Ask Amy: Abuse survivor needs mom in his corner

Tribune Media ServicesAugust 9, 2013 

DEAR AMY: My son's fiancee 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 fiancee 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 are concerned enough to call the police about this — and yet not brave enough to reach out to your son. You must give him 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: My babe and I have lived together for almost two years. I know she has lots of baggage from her past, which includes filing her taxes and dividing stored assets from a previous 15-year relationship.

She tells me she will deal with things in due time. She likes to have a private life, so she doesn't let her old friends know we are living together, and she refuses to introduce me to certain male friends.

I feel I have been very patient up to this point, and yet my patience is starting to wear thin.

One male friend calls her every night at bedtime and every morning. She never takes this call when I am around, won't tell me who it is and insists he is just a friend. Recently I found out she is going over to see him when I am at work.

I understand having privacy when dating and casually seeing someone, but we live together. What advice do you have for me? — Suspicious

DEAR SUSPICIOUS: Your babe has more baggage than a Kardashian headed to Cannes.

Move out. Leave her to her unpaid taxes, her "stored assets," secret relationships and mounds of personal (and actual) baggage.

Every single thing about this relationship is off-kilter. You deserve honesty and inclusion. These healthy traits will not magically attach to your relationship through your patience. You deserve better, but you will not get anything better from this person.

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." — George

DEAR GEORGE: I appreciate this nuanced description of a unique kind of "love" — one that transcends the need to even "like." Thank you.

(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamytribune.com. You can also follow her on Twitter askingamy or "like" her on Facebook. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.) 

 

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