Dear Abby: Distant mom now reaching out refuses to admit past abuse

Posted: July 02, 2012

DEAR ABBY: When I was a child, my mother — a bipolar schizophrenic — abused me. At 12, I decided I had had enough of her mental and physical abuse. A family friend helped me to leave and be placed with my father. I am now 35 and haven't seen my mother since then.

A few years ago I wrote her a letter. In it I included pictures of my children, saying I would like her to know her grandchildren. She ripped the photos into pieces and sent them back with a note telling me to leave her alone and that I had "made my choice in life."

Last month, I received a letter from her saying she regretted destroying the pictures and would now like me to send more and she could meet us all. She also asked me for $6,000. She claims I "know" she never abused me and that she isn't mentally ill.

It has taken a long time for me to overcome the things she did to me. Even now, when I drive through the old neighborhoods where we lived — a different one for every grade I went to school — I break down in tears from the memories of her abuse. Should I write my mother back or just let it go?

— On an Emotional Roller Coaster in Illinois

DEAR ON AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER: Let it go. Until your mother is well enough to admit what she did to you — and she ISN'T — do not expose your children to her. And as to the $6,000, if you can afford to spend that kind of money, spend it on therapy to overcome the sadness that still lingers from your abusive childhood. If you give it to your mother, she will only ask you for more and more.

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