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Health & Spirit

Sister wonders about forcing confession

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: After more than 20 years of marriage, my husband and I divorced. During the marriage, my husband had a brief sexual affair with my sister. I did not find out until several years after the event. My husband confessed to the incident because he was feeling guilty. He confessed to other incidents, and after much counseling, we divorced.

I have given my sister every opportunity to fess up and apologize. I wanted to forgive her and for us to move on. She refused to acknowledge any role in this and I finally quit speaking to her several years ago.

She has a history of deceitful behavior, refuses to accept any responsibility for her misdeeds, and has always felt entitled. She is the youngest and our parents didn't do her any favors by not forcing her to have responsibilities like the rest. They enabled her behavior.

Now, my sister has medical problems and financial hardships. I am the only family member in a position to help.

No one has asked me to help, and I have not offered, but I want to help her. If I do, am I giving up my right to an apology and a request for forgiveness?

I don't want to blackmail her into a confession and apology, but that is probably the only way I will ever get it, and it won't be sincere because she isn't really apologetic.

What do you think I should do?

-- Deceived Sister

Dear Deceived: If you want to help your sister, you should do so. After all of this time, you should accept the fact that your sister will likely not admit to any wrongdoing, will not apologize, and will not ask for forgiveness. You are right about a "forced confession." So, can you carry on and help her without attaching conditions?

If you choose to help your sister, you should do it out of compassion and without any expectation for her to behave in any particular way.

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