As the fallout explodes in our nation with suicides, divorces and broken families in the wake of the massive exposure of men signed up on a web site that facilitates adultery, I’ve often wondered would my dad have been a client if he were alive today?
My dad’s philandering was often dismissed by jokes that he just lived a colorful life of a “rolling stone.” But underneath the veneer of lighthearted revelry and joking about his multiple women, I was stung by the shame, rejection and unworthiness. I was ashamed that he was the object of family jokes. I felt rejected because every new woman in his life meant he had no time or interest in me. I felt unworthy of his attention and care.
The shame, rejection and unworthiness grew into a deep hatred towards him. I hated the story of how he tricked my mom into believing that the box of pictures under the bed of a woman and her children was his sister. My mom discovered later that the woman was a wife that he abandoned in the Philippines.
I hated the disdain, the scorn and mockery of his life that stained mine. During those years of growing up in the shadow of his affairs, there was no one to talk to. I had no one to talk to about the pain of rejection or the shame of being associated by name only to an adulterous man.
When I read the news stories about the men exposed by Ashley Madison, I immediately thought of the child who has no one to talk to, no one to explain to them that their father’s indiscretion isn’t their fault.
If I could have been the adult in my life when I was a little girl overhearing whispered jeers about how my dad couldn’t keep his “you know what” in his pants, I would tell her:
* I see your hurt and your pain. This is not a joke to me.
* Your father loves you but has a problem that he needs to get help for.
* This is not your fault. You didn’t do anything to cause your father to wander.
* I accept you. You have a lot of people who love you and accept you. I care for you.
While Christians are saying that this is God’s judgment, don’t forget the children who can’t speak up for themselves or don’t know how to express their pain and frustration. Let’s pray for God to heal our families and our marriages.
Let’s pray that we have the heart of God towards the children, their struggling father and the family. Don’t gossip about the parent or family struggling with marital infidelity. Pray for them instead. Pray that God heals and restores them.
If your family is suffering from the throes of marital infidelity, please message me. I want to stand with you in prayer.
Leilani Haywood is the editor of SpiritLed Woman. She is an award-winning writer and frequent contributor to Charisma. Follow her on Twitter @leilanihaywood.