Dear Amy: I am 38 years old. I was raped by my father when I was 18. I reported this with the help of a cousin and my aunt.
Instead of having a trial, he pled guilty, probably either to get a lighter sentence or due to the DNA evidence. He served a couple of years. My mother said that it was my fault.
Fast-forward to eight years ago, when I tried to involve him in my life, due to me having children. I wanted them to know their grandfather, but I always had to quash the anger inside of me, to keep the peace. It kept building and building until one day I just snapped. I went onto Facebook, and told the world that he was a rapist. Because I did that, everyone on that side of my family has cut ties with me. One of my aunts even told me that I seduced him.
On top of that, I don’t speak to anyone on my mom’s side, either. I sometimes feel that I am being ungrateful because my parents are alive, when so many don’t have theirs. But at the same time I feel like I am right to feel as I do, because of the things that they have done to me.
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Do you think I need to just swallow my emotions for my children’s sake? I don’t want to punish them by not allowing them to know their grandparents. Please help.
Feeling Alone in the World
Dear Feeling Alone: You should not swallow your feelings or your anger. You have the right to your anger, and you should try to work through it so your righteous rage doesn’t rule your life.
I completely agree with your choice to cut your rapist and other disrespectful and unsupportive family members out of your life.
You deserved so much better than what you got, but your strength in surviving your rape, reporting it and functioning through it is something to celebrate.
You are my hero and you will continue to be a hero to your children if you envelop them in love and provide an honest, safe and secure environment in which to grow.
You will grant your children the healthy childhood they deserve to have, which is so different from the one you got. Cutting contact with your parents is not denying your children, but protecting them.
The best gift to them is that they should see a resilient and beautiful survivor when they look at you.
Many people who have survived challenging, dysfunctional or criminal families build healthy families by surrounding themselves with supportive friends who can provide love and encouragement.
Please get help to continue to heal from your own tragic past. The National Sexual Assault Hotline has an online chat feature; reach out to a counselor today through their website: rainn.org or by calling (800) 656-HOPE (4673).
Dear Amy: A lifelong friend has written and self-published a book about a friendship that began in the ’60s and has endured until now.
It is obviously based on our friendship.
Of the four main characters, one is deceased and two others are outraged that the writer (while hiding behind fiction) has managed to trash what should have been a funny and sweet story with lewd sex and hurtful portrayals of life events we all shared.
I understand poetic license, but there are some very mean-spirited descriptions of everyone (but the author).
Should I let her know how I feel, or should I ignore my feelings and let her think I didn’t get all the innuendos contained in this book?
Two of us are in agreement and feel that our dearly departed buddy would turn over in her grave, given a chance to eyeball this travesty.
Betrayed and Disappointed
Dear Betrayed: Your friend published a book, intending for people to read it. You have read it and you now have the right to react to it. You should express only your own reaction (don’t speak for others).
Email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.