremely violent. I know this as someone with Aspergers and from knowing other people with Aspergers. If you get a very religious Aspie angry by immorality they might as well be Torquemada and you a Marrano if you know what I mean.

[/quote]

This is very true. This son and I are both Aspies, very similar in many ways, but as a girl I finally learned to stifle my feelings and temper. Aggression is more acceptable in boys, and he was raised in a much more supportive environment than I. He loves his father in his way, but he would view this as an attack on me.
Both my husband and older son independently said that it was a very good thing that he isn't home.
Again thank you all for your advice and prayers. We are implementing some of the suggestions.


#20

[quote="Dakota_Roberts, post:18, topic:251900"]
I can very much understand, when people with Aspergers get angry they can be extremely violent. I know this as someone with Aspergers and from knowing other people with Aspergers. If you get a very religious Aspie angry by immorality they might as well be Torquemada and you a Marrano if you know what I mean.

[/quote]

I don't know if you've shared this information before, but thank you for being open and sharing this most interesting information about Asperger's. I have heard from quite a few parents of Asperger's kids that the very fixed black and white mentality can be very difficult to deal with. My younger son has ADHD and he also has some qualities like this. (pretty sure husband's brother is an Aspie, undiagnosed but very classic profile. He is married and has a son, also shows many of the signs.) He used to tantrum if his routine was disturbed - once he got something fixed in place he didn't like any surprises. It was really difficult to deal with if we needed to do an errand after school, when he was tired and overwhelmed from the school day. I got to the point where I tried to arrange my day so that we could always go home from school, even though many times it was inconvenient. It's just hard to comprehend from a "normie" how rigid the mindset can be and how one thing that seems so small and ordinary to us, can be so absolutely critical and life-shattering to someone on the spectrum. I thought for a while he was just being a brat but he did the same thing as a baby - one time in and out of the car for errands and he would go nuts at the second stop, so I gathered that his mental structure just couldn't handle the sudden changes or whatever.

Thanks again for sharing this with us.


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