Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Sisters abused by stepfather now blame mother

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I had a rough childhood. My mom and dad had my older sister and me before they divorced. My mom remarried, and my stepfather had a son from his previous marriage. They then had a boy of their own.

My sister and I were always treated more harshly by our stepfather than our brothers were treated. Our punishment was a lashing from a leather belt. It was harsh and abusive, and started when we were very young.

It stopped when we were around 13 years old.

I would be left with bruises for days, making it painful to sit down at school.

I know that my older stepbrother only got the leather a few times and that my little brother only ever got a spanking from a wooden spoon.

I am 30 years old now. My stepfather is a changed man. He is no longer the man that abused me, but is kind and loving.

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My issue lies with my mother. Throughout all this, she never once told my stepfather to stop, or that we didn't deserve such an abusive form of punishment.

Whenever I made my way out of the bedroom after a lashing, tears streaming down my face, I remember only seeing my mother's back. She never looked me in the eye. She never stood up for me and I carry around hatred and bitterness toward her for that.

Now my mother desperately wants to have a relationship with my sister and me. I see that she is heartbroken and confused as to why we struggle to have one with her. We desperately want one with her too, but we both can't drop our guard. I guess we both still believe that our mother hasn't changed at all -- unlike our stepfather.

My mother is a soft and emotional woman. I don't know if having a conversation with her will just break her heart. Can I resolve this myself without demanding to know why she didn't stand up for me as a child?


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