Finding the courage to reveal secret of past abuse – The Denver Post
Dear Readers: Every year I step away from my daily column to work on other creative projects. I’ve gathered some topical “Best Of” columns from 10 years ago. Today’s compilation deals with problems and complications related to weddings. (Some content has been lightly edited.) I’ll be back in two weeks with fresh columns.
Dear Amy: I am a 33-year-old woman who has kept a secret since I was in junior high school.
A relative who is a few years older than me, “Steve,” did some sexually inappropriate things to me. It didn’t involve nudity and I’d rather not get into detail, but it was very inappropriate and made me quite uncomfortable.
I never told anyone about this. Our parents were close and I never wanted to cause any hardship between them.
It has not mattered before because we would see that part of the family so infrequently that I was able to avoid him.
I have mostly forgotten about the incident except for occasional flashbacks that I quickly repress.
We were recently sent a “save the date” announcement for Steve’s wedding.
I have no desire to celebrate him in any way, much less be forced to go to his wedding.
My mother takes these occasions very seriously and has not responded well to my initial attempts to tell her that I do not want to attend.
I don’t think any excuse (except telling her the truth) will get me out of this and still be in her good graces.
I don’t want to tell the truth now because our mothers are very close, and I don’t want to upset that relationship.
Dear Worried: If you try hard enough, you can always find a good reason for not revealing the truth — to protect your mother’s relationships, for instance.
Shedding light on this secret might be the best thing for you, and I could well imagine that your mother would want to know (most loyal mothers would).
You should get used to the idea that your mother is going to be upset, regardless of what you choose to do.
You could try to hedge by saying, “Mom, I really don’t like ‘Steve.’ I haven’t liked him since we were kids. I don’t want to go to his wedding.”
That might be enough of an explanation for your mother, but you should ask yourself if this is really right for you.
Dear Amy: I’m getting married in September and have been planning my wedding for quite a while. My mom and I have been paying for everything related to the wedding, and my father and stepmother haven’t offered any money.
They’ve been telling me about financial hardships that they’ve been having, but I notice they have been buying high-ticket items for their three girls.
How can I ask them to contribute when they claim to have “no money”?
My fiance’s family also hasn’t offered to contribute.
How do I broach that subject with them — I know his mom doesn’t like me, but I’d appreciate the support.
— Fed Up
Dear Fed Up: You and your fiance (not you and your mother) should be in charge of paying for and financing your wedding.
Consider this the first test of your marriage. If you and your fiance tackle this together, you will have the benefit of each other’s assistance when trying to raise the money for your nuptials. If your mother isn’t in the mix, your father may be more inclined to contribute, and if your future husband takes the lead in approaching his family, they may pony up. The best way to do this is respectfully — and in person.
You should take your discomfort as a sign that you should be judicious and realistic when asking people to open their wallets.
You two should plan only the wedding you know you can afford.
Dear Amy: Responding to the question of what to do with your wedding gown (after you’ve used it), I got married in a Jessica McClintock ensemble of white lace jodhpurs, a black silk jacket and a lace jabot.
This Halloween for our neighborhood pet costume contest I made my cat, Roscoe, a wedding dress and used my lace jabot as his veil.
Roscoe won best in show!
Of course, my jabot went back in the cedar chest afterward.
— Proud Cat Owner
Dear Proud: And people say that cat owners are a little eccentric! I’m imagining your costumed cat, as well as the next use for your lace jabot.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)