Dear Abby: Man disabled as teen haunted by parents’ inaction

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: When I was a junior in high school, I sustained a neck injury (at school) that damaged my spinal cord. I recovered mostly from that, but I have residual weakness in my right side and severe neck pain. I was able to work until, at 57, I had to go on disability. Because of that, my financial situation is difficult, increasingly so now that my wife will be retiring.

At the time of my injury, my parents didn’t sue the school, although clearly the school was responsible. I was too young and certainly in no shape to address the situation.

A lawyer approached my parents at the time, and my physician stated my injuries would limit my long-term work abilities and drastically affect my life. My parents were aware that I would have limited work years, thus affecting my financial situation. I feel anger toward them because of their inaction regarding my injury and not suing the school.

I see them once or twice a week, and I’m wondering if I should bring this up to them now. They’re in their mid-80s but are quite lively and take care of themselves. It consumes my thoughts each time I visit them, but I’ve said nothing. Do you think I should bring this up to them?

— Injured in Tennessee

Dear Injured: Yes, I do. You deserve to know why they were so apathetic in taking care of your welfare — and they should be made aware of the impact it has had on your life. It may be too late to sue the school for what happened to you, but at least you will have some answers.

Dear Abby: I am suffering from postpartum depression while trying to reconcile with my husband, “Derek.” He had several emotional affairs during my recent pregnancy, as well as after I gave birth.

His parents attacked me about the postpartum. I was hospitalized for a week because of it, but they said it was an act. Recently, his mom texted him saying he should use my mental illness as grounds to divorce me. I texted her, asking her to stop attacking me that way. She responded, calling me a devil, saying she’s always hated me. Now she’s turning his entire family against me, spreading vicious lies. She even accused me of trying to sleep with my father-in-law, which Derek knows is ridiculous.

I have asked Derek to address the situation, but what else can I do? I’m no longer comfortable around his parents or sending my children to be around them. I don’t want Derek to be in an awkward position, but it’s not fair for me to be attacked with malicious lies because of her jealousy — especially 12 years in. Please help.

— Disrespected in Illinois

Dear Disrespected: You may be suffering from postpartum, but your mother-in-law appears to have more problems than you do. I don’t envy you for being her target, or your husband for having to buffer you.

It might be helpful if the two of you consult a licensed mental health provider to figure out how to deal with her, if that’s possible. And Derek should waste no time letting the rest of the family know that none of what his mother is saying is true.

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