Berating parents online not the best idea

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Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: I'm in therapy, learning to deal with the fallout from being raised by parents who belittled, bullied and abused me verbally and emotionally for most of my life. They've never admitted doing anything wrong, insisting they were great parents and I was too weak or too immature to see they were only doing "what was best for me." Before I started to see a psychiatrist, I planned to write my parents a long letter, telling them how they had hurt me and how it has affected every aspect of my life. I also considered telling my concerned family and friends via social media what they did to me and how much it hurt. I was very surprised when my therapist told me not to post anything. He said many libel and character defamation lawsuits have resulted from such revelations. He advised me not to say anything unless it was face to face. Amy, all I'd be doing is telling the truth about the horrible way they chose to raise me. What's wrong in that?Posting for ClosureDEAR POSTING: Your therapist seems to be offering legal advice, and while he may be right (I don't know), your therapist would do best to explore your motivations. Answering the question "why?" might lead you to insight and closure, without the personal mess that could result from public postings.

I agree with your therapist that making these postings is unwise, though for different reasons. When you post something deeply personal, you lose control of the information. This text can fly through cyberspace and land anywhere; it can be altered, made fun of, or invite commentary that would be hurtful to you or others. Furthermore, this would not cause your parents to admit their wrongdoing, because they would see a public airing of their failings as further proof that you (not they) are flawed.

I'd encourage you to write a letter to your folks, and you could make a long-term decision about whether to send it.