How are you inbred?
My mother was the daughter of my father. Impossible though might sound, she was not raped. From what she’s told me and what I saw myself, their relationship was loving and healthy, or as healthy as it could have been I guess.
What happened to your grandmother in this situation? Did your mom and dad just walk out on her?
My dad and my grandma divorced long before anything started between him and my mom. She was out of the house. She got pretty hefty alimony checks and never had any real interest in being a mother beyond tying my dad down, so she was fine with that.
Who did you think your father was before finding out?
I thought he was just my father. I didn’t know my mother was his daughter. They never really talked about how they met, and I didn’t ask many questions. At one point I realized he was older than her (though he’s only fifteen years older, actually) and they clarified their ages, and what ages they were when they met. But I didn’t find out the full story until college.
What age did they start?
She was twenty-four and he was thirty-nine.
How did you react when they told you?
That was a long, long, LONG afternoon. It was dark by the time that I left.
At first, I didn’t believe it. Thought they were messing with me, that it was some weird, bad joke. But in another moment, a bunch of stuff began falling into place. Mysteries from my childhood that I didn’t even recognize as mysteries, were suddenly solved.
I kind of had a panic attack. They tried to comfort me but I wouldn’t let them. Went up to my room for a while and wouldn’t answer the door. Came back down after about fifteen minutes and demanded they tell me everything. So they did.
I kept asking questions. Directed them all at my mom and at one point asked if my Dad could leave. He understood and left without protest. After a long conversation, I just needed some air, and I left to go stay with a friend for a few days. Which turned into more than a month.
Eventually though, I did come back, and we made peace.
How do you feel about your father/grandfather and what he did?
Ultimately, I would say that I don’t hold it against him at this point. What is done, is done.
There was a long period where I didn’t talk to him, like about two months. Not even because I didn’t want to see him or because I was angry, but just because I was so thrown and did not even know what to say or feel. My mom had several discussions with me, lasting hours, where she explained and affirmed again and again that he didn’t “do” anything, that it took two to tango, that their romance was mutual.
I mean, she was a grown woman when it started, so that’s not impossible, and she would know better than me. She’s had a lifetime to reflect on it and now close to a year without my Dad. If she ever tells me that she’s reconsidered what happened and that it wasn’t totally consensual, that would be one thing. But until such a time comes, if it ever does, I don’t think I can, in good conscience, just assume this to be the case. Not when it contradicts everything that I’ve been told and seen over the course of my life.
I’m not a father but I can’t even begin to imagine being attracted to a girl that I brought into this world and raised since her infancy. I can’t imagine falling in love with her as a partner. So in that sense, I don’t get him. But he never mistreated her. He wasn’t controlling. While they had problems, they were standard couple problems and they were basically very happy.
That’s a really thought out answer. I still think though there was a power imbalance even if she was an adult. Desiring parental approval is innate, and like you said I can’t imagine it’s normal to sexually desire your kid.
Understandable, and I know what you mean. This is all stuff that I said to her when she tried to persuade me, and she had answers for all of it, had details that like…made it better, I suppose, than it could have been, but it was still weird.
Like, she never really desired my Dad’s “approval.” If anything she was more of a wild child who would act out. (Not out of any desire to make a point, she just wanted to have fun.) And he did probably spoil her and/or let her get away with too much, but when the time came, she was still the one who made the first move. From what I understand, he was “a little reluctant at first” but not exactly pushing her away.
When they sat me down to talk about this together, I came away from it thinking. “So basically you were just two rich, lazy, codependent losers who didn’t have other friends.” and I said as much to them, to their faces. They just kind of looked at each other, mutually laughed, and said that I was right.
So that was about the size of it. They couldn’t manage to get dates with other people, so they decided to lean on each other, telling themselves it was fine because it was just temporary. Yeah, it didn’t wind up being temporary.
How do you rationalize that he is both your dad and grandad. Genetically he is both to you. You and your mom are half siblings.
I’ve had five years to get used to it. I was NOT well-adjusted when I first learned the truth.
As for the double-relationships I have with them, I just try not to think about it. Not only because it’s messed up, but because it’s plain and simple confusing. I know them as my parents, so that’s what they are, regardless of whether they are also technically my sister and grandpa. Just, way too confusing, don’t need that in my life.
Was your mother raised by her father, or in a separate household?
She was raised by him. In fact, given what an absent parent my grandmother was, (she really only wanted my Dad’s money, apparently) my Dad was basically the only one raising her. He had some help from his parents but they basically left the kids to do the rearing on their own.
So yeah, she grew up calling him “Dad” and that is definitely the part of all this that has always felt the most dicey to me. It would be one thing if they met as adults and didn’t know they were related at first, as I know that can happen. But no, they were a family, and they ultimately chose to do that anyway.
How would you describe the relationship between your parents when you were growing up?
It seemed pretty standard to me. They were indeed affectionate with each other, I would see them cuddling and such. At one point, I must have been about five, I walked into the hallway and saw them basically making out, and like the kid I was, I giggled and went “Eeeeww” which led to them pulling apart and laughing too.
Oh sure, there were fights. About basic stuff, mostly. Disagreements over whether I deserved grounding or just a warning when I misbehaved, bickering about that one chore that both of them would always forget. (For my dad it was dishes, he would always leave them in the sink. For my mom it was laundry, she would leave hers everywhere.) But I can’t think of one time that they yelled at each other, at least not with me around. They were very calm and easygoing.
I did see the love between them. I’d see them dance together in the living room, and they’d go out some nights when I had a babysitter and when I was old enough not to need one. And I know they still had sex because (again, when I was little) I remember going to the bathroom in the middle of the night once, and hearing ah, sounds, coming from their room.
Do you have any siblings?
No siblings, I was an only child. Relatively normal childhood, one of privilege. (Financially we’re quite comfortable and always have been, so it’s nice to not have to worry about that.) I was never mistreated, but I also didn’t see much of any extended family. When I learned the truth, I noticed that was the case and I realized why.
Was it kept a secret from the rest of your family?
I found out later that our extended family did not know who my father was. They just figured my mother got pregnant from a one-night stand and that my father was helping support her and the baby. That was the official story to anyone who knew they were related.
I was kept away from extended family growing up, and now I know why. There aren’t too many of them left, though. My mom had no siblings, her mother lives out of the country now, and though my Dad had a brother, they didn’t get along very well.
My uncle does not know. My grandmother might – according to my mom, there were times where it seemed like she suspected what was going on and just didn’t say anything. (It began well after she and my Dad had divorced) But if so, my grandma hasn’t mentioned anything to me about it.
Do you have any notable birth defects?
I had a cleft lip when I was born, that they had removed with an operation when I was about four. According to my Dad, the way the nurses looked at him made him worry that they knew (or suspected) why I had it. But they never did any DNA tests. I mean, it can happen to people who aren’t inbred as well. But apart from that, nothing else was ever discovered.
I’ve always been pretty healthy as far as I can tell. I do have asthma, but I don’t know if that’s related at all. Apparently my great grandfather had it too, so it could just be hereditary.
How does that affect your day to day life?
These days? It doesn’t, I suppose, beyond giving me a somewhat colored perspective on incest. I wouldn’t say I approve of it, exactly, but it did lead to my own existence and the one major example I know of was an entirely positive and happy one. So I guess I don’t judge, because I don’t really have any right to, the way I see it.
The last five years (since I found out) are when it really affected me, so basically my twenties thus-far. I went through a lot of introspection and self-reflection and questioning who my parents were as people. But for the most part, they were still the same people I’d always known, and had good relationships with. It was just hard to reconcile that with what I had learned about them, about our family, and about myself. I guess I do have some identity issues.
How has this effected your relationships? Would you tell a boyfriend/girlfriend/SO?
I would never tell anyone, because they might not understand, and it’s not just my secret to share. I mean, I feel as though I have every right to tell whoever I want, since this is my origin, but that wouldn’t bode well for my mom, and I don’t want to do that to her – even if I did want people to know which I basically don’t. Maybe, in twenty years time, if I’m married and my mom has passed, then I’ll open up about it.
As to how this has affected my relationships, difficult to tell. I’ve only had one serious relationship since finding out, one that fell through the cracks thanks to Covid. As far as I know, my outlook on relationships wasn’t really affected beyond the general impact it had on my self image, and the fear of other people finding out.
Do you still live with them both?
As of present day, I don’t live with them anymore. I live in another state, slowly working on my Masters degree. I do talk to my Mom regularly, though. We have a phone call at least once a week.
Do you not speak to your father anymore?
My father sadly passed away last year. He and my mother were still together right up to the end.
Do you think you’ll gain a different perspective if you end up having a daughter of your own?
I’m not in that place. I’m still pretty young. I’m closer to the age my mother was when she began the relationship, not my father.
Is it possible that, if and when I have a kid, that it will change how I feel about what happened? Maybe. But to be completely fair, I couldn’t have an accurate understanding of my dad’s place in life and in the relationship until my child was an adult in their twenties.
But honestly, I don’t expect myself to ask the question “Is my child a sexually attractive being” …pretty much ever, but not at that point either. I mostly just intend to move on with my life. It happened, and neither of them regret it, so there’s not much sense in my regretting it.