Life Advice



Ask Amy: Private disclosure puts in-law in the middle

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My sister-in-law told me that she was molested as a teenager. She told her mother after the abuse happened, to which her mother replied: "Everyone loses their virginity somehow.”

Not surprisingly, my sister-in-law has a difficult relationship with her mother, and my mother-in-law is not happy about it.

My husband does not have any idea that this occurred and blames his sister for the poor relationship with their mother.

His mother often questions me, asking if l know anything about why my sister-in-law is distant from her.

Should l tell my husband or mother-in-law the truth or just take this information to my grave?

I know my sister-in-law holds all her emotions in and will not talk to her mom about it. I feel caught in the middle.


– Very Concerned

Dear Concerned: You should encourage your sister-in-law to seek professional help in order to continue to process what happened to her, as well as her mother’s (heartless) response.

Why did she disclose this to you? Is she hoping that you will mediate? Has she asked you to?

This trauma – and the pressure of holding her emotions in – continues to affect her and her relationships. She has been violated and then betrayed – her trust in you is something you should treasure and protect.


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