Life Advice



Ask Amy: Cousin feels violated over childhood abuse

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

– Trying to Move Forward

Dear Trying: If this abuse went on for three years, and your older cousin swore you to secrecy, then it stands to reason that she knew this was wrong at the time. And yet the behavior continued for years.

I’m so sorry this happened. I hope you do have some family members who believe you and who are concerned for your healing.

I agree with your therapist that your abuser – and her immediate family – will most likely never acknowledge her actions and how her actions hurt you. For them to do so would be for them to admit that their daughter (or sister) preyed on, manipulated, and hurt a child. And that she lied about it then, and is lying about it now.

You seem to mainly want an acknowledgment and (presumably) an apology from your cousin.

You should also explore with your therapist any other options you might have, including legal options. You don’t mention specifics about your cousin’s abuse, but if she continued this behavior with other vulnerable children, there may be others out there who also deserve answers.


Anyone wrestling with questions of sexual assault and abuse can contact Their 24-hour phone hotline (800-656-4673) and live “chat” function is staffed by dedicated counselors who are there to help.

Dear Amy: I saw my sister-in-law of almost 50 years after not seeing her for two years (due to the pandemic).

She had lost a moderate amount of weight — I would guess 30 pounds. Honestly, I was shocked when I saw her.

I commented about her weight loss and asked if she was OK.


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