Dear Amy: My son's fiancée recently told me that my son was molested from age 9 to 13 by a baby sitter. I'm sure this is the reason my son had so many problems when he was young.
He was a great athlete and did very well in school most of the time, but when he hit puberty he stopped caring about anything. He started drinking and doing drugs. He was still a great kid, but you could tell there was something wrong.
The baby sitter lived at my house for two years because he had been kicked out of his house and had nowhere to go. He was 19 when he moved in.
My son is now 30 years old, and he doesn't know that his fiancée spoke to me about this. Evidently my son thinks I knew this was going on! It breaks my heart every day that he thinks that. I am just lost. The other problem is the molester's mother is one of my best friends now.
I want to confront this man (who is now about 40 years old), but I don't know what to do.
I feel so terrible for my son knowing that he has lived with this for so long. I called the police and was told there's nothing I can do unless my son comes forward.
— Lost mother
Dear Lost: . You must give your son the opportunity to discuss this with you. You and he should see a counselor together, and he should make a choice about what he wants to do moving forward.
You owe him more than the excuse that you didn't realize this was happening. You are his mother, this happened in your home, you knew something was wrong and yet you did not protect him. Face this extreme failure in your own parenting. And apologize.
Your friendship with the molester's mother will likely suffer (or end) with this disclosure. But that's too bad. Your son's needs should come first.
I support the work of Male Survivor (malesurvivor.org), an organization which helps men who have been sexually abused. You and your son can find information, help, healing and contact information for therapists on the site.
Dear Amy: On the question of whether you have to "love" your family, here is a quote from a short story by John Updike: "Families teach us how love exists in a realm above liking and disliking, coexisting with indifference, rivalry, and even antipathy."
Dear George: I appreciate this nuanced description of a unique kind of "love" — one that transcends the need to even "like." Thank you.
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