DEAR AMY: I am a 23-year-old female. Recently, my grandfather (my mother’s father) died. He and I were estranged due to his ongoing molestation of me and my cousin, culminating in him raping me when I was 11. He was never punished, but I had no further contact with him. I have been promised an inheritance after his death, which I am really looking forward to, as I need the money for a therapist. I have come to terms with accepting his money. My issue is that when I brought it up to my grandmother (on my father’s side), who knows what happened to me, she called me greedy. This stings a lot. I do not feel I am being greedy, more that I can finally forget his presence and influence in my life and finally get the help I need. It doesn’t seem to connect with her that this man was a monster and I am the victim. My grandmother is like my real mother and I don’t know how to tell her she is hurting me.
DEAR BETRAYED: All of your family members should support whatever efforts you need to take in order to heal from this childhood sexual attack at the hands of your grandfather. My own reaction to this is that if you don’t receive whatever financial (or other) compensation you think you need, that you should consider other avenues to try to receive financial or emotional compensation.
If your grandmother is calling you “greedy,” then you should not discuss this with her. If you aren’t able to proportionally react, then perhaps you could write her a letter. Tell her how her judgment makes you feel: “When you call me greedy for trying to get some compensation for what happened to me, it makes me feel unsupported and harshly judged.”
A caution: Your healing should not be solely contingent on you getting therapy, and your therapy should not be contingent on getting money. Don’t put this off.
Contact the hotline at the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN.org) today to communicate with a counselor (you can do this by phone or online).
Ask about resources in your area, and seek help through a survivor support group as soon as possible. If you think it would help you (and perhaps your cousin), you should also research the idea of bringing a lawsuit against your late grandfather’s estate.
DEAR AMY: I was not allowed to date any boys until college. I feel bad now, but I had some secret relationships when I was younger. Now that I am older, I have an official boyfriend. He has met my family, and they love him. Sometimes my parents and older siblings make comments that make it seem like my current boyfriend is my first boyfriend. I feel like I’m keeping something from them. I fear that one day (maybe at my wedding) someone will make a speech about how this was my first boyfriend ever and the audience will be mixed with confusion and cheers. My boyfriend knows this whole story and he thinks I should tell them. I don’t want to shatter the image they have of me, be angry with me or think any less of me. Should I tell them?
DEAR WORRIED: I’m hoping that your family members aren’t taking bets on your virginity, and that this is about a basic prohibition regarding relationships.
You say that you weren’t allowed to date until college.
I assume that you are now out of college.
So it stands to reason that all you have to do now is to color in your history with a dull pencil.
The next time this topic surfaces, you can laugh and say, “I hate to burst your bubble, but you know — I did date a little bit in college before I met ‘Brad’.” If they’re curious, tell them that there weren’t any serious relationships, but that he is not the first guy you’ve dated.
DEAR AMY: “Mom” is worried about paying for a very expensive college that her daughter doesn’t seem to value. We made a pact with our son that we would pay for his first semester. If he received all passing grades, then we would pay for the next semester. If not, then he had to pay for that next semester. Money talks.
DEAR DAD: I like this. But this only works if the parents are fully prepared to follow through.