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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom's Candor With Kids Makes Her Friends Uneasy

DEAR ABBY: For 14 years I suffered extreme mental and physical abuse from my parents. It led to chronic depression and self-destructive behavior, until I finally sought the help of a therapist. With talk therapy and medication, I am finally on stronger footing.

I am 34 now and much better off since I have severed all contact with my parents. My problem is how to convince my aunts that this is what is best for me, and that I am not an "ungrateful daughter" for choosing to have no contact with either parent. I no longer have the energy for their crazy drama. Am I "ungrateful" because of what I have done? -- HEALTHIER NOW IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR HEALTHIER: No, not considering your family history, and assuming the decision to cut off contact with your parents was made with the help of your therapist. If that's the case, then what you have done is to protect yourself from further emotional abuse.

Do your aunts know what you suffered while growing up? If so, they should clearly understand that you are doing only what you must in order to maintain mental stability. And if they don't, explain it to them, and don't apologize or allow them to make you feel guilty.