Sunday, October 17

ASK AMY: An Unreliable Father Leaves a Guilty Legacy

Article content

Dear Amy: I grew up with a mother I could never trust to reliably “show up”.


Article content

She was an alcoholic until she was 7 years old, and she and my father sent me around while she had relationships with various men.

She had a period of sobriety from when I was 7 to 13, and then she remarried and had two more children.

Once I went to college, I was no longer invited home, and this continued even after I was married.

I rarely called and was very busy with my half siblings. There was always an excuse why he couldn’t see me.

She would cancel at the last minute to see a friend or make it very difficult to establish solid plans. If I didn’t start the meeting, I would never see it.

Now my children are teenagers and they don’t know her at all.

Throughout her childhood, she never invited them. He never invites us to Christmas celebrations with my stepfather and half siblings.


Article content

I feel like it’s been my job to try and maintain a relationship with her.

I often feel it as an additional burden, with a great sense of guilt. Am I right to feel this way?

I’ve always wanted to have supportive and involved grandparents, but I really don’t know what is normal.

When I told my mom that I would like her to maybe come up with something to do with my kids, she just said she can’t.

Am I right to feel overwhelmed and frustrated?

She is not that old; she is capable, leads, and takes care of others in her community.

I have longed for close family connections, but feel that my efforts have not paid off or been reciprocated.

How do I find that connection that I longed for?

– distressed

Dear distressed: He questions his own feelings, which is what people do when they have experienced chaos and dislocation in childhood. Childhood is when human beings learn to inhabit and express their true feelings. Competent, sober, and trustworthy parents guide children through this process. He was denied this, and much more, in his own childhood.


Article content

One way to find the connection you have longed for since childhood is to continue nurturing this connection with your own children.

You are the surviving adult son of an alcoholic, and if your children grow into adulthood knowing that their own mother is the steadfast and reliably loving father he never had, then you have triumphantly broken the chain.

Unfortunately, you will not receive this support from your mother. You cannot give what you do not have. Learning to release your own expectations (without guilt) will be liberating for you.

You would benefit from connecting with others through a group of Adult Children of Alcoholics. Visit for information and meetings.

We apologize, but this video could not be loaded.

Dear Amy: I am answering the question in your “Guilty Bystander” column, written by an adult who had learned of a rumor about a teacher at his high school who had had a sexual relationship with an underage student.


Article content

As a retired director of Health Education of a large capital city urban school system in the United States and with over three decades of teaching on my resume, I can unequivocally agree with your advice to Bystander, who posed the question about your role in reporting. what could turn out to be a serious, life-changing criminal act.

If the horrible treatment of our gymnasts from Team USA has taught us anything, I hope we will start to learn that it is everyone’s responsibility to speak up.

These vulnerable girls and young women were abused for many years by a monster, and no institution protected them, including FBI investigators.

If he does not speak, it is part of the problem and not the solution.


Article content

– A (ex) mandatory reporter

Dear reporter: None of the surviving gymnasts of Dr. Larry Nassar’s abuse consented to this behavior, while the implication of “Guilty Bystander” was that this (alleged) sexual relationship between the teacher and the minor student was thought to be consensual.

However, as I pointed out in my answer, there is a reason the law supports the legal age of consent. The difference in power between an adult and a minor, or a teacher and a student, can very easily lead to exploitation.

I have heard many people express their concern for the rights of a teacher who could be wrongly accused. I understand this concern, but adults have a duty to report and institutions must investigate.



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civilized discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to moderate before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications – you will now receive an email if you receive a response to your comment, there is an update from a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *