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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter Cringes When Mom Does Happy Dance in Public

DEAR ABBY: My parents divorced when I was 15. It was nasty. My mother, in an act of desperation, dragged me into it. I was placed in foster care until her allegations were looked into and found to be false.

I held a grudge for 10 years. During that time I was bitter, angry, shy, anxious, scared -- overall, just a mess. I finally realized that until I addressed those feelings, it would affect all aspects of my life.

At 25, I am finally trying to have a relationship with my mother. It has been hard. There are some things from the past that I cannot forget, and I find it difficult to let go of my anger and resentment.

I'd like to write a book about my experience as a guide to forgiving and moving on, but if I do, I would not be able to hide my identity or my mother's. Is it realistic to write a self-help book without the world knowing it's my family I'm talking about? I'm longing to help others. -- ASPIRING WRITER IN ILLINOIS

DEAR ASPIRING WRITER: It can be done. I can think of two ways to accomplish what you have in mind. The first would be to write the story as fiction. The second would be to adopt a pen name. Whether or not your story turns out to be a best seller, the experience would be cathartic.