A his­tory of abuse

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

As a child, I en­dured hor­ri­ble phys­i­cal and ver­bal abuse by my par­ents. As an adult, I found my­self in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship with a man. He lied to me about hav­ing a va­sec­tomy and in­ten­tion­ally got me preg­nant to keep me in his life “for­ever.”

I was preg­nant and desti­tute with nowhere to turn, so I made the big­gest mis­take of my life. I con­tacted my par­ents. They fed me and made sure I had ev­ery­thing I needed for my son. Over the years, I al­lowed my son to have a very lim­ited re­la­tion­ship with them, and I mon­i­tored it closely. I thought I was pro­tect­ing my son by not telling him all of the hor­ri­ble things my par­ents and his fa­ther did to me.

Now my son is 18 and has a very negative opin­ion of me. He moved in with my par­ents. It turns out that both my par­ents and his fa­ther have done noth­ing but bad-mouth me in ev­ery way to my son for years. They must make stuff up about me, be­cause I have never given them any rea­son to say bad about me. I am a good, kind per­son. I have spent my life help­ing oth­ers. I have also been in coun­sel­ing since I be­came preg­nant, mak­ing sure I don’t con­tinue the cy­cle of abuse.

My par­ents and my son’s fa­ther have de­stroyed the re­la­tion­ship be­tween my son and me. Be­cause they spoil him rot­ten, he be­lieves ev­ery­thing they say. He treats me not based on how I’ve treated him but based only on how my par­ents and his fa­ther talk about me. I am dev­as­tated to have lost my son to them. I have tried telling him the truth about them, but now it is too late. I have tried coun­sel­ing with my son, as well. The ther­a­pist did not re­al­ize the scope of the abuse, so coun­sel­ing failed. Now my son won’t go to coun­sel­ing any­more. I feel that I am still be­ing abused, and I am com­pletely hope­less.

Is there any way at all to get my son back?

— Hope­less in NY

I’m sorry for your sep­a­ra­tion from your son. Be­cause he is 18, there is no le­gal course you can take here. Time is the only thing that can give your son back to you. Fo­cus on your own well-be­ing, phys­i­cally and men­tally. Be the health­i­est you that you can be. As he ma­tures more, he should be able to see for him­self that Grandma and Grandpa aren’t telling the whole story.

I grew up in the 1950s and was taught by par­ents, school­teach­ers and preach­ers that a man isn’t sup­posed to wear any kind of head cov­er­ing in­doors. This was fur­ther en­forced by drill sergeants when I joined the Army. Now it seems that just about any­where you go, in­clud­ing restau­rants, there are some men sit­ting and wear­ing hats or caps, even while eat­ing. Have the rules of com­mon cour­tesy changed that much? I think it looks dis­gust­ing. — Ap­palled

Un­for­tu­nately, it’s a cus­tom that seems to have fallen by the way­side, as fash­ion and what’s con­sid­ered ac­cept­able have changed a great deal in gen­eral. I doubt that the peo­ple who wear hats in­doors know it is rude to do so; per­haps they were never taught. But I agree with you. It would be nice if we could lift up those base­ball hats and show them some man­ners.

Time is the only thing that can give your son back to you. Fo­cus on your own well-be­ing, phys­i­cally and men­tally.

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