DEAR ABBY: As a child, I suffered a lot of abuse from my parents until I finally, at 13, opened up to a teacher. I was removed from my house and spent the remainder of my youth in various foster homes. I never felt like I had a home or family until I was an adult and made my own.
I have cut all ties with my biological family, as I am happier and more sane without them. They have never shown remorse for their abuse, and I feel my children's safety would be jeopardized if I were to rekindle a relationship with them.
The problem is, co-workers and sometimes even strangers at my retail job ask me about my children's grandparents. When I explain that we have a "strained" relationship, they often tell me I need to get over it, learn to forgive or that I'll regret not mending things. Am I wrong for wanting to maintain a distance? How can I assert my position firmly without giving too much detail? -- CUT OFF BY CHOICE IN KENTUCKY
DEAR CUT OFF: You are not obligated to give a detailed response to these individuals, who may only be trying to make conversation when they ask. All you need to say is that "the grandparents are not involved." There could be many reasons for it, but you don't have to share them. If you are questioned further say, "I'd rather not discuss it."
P.S. While forgiveness may work in some situations, when a family is so dysfunctional that the children must be removed from the home, those children are not obligated to forgive what was done to them!