Abby: Daughter struggles with mom’s failure to defend

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I’m in my early 50s, disabled and live with my elderly mother. Between the ages of 8 and 11 I was sexually abused by my adoptive father. My mother finally caught him in the act, but the next day they acted like nothing had happened. He never did it again, and it was never spoken about, ever.

I have read about women who caught their husbands abusing their kids and kicked them out, pressed charges, etc. It makes me think I didn’t matter enough for her to do that. I confronted her about it a few years ago. She said it would have been in all the papers (my parents were prominent musicians in our town), and there was no way she could have raised two kids on her own.

I still have a deep ache in my soul that tells me I don’t matter as much as other people do. I resist going to therapy because I live with her and I know she’ll quiz me about the sessions. I just want to keep the peace and not risk her going into a tirade. I don’t know what to do.

Still Hurting in Nevada

Dear Still Hurting: You should absolutely talk about this to a therapist. If your mother demands to know what you’re discussing, tell her. If she unleashes a tirade, invite her to accompany you to a session so she can explain to your therapist that she didn’t kick her child-molesting husband out because she was afraid she couldn’t support herself and two children alone. (Was your sibling also assaulted?)

You and your mom are both adults. You should be able to have a frank discussion without her intimidating you with her anger. If anyone has a right to be angry, it is you. And she should clearly understand how her inaction affected you for all these years, and possibly your sibling, as well.

Dear Abby: I never used to be a supporter of same-sex marriage. During the 2008 presidential elections, I posted my opinions about it on social media. Since then, I have changed my mind. The most significant reason is that I worked closely with a gay woman for four years. After I got to know her, her wife and two children, I realized they are the same as any other happy family.

I feel I may have offended some friends when I posted those views — specifically, my best friend from childhood, who has come out as gay. I’d like to send her a message letting her know my opinion has changed and that I support her. Do you think I should reach out to her, or leave the past in the past? And if I do, what should I say?

Adding My Voice For Equality

Dear Adding: By all means reach out. I congratulate you for becoming more aware of and compassionate about LGBT issues in the last few years.

Tell your friend about your change of heart since those posts were written, that you hope her life is happy and fulfilling, and offer an apology if you caused her hurt. If you would like to explain why your feelings changed, do that, too. I’m sure she will be interested, and glad to know.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.