Baby Care

How can I end these wild accusations, and protect myself from my own family? Ask Ellie

Advice columnist Ellie Tesher.
Written by Publishing Team

QI’m a mom of two adult children, grandmother to my son’s toddler.

When my sister and I were age four, our parents split. Their divorce wasn’t easy. After a 10-year custody battle, nobody won. We were with our dad on Wednesdays and Sundays.

When we were age six, he met our future stepmom, β€œD,” who had experienced extreme physical and mental abuse.

Her dad beat her mom and two brothers, then the mom beat the dad. D would say terrible things about our mom.

When we were 15, D had a son, who was born with a severe syndrome and didn’t survive. I loved him. It was suggested that I’d had a virus which harmed the fetus while D was pregnant.

By 15, I had severe anxiety. My sister and I were always in trouble. At 17, Dad implied that our mom was the negative influence.

D sees danger and drama everywhere. She meddles in every situation, destroys people’s lives. She’d wreck holidays/birthdays/major life events.

My son’s girlfriend, C, got pregnant, while they were living with me. I supported them financially and spiritually, but C showed signs of mental illness. And she’d lie about anything.

My son, 19, and I did our best to care for her, despite her constant meltdowns and the mess created by her six pets.

Because of D’s history of calling authorities like Children’s Aid Society (CAS), I warned the couple that D may judge them and me. But C considers my parents her meal ticket. She and D became very close.

C disappeared with the baby when he was 16 months old. The police were called, and told my son that C claimed he verbally/physically assaulted her.

This accusation got C into a shelter for abused women, then subsidized housing, and to be cared for financially.

My son didn’t see his son for a month.

D and C then called CAS, claiming I’m β€œan angry drunk alcoholic, just like my mom.” I wasn’t allowed to defend myself.

However, I am now allowed to see my grandson. And my son has his child three days weekly.

D and C are both controlling, manipulative, and histrionic, and my father doesn’t stand up for me. My emails, texts, and invitations to him are ignored.

A therapist suggests I walk away. She believes that I’ll never have a loving, supportive relationship with my father.

Also, I’ve never had the chance to defend myself, with CAS or my father. I did try to have compassion for D, due to her hard life.

My mom married a wonderful man, who offered to formally adopt my sister and me, when both 11. I’m deeply grateful for my supportive, loving relationship with them, my son, grandson, and my daughter.

But why can’t I walk away from my father? How can I end these wild accusations, and protect myself?

Unloved by Dad

HASBegin a concerted effort to clear your name of false accusations. Information should be affordably available from a legal clinic, family court lawyer and/or CAS representative about how to proceed.

Once visits with your grandson were allowed again, the record should reflect the reasons for that positive change.

Meanwhile, use your remarkable inner strength to put the emotional abuse/neglect/meanness from your father and his second wife in the past.

Your father gave up any ability (or pretence) at being a loving protective parent years ago. Your stepmother’s traumatic life is further damaged by her desire to hurt others.

Trust the therapist who saw and heard your pain. Deal only with relatives/people you trust.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Adult children who’ve suffered years of parental abuse/neglect must focus on their healing and building self-worth.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca.

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Publishing Team