Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Should son of abusive father try to reconcile?

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband, "Steven," was raised by an abusive father. He received regular beatings and humiliation (in front of his friends) as punishment. He was not a bad kid. His mother stood by passively and did nothing about it.

Steven had two siblings who were not treated badly. As an adult, his mom and dad continued to "put him in his place" in other ways.

Since he could no longer be beaten, at family gatherings they liked to humiliate him by bringing up "bad" things he did when he was a child.

No matter what his accomplishments were, they never praised him.

He is a 60-year-old man now. He has suffered his entire life and was made to feel like there was something wrong with him.

When we noticed that our daughter was also being singled out and treated as if she was inferior to her cousins, we finally felt we had to do something about it and decided to no longer celebrate holidays with them.

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We send cards and email greetings, but we do not feel it is healthy for us to spend time with them.

This has made us so much happier, and our holidays are now stress-free.

Steven's father has Alzheimer's now, and his brother has contacted him acting contrite for his past behavior. He wants to get together.

I am fearful about this. My husband is a wonderful person and wants to do the right thing. What is your opinion?


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