Dear Annie: I am a woman in my mid-30s, and think I may have been molested when I was young. I have little memory of my childhood up until age 13. But I do know that when my friends played with their Barbie dolls, they had her driving around, going on dates and dressing up pretty. I pretended she was having sex with Ken. Other kids played house, but I pretended to be the dad and would get on top of my younger sister and rub against her. When I was 14, I made out with my 8-year-old stepcousin until his mother caught me, and for years after, he refused to talk to me. When I was 16, I kissed my best friend’s 10-year-old brother.
I don’t remember anything specifically. I only remember having a bad dream once that my dad molested me, and for years afterward, I didn’t want to be near him. Our relationship still feels kind of strained. I don’t know what to think. What should I do?
Bewildered and Worried
Dear Bewildered: We would not presume to tell you what happened to you as a child, if anything actually did, or whether it involved your father. We suggest you seek therapy, although we do not recommend those who claim to specialize in “recovered” memories of abuse. This type of therapy is not reliable. Ask your doctor to refer you.
Dear Annie: I have two children whose birthdays are a day apart. My youngest was a year old a week ago, and my older child turned 3 the next day. I am really hurt because my family did not acknowledge the baby on his birthday.
Our family’s tradition is to call on the actual birthday and send a gift in the mail. This year, no gifts were sent to either child, and only the 3-year-old received any phone calls. No mention was made of a gift “on the way” or of the fact that the baby turned 1 the day before.
I am not concerned about the gifts. But am I wrong to be upset that my 1-year-old was not even a thought? I can understand that people are too busy to call two days in a row, but isn’t it proper to call for the child who celebrates first? Can you print this and blast them for being rude so I can mail them a copy?
Dear Mommy: No, but we will suggest you change your expectations. Kids whose birthdays coincide with another sibling’s, a major holiday or other event often get shortchanged. We agree that the relatives should not have ignored your younger child when calling for the older. But your older child can speak on the phone and understand what the call is for. The baby cannot, and that is probably what prompted the neglect. But whether or not they phone, you should continue to do so. Don’t punish the children because their parents are inconsiderate or forgetful.
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