Secondary Survivors

Living under their shadow

To discover a family member is a paedophile, must be overwhelming, soul destroying to say the least. For the innocent parties of the offender’s family the emotional turmoil can exceed our imagination. Experiencing a sense of shame, anger, guilt by association, loneliness, fear, low self-worth and self-esteem, trust issues, loss, attachment issues, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. In many cases the individuals will have no-one to turn to and without realising they may punish themselves. The whole family can end up shunned and punished for a crime they did not commit. One moment you are looking up to this person who is loving, kind, family orientated, the next they are being arrested, charged and a court case is pending.

As the dust settles the internal court starts: -

Ø Why didn’t I notice something?

Ø Was there something wrong with me?

Ø Was there something wrong with our relationship?

Ø Did any of us know this person?

Ø Was I compliant in any way?

Ø Am I guilty by association?

Relationships in the family may start to breakdown. People may withdraw emotionally, feeling confused and not knowing how to feel or react. How can you express your feelings, emotions or attachment issues and to whom?