Updated: June 12, 2012 8:24AM
Dear Abby: When I was in sixth grade, my 19-year-old brother, “Ray,” came into my room and fondled me late at night. I pretended to be asleep so I didn’t have to deal with the situation. I told my mom afterward. She told me not to tell my father and bought a lock for my door.
Years later, when my sister found out what happened to me, she told me Ray had also done it to her. She told Dad and confronted Mom. Neither one ever said anything to Ray. They told us it was “in the past” and to leave it alone.
Because my sister is openly confrontational about it, she isn’t invited to family events that he is attending. I am invited because I just ignore him, but it’s uncomfortable knowing my parents took his side over that of their two daughters. I won’t let my daughter be alone with him — or with him and my mom, because I don’t trust her anymore.
Should I tell my parents I don’t want to hear about my brother and no longer want to be around him?
Wronged in Georgia
Dear Wronged: Yes, if it will make you feel better, by all means do. That your parents would ignore your brother’s predatory behavior is appalling. By protecting him, your mother betrayed you and your sister.
If you and your sister haven’t had counseling to come to terms with what happened to you, please consider contacting the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). The website is www.rainn.org, and the toll-free number is (800) 656-4673.
Dear Abby: I think my in-laws want my husband to divorce me because I have Asperger’s syndrome and bipolar disorder. Sometimes I innocently say things that other family members take offense to.
I have offered to educate my in-laws about bipolar and Asperger’s, but they say I’m just making excuses for my behavior. I would like to explain to them that my thought processes aren’t the same as everyone else’s, so I am going to make mistakes in what I say to people.
I am hurt by their judgment and lack of tolerance. I don’t do “bad” things often — maybe once or twice a year. But instead of overlooking it, they make a big deal out of it because I’m different. They should focus on the good. I do a lot of charity work and would help anyone in need. Their lack of understanding is ruining my marriage. I’m 25, and we have been married for five years. I don’t want to throw that away.
I Am How I Am in Alabama
Dear “How You Are”: That your marriage has lasted through five years of your mother-in-law’s attempts to undercut it tells me the bond between you and your husband must be a strong one. Does HE understand how Asperger’s and bipolar disorder affect the brain? If not, then the doctor who prescribes your medication should explain it to him so he can explain to his parents that what they are complaining about is not your fault.
And if they don’t “get it,” a behavioral specialist should explain to them that they should be more patient and understanding with a member of their family.
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