Dear Annie: I am a woman in my mid-30s, and think I may have been molested when I was young. I have little memory of my childhood up until age 13. But I do know that when my friends played with their Barbie dolls, they had her driving around, going on dates and dressing up pretty. I pretended she was having sex with Ken. Other kids played house, but I pretended to be the dad and would get on top of my younger sister and rub against her. When I was 14, I made out with my 8-year-old stepcousin until his mother caught me, and for years after, he refused to talk to me. When I was 16, I kissed my best friend’s 10-year-old brother.
I don’t remember anything specifically. I only remember having a bad dream once that my dad molested me, and for years afterward, I didn’t want to be near him. Our relationship still feels kind of strained. I don’t know what to think anymore. What should I do? – Bewildered and Worried
Dear Bewildered: We would not presume to tell you what happened to you as a child, if anything actually did, or whether it involved your father. We suggest you seek therapy, although we do not recommend those who claim to specialize in “recovered” memories of abuse. This type of therapy is not reliable. Ask your doctor to refer you.
Dear Annie: We have a family member who wishes for us not to contact him anymore. Both of his parents are deceased. What do we do? – Upset Relatives
Dear Upset: You must respect his wishes, even though it seems cruel. (We assume this family member is not under any type of duress from a partner who is trying to isolate him.) We would inform this relative that you will cease contact, as per his wishes. But add that you still care about him, and should he wish to resume contact, it always will be welcome.