My eldest is doing her GCSEs. This is having an effect on the whole family. Hence the title of this post.
Last year, something else happened which had an effect on our whole family. A shock, a devastation and a betrayal.
One day I'll write about it, but it is not my story alone and I cannot tell it without the permission of others.
Inevitably, that deep sense of betrayal has left its mark on us all.
The ways in which each of us has dealt with it however, have been different.
Of my two daughters, one seems to have dismissed it and walked away. But has she really? My other daughter is still angry. She flies into a rage if the subject comes up.
My husband? He is smug because he knew all along; he was never fooled. But – he never allows an opportunity to pass without a negative comment.
Me? I am hurt. I feel guilty because it was all my fault. All my fault for trusting too easily; all my fault for exposing my family to risk. Because I am a bad wife and mother… And so, the old story starts to run its loop around the familiar track.
I am lucky enough to have some good friends, some very good friends, who have told me it's not all my fault; good friends who have told me not to let it change the person I am.
"You are generous and trusting. You are loving and giving," they say. (They are very kind people.) "Those qualities can be only good. Now you will add more wisdom and experience to those qualities. But stay who you are. Because we love who you are."
But still I worry about my family. I worry that they will be less trusting, less generous, less ready to love.
I want us all to speak with a professional. There are people who specialise in family therapy. I have even met a woman who I think would be ideal.
My husband is reluctant. He just wants to "move on." He sees therapy as something for only the weak. As an Englishman with a stiff upper lip, he does not need it; and he'd infinitely prefer his daughters not need it either.
The easy thing to do is to do nothing; to move on as he suggests. But to do nothing may not be the right thing to do.
I think I need to take a stance, to enrol my daughters in the process and to discuss it further with my husband. I think I need to be strong and persuasive. I think I need to insist.
I would be interested to hear from any of you who have experienced therapy as a family and what the outcomes were.
You should detail positives, negatives and your conclusions. You should consider the circumstances and the techniques used. There are 12 marks available and I will be marking these next week.
A Moodscope member.