DEAR ABBY: One of my siblings was abused as a child. In turn, he abused me when he was a pre-teen and into his teens. It stopped when he got a girlfriend at the age of 14. This was news to my parents.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, I have tried to explain to my mom that I don't like being around him. She has heard me, but she pretends like it didn't happen and still tries to get everyone together for holidays, etc. The idea of seeing him makes me sick, and I'm terrified for his children.
I went to therapy as a young adult to work out my issues with him and what happened. The abuse has affected my ability to hold onto relationships, and I fight depression often, which I am good at hiding. She keeps saying, "but you were so close as kids." I don't think she understands what "grooming" is. Can you please explain it in a manner that doesn't make me feel like it was all my fault? -- GETTING BEYOND IT
DEAR GETTING: Your fault? None of what happened was your fault! Predators groom victims by first establishing a close relationship with them, telling them they are "special," that their bond is special, that the usual rules of behavior do not apply to them, bestowing time, attention and gifts, and pledging them to secrecy. Please show this to your mother. I hope it will help her understand that getting the family together is not in the cards now or ever.
I am concerned by your statement that the abuse has caused you to be depressed, which you are "good at hiding," and which prevents you from forming relationships. Those issues might be resolved if, as an adult, you consult another licensed psychotherapist. While it may not be something you wish to revisit, I hope you will consider it.