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Survivor's family forces contact with her abuser

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I have an older brother who sexually abused me as a child on multiple occasions over a period of many years.

My family has always sought to downplay this, and they constantly try to force him into my life. They try to force me to reconcile and/or pretend the whole thing never happened. He (fortunately) lives in another state and I have no contact with him -- by choice.

I have expressed to my parents and other siblings my wishes not to have a relationship with him. It is very painful for me.

I have also chosen to not disclose this publicly, so his wife and children do not know the past history between us.

I have no desire to hurt them, as they are lovely people.

I just want to limit my glancing contact to our annual family gathering.

 

I was at a family gathering yesterday and -- yet again -- I was handed the phone to talk with him when he called to talk to everyone at the party.

I don't know why I was handed the phone. They all know I don't want to talk with him.

I do not know how else to express my wishes or what to do in these situations. In this case, his daughter was also in the room visiting (she had nothing to do with passing the phone to me) so I just said hello and talked briefly and passed the phone as soon as I could.

What should I do to handle these situations in the future? I have tried just about everything to communicate my wishes to my family for many years now, but no one is listening.

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