Life Advice



Ask Amy: Abuse survivor tries to confront the past

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: When I was a child, my mother was abusive. She’d threaten to send me away (I’m adopted, and therefore I believed her); she’d slap me across the face or hit me with a wooden spoon in a rage, and she constantly gave me the silent treatment – without explanation – sometimes for days.

I don’t think my younger brother (who really misbehaved, and yet could do no wrong) got any of that.

It wasn’t horrific child abuse – there were no physical scars – but it shaped me and I’m still angry about it.

I am now 50, and she’s 75.

We get along OK, although I still walk on eggshells around her.

I tried to talk about it with her one time, a few years back.


She got angry, said I was exaggerating, and then blamed me for whatever had happened: “You were miserable to be around, you know.”

She said that I am “living in the past” and that it’s not healthy.

Is she right?

I just want to make it clear that what happened wasn’t OK – and that these things that happened were not in my imagination.


swipe to next page




Darrin Bell Daryl Cagle Gary Markstein Al Goodwyn Beetle Bailey Gary Varvel