Learning to handle guilt and cope with it is not easy. It is even
harder when one knows the victim, still cares about him. There might
be ways to gain access to your child again, and to try to gain the
child's trust again, but there are no 100% certainties here: people do
not work that way. You also might not like what I'm going to say to
you, because some truths hurt.
Your first step in regaining any trust with the other parent or with
the child, is to be true to your rehabilitation process. Your chosen
username is "Forever Punished". It focuses on your - perhaps
legitimate - question, whether you'll be forever punished for your
sins. And although choosing a username could be pretty randomal - you
could have named yourself 12345-ga, it shows us something.
However, there is more than one side to this story. "Forever Punished"
may sound, as if the victim in the story is you. Here, you have to
admit: the main victim is the abused child; a secondary victim is the
other parent, having to deal with a traumatised child; and the other
child. You don't really think that the other child is not traumatised
by the affair and the suffering of his sibling? You might be also a
victim, we are all complex personalities who have been hurt, but you
are first and foremost, at the eyes of those people and at the eyes of
the people handling your case, an offender.
Once you will have reached the realisation that you are not a victim,
you should take some steps to demonstrate it. One of the steps, in
stopping being selfish and seeing yourself as the victim, is to
assess, honestly, what good would the child have of meeting you. Would
it benefit from it, or would he or she be traumatised again? Don't
answer with clichees, "the child needs his father/mother". Children
need stability, trust and safety, which you might not be able to
provide. You have to consider, as painful as it is, if demanding to
meet your child is really the best for the child, or is it only for
you: perhaps so you could feel that some of the guilt is lifted - the
other child, after all, has forgiven you and agreed to meet you? Could
it forgive on behalf of their sibling?
I know that what I've written in the last paragraph might be very
offending. However, you must think hard about these points and also
discuss this possibility with your therapist and support group (I hope
that you attend both): do you want to meet the child because it is in
his best interest, or is it because it would make *you* feel better
with your guilt?
These are also the questions that would be asked by the authorities,
if you'll address them with your demand, so you should be prepared.
Having a therapist, who helps you understand the consequences of
whatever decision you make, is very important, because parctically,
you'll need as many supporting opinions if you decide to go further
and demand to see your child. If you decide to go further, you'll need
professionals who'd testify that you're in rehabilitation. You should
also consider - if you haven't done so - going to "parents training",
courses for parents who have abused their children - or are at risk of
You will also need legal assitance. A professional legal aid will be
able to represent your case. It is possible that the case will never
reach court, but a lawyer, or someone quite verse with your legal
options (which may vary according to your specific case and
jurisdiction) is necessary.
Your legal representative should request an evaluation of the child -
an evaluation that would demonstrate, hopefully for you :
- that meeting you would be in his/her best interest;
- that meeting you would not be traumatising for the child
- that the fact that the "child who has not been offended" (in your
opinion, or should we say, the child who has been less offeneded)
meets you will nto further traumatise the child who has been abused.
You should understand that at least some of these things are quite
costly. While it is possible that you might be able to get some legal
aid for free (search for your geographical area and the term "pro bobo
legal aid"; and read
); but evaluations cost money.
In addition, this might not be easy, given the other parent's
resistance. He or she might influence the child into objecting any
suggestion to meet with you; and it is quite logical that s/he will
also bring their own psychologists; and will try to prevent each and
If you will find an evaluation claiming that the child will benefit
from visitation, you're halfway there. Your legal representative may
then request supervised visits. You shouldn't expect, at least not
until you will have proven yourself, that you'll get some time alone
with the child.
When you get access to the child, regaining their trust back will not
be easy. The harder way might be the way to do it - to explain that
you've wronged the family, especially the sibling, but you've been
through rehabilitation, having understood that you've wrong. Exact
details of the process might depend on the child's age, his or her
personality, and exposure to the family trauma. It could be that
talking would be best, but a young child might regain trust through
playful activities. In any case, the process should be accompanied by
psychological support: even if you don't think so, your "unoffended"
child has been also affected, and needs support to overcome their
anger and mistrust.
I hope this answers your question. Please contact me if you need any
clarification on this answer before you rate it.