DEAR ABBY: My parents divorced when I was an infant. My father had weekend visitations with me sporadically, if at all. Growing up, I was super angry at him for leaving and blamed him for not being around while I was abused by my stepfather. I haven't seen my father in person since I was 18.
As a 40-year-old woman with kids, I'm thinking about reaching out. My kids are curious about their grandfather. I'm curious about his life. Can I really be mature enough to get to know him? How do I keep my anger in check and not demand an answer for every bad deed on his part? Is it worth it? I don't want to be manipulated. The rest of his family doesn't speak to him, either. -- REVISITING HISTORY IN TENNESSEE
DEAR REVISITING: Have you ever tried discussing the reason for the failure of your parents' marriage with the other relatives? If you haven't, you should. If she stood silently by while you were abused by her second husband, she bears part of the responsibility for the abuse.
Because you feel the need to know about your father's life, reach out and ask him. There is usually more than one side to stories like this. However, your chances of getting the answers you're looking for will improve if you refrain from doing it with a chip on your shoulder.