April 7, 2009 in Features

Dear Annie: Brother may be abusing his kids

Kathy Mitchell And Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: My grandfather molested me when I was a child, and I have been in therapy much of my adult life as a result. My entire family has a disturbing history of sexual abuse and incest, passed along from father to son.

My youngest sister was molested by two of my brothers, “Tim” and “Jim,” when they were teenagers. She told our parents when it first occurred, but they did nothing and continue to deny our family history. She is in therapy, but her life has been one broken relationship after another.

Last summer, my sister sent letters to all the siblings disclosing what happened to her. Tim apologized, but Jim won’t talk about it. My sister refuses to directly confront him. I’m not sure Jim’s wife is aware he is an abuser. They have two grown daughters and four young granddaughters.

Isn’t there a possibility Jim may have molested his own daughters and granddaughters? How does incest end? What can we do? – Dysfunctional in Utah

Dear Utah: There is more than a possibility that your brother has abused his daughters and granddaughters, especially since he is unrepentant about what he did to your sister. Although she should be the one to inform Jim’s wife, if she is unwilling, we hope you will speak up. You have a moral obligation to protect those children.

Dear Annie: My mom passed away about a month ago and I cannot seem to come to terms with it. I am in complete denial.

My mom and I were very close, but last year I did not see her as often as in the past. The last time I spoke with her, she was lying on a hospital stretcher after a car accident. I told her I loved her very much, but the hospital staff wouldn’t let me stay in her room because my son and I were sick and they worried she’d catch pneumonia. Ten days later, I got a call saying she’d gone into cardiac arrest and was in a coma. We ended up pulling her life support.

When I was a young adult, my grandfather died and I handled it by getting drunk – for a year. I don’t drink now, but have no idea how I will respond. I keep having nightmares that I am lost and alone. What should I do? – Scared and Lonely in Manitoba, Canada

Dear Scared: The loss of a parent is difficult to deal with, especially when the circumstances are unexpected. Your reaction is not unusual, and it’s good that you have the awareness to anticipate problems. You could benefit from some grief counseling. The hospital should be able to provide this, or you can check out griefnet.org for a referral. There might also be a Motherless Daughters support group in your area, which you can find at motherlessdaug.meetup.com. Our condolences.

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar are longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.

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