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TEEN ISSUES-----parents are not perfect

CC613 Posted - 10 January 2003 8:06

I really need some help- last I overheard a conversation between my parents- I was in the other room- they didn't realize that I could hear them. From what I heard- my mother somehow found out that my father has been having some sort of close relationship via e-mail, and the telephone, with another woman- for 10 years!

And he was hiding it from my mother- it made me so confused, and mad- and I know this was so wrong, and I'll never do it again- but I went on my father's screename 2 nights later, to his e-mail personal filing cabinet -I wanted to tell myself that maybe it wasn’t true, maybe I heard wrong, maybe it wasn’t as big of a deal as I made it, and I opened up an e-mail, that he sent to her- (this woman)- it hurts me to write about- but its true- he wrote things he doesn’t like about my mother, he spoke about very inappropriate things- I closed the email right away I couldn’t look anymore

I cant believe that its the same father I know who wrote those things- but I know it is- there’s no way to prove otherwise- I know I should somehow judge him favorably but I cant- but no-one knows that in know this- and I have to pretend everything is normal- but I don’t know how to put on this act anymore!

How can I ever treat him with respect? How can I pretend things are normal when im screaming inside! he's such a hypocrite! How do I act normal again? I need some advice. .anyone know what to do. . ?

MODERATOR Posted - 10 January 2003 10:04

He’s not a hypocrite. He’s a struggling human.

I am a father, and I was (and still am) a son. AND I know that its hard, in many ways, to accept your parents as regular people.

I find myself telling the same thing to parents - when they find out their children do XYZ wrong, they tell me they cant believe its their child, and they tend to freak out. Every kid knows that parents aren’t objective with their own children (or, at least, its much harder) and they get very emotionally involved when dealing with bad things the child does, and it becomes a mess.

I tell parents that if they want to know how to react to their children's sins, make believe that it was someone else's child who did it - your best friend's child, for example - and then decide how you would react.

Its the same thing here. Children are too emotionally involved with their parents to be objective.

So I'm giving you the same advice I would if you were the father telling me he found his son doing this: Make believe it wasn’t your father but someone else. You would say that everyone has a Yetzer Horah and that even though what he did was wrong, he’s still whoever he is, and he’s a struggling human like everyone else in the world, and we have to give him chizuk so that he can be strong to fight the Yetzer horah in the future.

If the shoe were on the other foot - if this were your friend who did this, and his father was freaking out - what would you tell the father?

You’d say "Your son is a human being, even though he is your son. This doesn’t change anything. We all have a Yetzer horah and its hard for you to look at your own son that way but its true."

Now tell that to yourself, as well.

I am telling you this as a rabbi, an adult, a father, and a son: Judging l'kaf zechus is not the point here - it's not judging at all. This has nothing to do with you. You can't put yourself in your fathers shoes. All people - adults included - go through struggles and they fall.

It's unfortunate when a son finds this out about his father, but because you accidentally did, you must try at least to be objective about it. Adults have a Yetzer Horah too - and this particular Yetzer is very strong - even (and maybe more so) in adults. "Seven times the Tzadik falls then he rises" - your father fell? Okay - he has 6 more times to go. He can still be a Tzadik.

I know its hard, as a child, to internalize this. And that’s why parents who are doctors do not operate on their own children, and things like that - its so hard to be objective here. But please try.

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