Step father video taping step daughter
I am so "stuck" in what happened to me/my family/my daughter 5 years ago. My oldest child, Nicole, now 24 years old, is not my ex-husband's child. I had her before Jim and I moved in together. Nicole was 4 years old when Jim and I started living together. Jim and I had two children, married a year after our second child was born and had (what I truly believed to be) a happy marriage and life. We were together for 15 years. I found out on 04/04/2004 that Jim had been secretly videotaping Nicole via a webcam sitting on top of the computer in her bedroom. She would go to take a shower and come back to her room to get dressed. That is what he videotaped - Nicole dressing and undressing in her bedroom. We never really determined for certain, but we believe he had been doing this for years, ie. since Nicole was about 11 or 12 years old. Which completely sickens me. I could show you photographs of my child at 11 and 12 years old and she was NOT a woman or anything near that. She hadn't started developing at all at that age. when I look at pictures of her at 11 or 12 she just looks like a child, seriously.
Anyway, the FBI was investigating Jim's business and began looking at the computer in his office, that is when the videos of Nicole were found. also found on his computer were thousands, yes thousands, of other pictures of child pornography. I was told by the FBI about the child pornography pictures first, not about Nicole, I don't think they had found it yet, and I just did not believe it. Jim told me that he had bought some computer thing at Best Buy that downloaded all these porn sites nightly and he didn't know there were pictures of child pornography on his computer. He thought it was just pornography. I believed him. I actually defended him to a child welfare person who came to my house. (My children were never removed from my home.)
Then on 04/04/2004 I was told about the pictures of Nicole. I was just blindsided and devastated. I got the kids together within the hour and left. Our family died that day, Jim is in jail now and Nicole was stunned and very upset - her father is a strong presence in her life (thank God) but still she spent years with Jim as her step father, thought of him as a father figure and the father of her brother and sister. She - like me - trusted him completely.
My question - I can't seem to get over this. A part of me loves Jim, which makes me sick. But I promised God and him and myself that I would be with him for better or worse, in sickness and in health, etc. I am having a hard time internally that I haven't lived up to my promise. Don't get me wrong, I don't want him back and would never, ever get back together with him. My children come first, before him, before me, before everyone.
Nicole is doing well. :) My other two children have had a harder time getting past this than Nicole has (or she's good at hiding it). Jake and Holly are teenagers who have to deal with a father in federal prison, his total sentence was 20 years, for money laundering and conspiracy, he got 5 years (concurrent) for video taping Nicole and possessing child pornography. They visit him in jail about every 6 months or so and he calls them on a weekly basis.
That's another part of this hurt,
he has a lot of money and when I left him we went from having everything we ever wanted to just barely getting by. We are doing better now, but honestly just moderate. I was able to get my bachelors degree in psychology with the help of a Pell grant, thank you God. So my earning ability increased and we do okay, but certainly nothing like we used to live. And he still lives that way. He is able to make calls from his federal prison weekly, give the children large, expensive birthday and Christmas presents, but pays no child support. he is smart, has hidden his assets well. :(
Sometimes I want to punch him. Sometimes I still love him, we had good times together as a family, I thought we had a good family. Nicole hates it that I even allow Jake and Holly to see him. But how can I not? I grew up without a father, I would never press that upon my children. And they love him, he is their father. Of course, I am frightened that if he ever gets out that he will come after me. He blamed me for this whole thing. Said it was all my fault that he wasn't allowed to see his children after he was charged and before he went to jail. Crazy.
I don't trust myself or my impressions of other people. How on earth could I have been so, so wrong about someone?
Help... I feel so depressed most of the time. I contemplate suicide, but would never do that. I have two children still at home to take care of so that is not an option. I really just want to run away.
Have seen my physician, am taking Lexapro (20 mg daily).Ben's Answer:
One of the most damaging effects of an experience like this is that it causes you to not trust yourself, your perceptions, or your instincts about people.
But usually, if you deal with all of your feelings, get it all out in therapy, you find that after the raw emotion is cleared away, you begin to see things more clearly again. Our intuition is always at work - and it is never wrong. But it is easy to ignore it, second guess it, question it, doubt it. Emotions can easily take over and we can "listen to the heart" - believing that our emotions are the best guide, while we might actually be ignoring that small inner voice or gut feeling that is telling us something is out of place.
Many predators are extremely slick and can be charming and very likeable. "Fine upstanding citizens," religious leaders, mayors and other highly esteemed figures. There is nothing wrong with you for getting fooled by such a person. And just because he did such perverted and hurtful things doesn't mean there were no good times between you. If he was doing these things out in the open for all to see, I'm sure you never would have stayed with him for all that time.
But the guilt about leaving him and breaking your vows? You didn't break anything. You rescued yourself and your kids. And this guy has the nerve to hide his assets after what he's done to his family?? And blame you? Outrageous! These are the signs of a true sociopath. If he had any conscience he'd be begging for your forgiveness.
I highly suggest you see a therapist weekly, if you're not already. An antidepressant alone is not going to make all this disappear. And I've found nothing better than EFT to resolve trauma, and let go of the past. You need to forgive yourself.