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by Abigail Van Buren

Memories of Childhood Abuse Occupy Survivor's Thoughts

DEAR ABBY: I have some bad memories connected with my mother, who was physically abusive. It wasn't consistent, but sometimes she would lose it, and I was beaten quite badly a few times. It weighs on my mind intermittently, and I want to have a conversation with her about it. Then I remind myself that it occurred more than 40 years ago.

I'm 48 now, and she's 74, and it would probably make her extremely upset. Because I'm an adult, shouldn't I be able to process this on my own? I'm inclined to let it go, but it still pops up in my thoughts. Any advice? -- FLASHBACKS IN THE EAST

DEAR FLASHBACKS: You are a survivor of sometimes serious physical abuse. There are no "shoulds" when survivorship is involved. If you feel the need to talk this through with your mother, then do exactly that because you are entitled. She may not want to hear what you have to say, but unless she's on her deathbed, she should be strong enough to withstand a frank conversation. However, before you approach her, I suggest you first talk with a therapist who is licensed and experienced in counseling victims of abuse.