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In my case, when I was going through my demented mother's things prepping for her AL move and the sale of her house, I found out my mother has been the mistress of a married man for over 20 years!!! I am divorced because my ex husband cheated and all those nights of me bending mom's ear and her being so sympathetic, just to find out she was doing the exact same thing! Devastating and what a conflict of emotions!

Feeling such sorrow for my mother because of her diagnosis and such anger and disgust at the same time. Ugh....

Anyone else find out negative stuff about your loved one you were unaware of? Just wondering how common this is. Please share here. Thanks and peace to us all. :)

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Our skeleton was finding out my grandfathrr was bi-racial...1/2 black and 1/2 white. Passed himself as white. We weren't totally shocked because I always wondered about my extremely dry, coarse, wiry and curly hair.
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I have also seen the oposite when an elder is so grateful they will press more money on the helper than the job is worth. Our local grade scholl goes out and rakes leaves in the fall and many people try to pay them.
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Uncover disturbing family secrets/skeletons in the closet ?
To neverland,
The old saying Like mother like daughter or like father like son or another saying is runs in the family saying.
As I stated many times on this forum.Becoming a caregiver requires without choice to learn their darkside or as you call it ( secrets/skeletons in the closet )
I'm a child from the 1970's.The 70's was the best of times I would say.Great movies and great music began in the 70's.Most music today is just remakes from the 70's.From Eagles,Foreigner hot blooded to cold as ice as on the morning school bus hearing Paul Harvey.Those times we will never see/hear again as best of times.Sorry for the flashback lol I loved the 70's!
Anyway,
Dealing with these elderly people today as caregivers is just like a flashback from the 70's.These elderly people still think their in the 70's in thinking and spending money.I have a Aunt that I caregiver for.She lives alone in her own home .I drive 20 miles one way trip,5 days a week to care for her needs.I don't get any reinbursement from my time or gas to help her.And the old 70's era lady doesn't offer a dime to me either.Once in a blue moon she may offer me $5.One gal of gas is darn near $4 a gal.It's sad what us caregivers get our selves into without thinking prior.Dealing with my Aunt I learned she is very hateful as I learned her darkside.Getting passed their darkside and moving on is a job of it's own.
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We all have skelitons in our closets. I know my family does. In our generation I have shared the current ones with our own children even as they have been happening. that way one is there to support and councel the next generation and support them through their own mistakes .Sharing secrets from former generations teaches the next generation and allows every one to see former imperfections and try to avoid repeating previous damaging behaviors. that's my view anyway. Bringing skelitons out into the light allows them to be seen for what they are, past events that can be viewed and then put back in the closet.
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We found a letter written by someone in a lock box over 70 years ago. No signature. But it tells of a young man (We think my father in law) who got in trouble with an underage teenage girl. He was thrown in jail for it. Had to have been in the late 1930's early 40's. The language was coarse for it's day. We'll never know who either person was, now that the last known survivor has dementia. Maybe it's best we don't know anyway.
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Discovering a long held family secret can result in shock. Extreme shock that makes the ground tremble when it comes into personal visibility. It will likely take time for the dust to settle.

I discovered some interesting secrets. I sought short term pastoral counseling to help me get perspective. It helped. What hurts the most? It hurts being deceived ("Do as I say and teach" while some other things go on in the shadows).

I would not call our parents' generation "The Greatest Generation". We overcame racism, sexism and other ugly realities of life in the 1960s-1970s. Keeping up a false front is what I've observed from "The Greatest Generation". Achievers and humanitarians have been far and few between.

Everybody has some secret. But when secretive life choices (like a long term affair while a person is married to somebody else) is difficult to swallow.
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Neverland---at least maybe she understood the pain she caused, or may have caused, the man's wife through your experiences. It's hard to take the truth when you have put someone up on a pedistal. It's like a betrayal even though it had nothing to do with you. You think you know someone...... My mother has shocked me a few times. One of those 'do as I say, not as I do" things. My mother preached abstinence until marriage. After her divorce she was so afraid of being alone that she was bringing man after man home and, well..... And 3 of her 5 children were still living at home. And it didn't seem to bother her. Her fear of being alone over-rided her morals. She needed to find someone to marry her so she wouldn't be alone the rest of her life! The result? She married a man who is very verbally abusive to her. She is depressed but will not leave him. Sorry this is off subject. Just saying that desperate people take desperate measures. I'm sure your mother had her reasons. Doesn't make it right, I know. Maybe you should bring it up and just feel her out on the subject. Don't push it. Maybe she will be willing to talk about it, maybe not. She may feel that you both are at the age where it is ok to disclose this long-kept secret. But she may also react in a hostile way, so be prepared....and good luck!
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To be honest I have a few secrets I'd rather not let out... Dementia will change that...
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Whodathunk----you are your mother's world, pretty-much. The only thing she has to talk about. She is most likely frustrated, and needs to vent about something, even if isn't true. Since you are the main one that is with her, there you are! It may be a stress-reliever for her. I wouldn't take it too personally. My exMIL is one of those people who isn't happy unless she is complaining about people behind their back. That's just how she is. I don't think she can help it. I used to call her on it all the time, but she would just deny it, so I quit. I decided to let her have her fun, even at my expense. Like your brother said--you know how she is. Everyone knows to take what my exMIL says with a gain of salt. They basically just humor her because it does no good to argue or defend. We always hurt the ones we love. Why? Because they are a non-threat, in most cases. She may feel she can do this without retribution.
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My cousin, who is actually my mother's age, did not find out that the man who raised him was not his real father until his mother died. Of course this was a terrible shock and he never did find out who his father was, only that his mother had him when she was 16, and later married the man he thought was DAD. His wife's response was "your mother was a whore".
My aunt was the sweetest, kindest woman you'd ever meet, and never revealed to even her own family who the father was. At 16, was she deceived by an older man, was she raped? Nobody knows, but all of her siblings knew that he'd been adopted and nobody ever told him, at her request. Perhaps she should have told him the truth at some point in his life, but it was sad that he and his wife would judge her for a youthful mistake, and discount a life lived with kindness and love for everyone.
As for Whodathunk, if someone talks to you negatively about other people, you can believe without a doubt that they are doing the same thing about you to others. It is a possibility that your mother has a mental problem. My mother trashes everyone, both behind their back and right to their face. She has been this way all her life. She is a very sick and unhappy woman, with Borderline Personality. Severe lack of self esteem often causes people to tear others down to make themselves look or feel better. Hardest lesson to learn (and I'm still learning) is to not take it personally. It's taken me almost 6 yrs to get to this place, and I feel so bad for you, as we all (me too) want to be loved by our mothers.
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One day as a very young adult............I realized that....... the smartest people in the world are truly not that much smarter than I am. Oh yikes!! I thought they had all the answers! All humans possess the same fears and worries and put their pants on one leg at a time. People will fail us because they are just people. So I have found peace in trusting God. And that has made all the difference.
As my brother was dying 4 years ago, I tearfully said to him, "What will I do without you here? .....You have been my rock from the time we were little kids!" His answer: "You thought I was the rock but I was just leaning on the real Rock. Remove me from the equation and you find He is still there for you."
My brother was right.
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What I find most disturbing is not the folks skeletons that are most likely present because there was a time when so many issues were never discussed because of the shame they would cause if discovered. Most disturbing are the new skeletons that are created by other competent, selfish, narcissistic family members, that are nothing but lies and innuendo in an effort to discredit and harm the unpaid family caregiver, as well as to make themselves look good. Who knows how long down the road these lies about us may surface leaving our own children with questions.
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sorry above post should say dad died at 85
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my dad died at 65 in 1999. they had a friendly relationship since I was in high school, and I even suggested she divorce him them. Several yrs ago she told me he had fooled around since they were married. there were spouse swapping on our suburban block, which really surprised me, but my mom said she never participated. probably true all 4 of us look like family members!!! :) she is 95 now, and obvioously this still bothers her about him. she was relieved when he died and that it was quick and she did not have to go thru the motions of taking care of him. Just look at books and movies, they did not make "Bridges of Madison County"--these books and hollywood movies are based on real life most of the time.
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Ba8alou, even otherwise smart and self-reliant people can fall victim to fast-talking self-promoting lawyers - they probably got temporarily bamboozled by an advertising campaign or something.

When my parents first had (hilariously dreadful) double-glazing installed I assumed it was my mother's doing. Wrongggggg! I found that the person who'd signed the contract was my recently retired and with too much time on his hands Dad, Lord love 'im. I'm sure he thought the salesman seemed a decent enough chap who made a lot of sense...
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Ba8alou, my dad received 100 percent disability from the military for years and years. I never knew why and he was certainly not disabled. He and my mother were all for handouts if they benefitted from it but God forbid they have to pay for someone truly in need. Mom complains to this day about the small amount of property tax she has to pay. She doesn't want to pay taxes but thinks everything should be free in this country. If you look up "entitled" in the dictionary, her picture is there. :/
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In cleaning out my parents' house, I discovered that both of them had sued their employers for disability, my dad for hearing loss (he was an engineer) and my mom for something vague, I think stress. It's the kind of thing that I never, ever would have thought they would have done; staunch "do it on your own", "pay your own way" Republicans and all. Interesting insight into them.
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Well, I litterally found in a closet a vinyl envelope with a bunch of legal papers that indicated my mom considered suing the company whose electric sliding door knocked her over (she fractured a hip), but apparently she was so unsympathetic and unreasonable that the attorney decided to drop it. And I found out that my Dad had a Master's degree. It was shoved into a dusty dirty spot above some cabinets in the garage. He never got his PhD and that became an issue for him teaching at Pitt, which he loved...his special area was the History of Science, but he gave up doing it full time to work in industry at Bettis Westinghouse and eventually gave it up altogether.

My fantasy is I'll find out I have a sibling who was institutionalized and "forgotten about" as the advice would have been in those days...that's the other thing people used to be so ashamed of, mental illness or disability.

I still don't really know how my mom got to be the perfectionistic and negative way she was. I guess it was just a spirit of fear of being found inadequate and need for security that got into her and led her to discourage us from so many things. A little more ammunition would help me go further on my journey to mutual compassion and forgiveness. I doubt I will find out much more of anything from anyone in this lifetime though.
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I think when it comes to secrets the Greatest Generation are the greatest at keeping them, even from family. Remember they lived in a much more judge mental society of the 50's and 60's and before. When no one lived with anyone before marriage and being pregnant out of wedlock was such a disgrace. I know there was a deep secret in my mother's family about the paternity of her sister. Poor sister didn't find out for sure until she was in her sixties. No one would step forward and settle the entire mess for years.

Today fortunately we have progressed to the point that people are not so ashamed of things they often had little or no control over. And a lot of people just don't care who knows what any more. I think it is better in many ways.

So please remember your mother's generation and upbringing when you think about the affair. She is probably more embarrassed and reluctant to discuss this situation than a younger person would be today.
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Was told that I was only as sick as my secrets. If this is the case, my in laws were very sick. There was a plethora of secrets we found out when we cleaned out the house (hoarders). In addition when my hubby's mom died I found out my hubby was adopted. Yes, adopted. Hubby was 45 when he found out. I finally convinced my father in law he had to come clean now and not have Jon find out after he died. Plus, I was not going to keep a secret from my husband. We are still care taking for him and will until the day he dies. My husband is an amazing example of love and forgiveness. Especially since he could not fall back on a fabulously loving childhood. Quite the opposite.
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Thanks to all for replying to this thread and sharing your own experiences. It helps to know others have also uncovered "family secrets".
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Let it go, it is not your burden to judge, love your mom and forgive.
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Thanks norest, I did talk to the brother as he could see I was totally shaken. He assured me, he did not belive what she said. I asked him to defend me and he says it would only cause more conflict. Probably true.Fact is he used to come more often, but I'm sure he doesn't want to hear her complaining, thats why he stays away, as does everyone else.
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Whodathunk..... I am so sorry you overheard trash talking. I would address it with your mother and brother and say if you hear it again he can take her with him. He needs to stand up for you. I'd be livid. All you do for her, shame on her!
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Neverland Wow! What a shock for you. Especially after you were the one who was so distraught over your own husbands cheating. Truths come out..... I hope she had some remorse. If she still understands, I think you have every right to discuss it with her. You have done nothing wrong.
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there is a joke i like to share when the occasion fits "they say insanity is hereditary, we inherit it from our children!" well, so goes many other things such as diseases, inheritances, family curses, and many other problems caused by unresolved issues among family members throughout generations which includes the affects they might have on other family members who might not even exist, which include details of a family members secrets. The most important question needing answered would be the reasons for which the family member acted on and why they chose to keep the secret from those they love and whom it might not matter to but could possibly affect later down the road? sometimes its something too painful to talk about and one shouldnt have to be reminded of it every day. one might have committed adultry or had given birth to a child out of wedlock and didnt want to destroy their family and marriage. however, secrets were never meant to be kept, or they wouldnt be called secrets. one must realize that, one day, their secret will be discovered and will have its many consequences to an unknown extent. it is up to an individual to decide how much they want any family members to hurt and if they want to lose their trust and respect later down the road, it could also come back around and bite you in the butt by someone with unresolved feelings who wants revenge. when it comes down to it we have to ask ourselves WOULD SHARING A PAST SECRET ON OUR OWN FREE WILL HAVE THE SAME HURTFUL CONSEQUENCES AS IT WOULD IF OUR FAMILY'S FOUND THE SECRET OUT BY ACCIDENT ON THEIR OWN? its up to the owner of the secret to decide.,,
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Palmtrees, I am so sorry. I know exactly how you feel. My brother comes here 1 or 2x's a week for an hour or so. I have a servalince camera and can see and hear her when I'm not in the room. She will trash me to him, for the length of their visit. The horrible nasty things she says and the lies, just hurt me to the core. And yes it literally sickens me. Your line about 'trying to discredt her only daughter's character' put it into words for me.
I did not know she was doing this untile a couple weeks ago. I didn't mean to evesdrop. It was an accident. I told my brother and he said 'you know how your Mother is, let it go'. I can't. I used to sit with her to keep her company, I used to run when she called, I used to care. Now I am an empty shell. I do what I have to, like a robot. He's coming today so I can get my taxes done and I was thinking about hiding a tape recorder, but I won't as I don't want to be hurt more.
I'm sorry I'm off topic. Now that you've put it in words for me, maybe I'll ask the community here, what they think. Or maybe you could .
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Ah those skeletons. I sometimes think we've got so many hammering on the closet door that it's best to put a stout padlock on the outside and try to ignore them.

Neverland, I'm sorry that it was a particularly sore spot that got poked with you; but in general - not this time - it amuses me when succeeding generations have allowed themselves to imagine that their elders never had illicit sex, never made foolish decisions or had private passions, were never young, were never infatuated, were never naïve, never did anything they might later regret or be embarrassed by or ashamed of… And, above all, that they treasure no secrets.

My siblings imagine that the only people who ever mattered to my mother are her children, and my late father. Well, now. I don't know who, but somebody gave my mother an extremely nice lipstick and powder compact for her 21st birthday, and to judge by the colour of the lipstick it sure as h*** wasn't a family member, not even allowing for 1940s' fashions. And she didn't meet my dad for another six years. And she's kept this present very safe.

Neverland, people fall in love, and not through choice, and often not wisely but too well. That's what happened to your mother. Logically, why should that mean she didn't care deeply about the hurt you suffered? She had a choice between a little judicious hypocrisy or confessing all. What would you have done in her shoes, if you wanted to comfort your beloved daughter?

I understand your conflict, of course this must have been a jolt for you. But don't judge her. You weren't there.
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My mother was trashing me behind by back for years and years. My brother informed me. I knew she did this to other people but I didn't know she would do it to me. Why? Because she is a miser and was afraid I would find out she was far better off financially than I ever dreamed. So her answer was to paint me as someone who would take her money and "spend it all". That is what she told my brother. Needless to say I am not very close to her now and evidently wasn't in the past as well but just didn't know it. Yes it was a hurtful shock to be knifed in the back by my mother but she has problems and I can't fix those for her. At least your mother's secrets were about her and her secrets to bare. Mom's secret was trying to discredit her only daughter's character. Just sickening.
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Maybe be glad your mother listened to you and gave you some sympathy when your husband cheated, which is more than many mothers talked about on these pages have done for their adult children going through crises. Maybe you also gave her another point of view about her how "mistress" status affected others. Maybe she broke it off becuase of what you said.
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