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by Abigail Van Buren

Adult Child Seeks Closure From Father Now in a Nursing Home

DEAR ABBY: My father was physically abusive to me when I was a child, and distant and emotionally abusive when I was a teenager. Because of it, I had low self-esteem and was extremely depressed for most of my life. I confronted him when I was an adult, and he tried to explain why he was that way, but never apologized.

He is now 93 and in a nursing home. He probably won't be alive much longer. I would like to get closure by telling him the extent to which his behavior damaged my life, but I know it would hurt him. Should I look for the closure I have needed all of my life, or keep it to myself to spare his feelings? -- HURTING STILL IN COLORADO

DEAR HURTING: If you have things you need to get off your chest to your father, as painful as they may be, then do it. Explain calmly, in an even tone of voice, how important validation is to children as they develop, and how deeply his physical and emotional abuse has affected your life. I agree that he owes you an apology, but do not go there expecting one because he may be incapable of it.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Abuse | Mental Health