Updated: September 5, 2013 4:33PM
Holly’s two daughters were molested by their stepfather, Justin, who has been arrested. Holly is divorcing him. She wrote, “My life has changed to the point where I no longer remember what happiness was.”
Today, readers offer her advice . . .
JERRI: Like they now say in high school: It Gets Better. Eventually the divorce will go through and the finances will be sorted out. Eventually your daughter will be able to move past her anger and hopefully forgive you. Admitting your own mistakes will go a long way toward helping her.
It’s understandable but unfortunate that your in-laws have turned on you. It’s easier for them than admitting their relative is a criminal. Or maybe they already knew and they’re angry that you exposed it. Find another support system or a support group.
Tell your therapist about your problems focusing and staying organized. You might benefit from a mild anti-depressant while you weather the worst of this. If that helps, you’ll find other tasks — like getting a temporary second job, downsizing to a smaller place — less overwhelming.
PATTY: It took a long time for the situation to get this bad, it will take a long time for it to get better. Stay with therapy, and encourage Chloe to seek it on her own. Don’t pressure her. Make sure she knows you’re sorry that you didn’t realize what was happening sooner.
Go on welfare if you need to. It was created to help people get through situations like this. See if job training is available from your state. Keeping busy preparing for a new future will help you get through this because your attention will be directed toward positive things. Don’t let negative, self-defeating thoughts keep looping through your mind.
Focus on how you will make a better future for yourself and your daughters. Above all, stick with the therapy until you figure out better ways to size up people and how to pay attention to warning signs. You were too trusting.
SAMANTHA: What’s painfully obvious is that the marriage you thought was ideal was a sham from the beginning. You only saw what you wanted to see. You were an enabler in the cycle of abuse.
The adoration and protection Justin showed your daughters was sexual from the beginning. (We know now that he loves looking at scantily attired or naked children.) You said it was the two of you against the world. A successful child molester knows the best way to get at a child is through the parent’s heart. He was just telling you what you wanted to hear so he could have access to the girls.
I can’t imagine why you would want contact with your husband’s family. Whatever horrible things happened with them caused him to be the child molester he is today. People aren’t born child molesters. They come from horribly dysfunctional families.
MIKE: This is what private and government agencies were built to deal with. There should be various forms of assistance you can use to get back on your feet, to help you recover from these events, and to help heal yourself and your daughters. Don’t be too proud to accept the help that’s available.
Have you ever had to rebuild your life from scratch? How did you do it? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out my new website askcheryl.net. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM