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Question
Posted by: Mary | 2010/01/07

Father’ s past transgressions

Dear CyberShrink,

Thanks for an excellent forum packed with practical advice.

I would like to ask some advice too, please. Seventeen years ago my mum filed for divorce after having suffered many years of physical abuse at the hands of my father. After the divorce my father lived with his sister and her family for a short period. He molested my 5 year old cousin during that time and then my dad all but disappeared off the face of the earth.

Today my cousin, brother and sister all have lovely families of their own. My dad contacted us recently and has since built up a good relationship with my brother. My father spends a lot of time with my brother and his family and showers my brother’ s children with attention and gifts.

I have tried to talk to my dad about the way he treated my mother and about my cousin, but he strongly denied ever mistreating any member of the family!

On two recent occasions, however, my brother’ s 4 year old daughter developed a fever shortly after having spent time with her granddad. On neither occasion could the GP find anything wrong with her though.

I am worried sick about my niece and I have discussed this with my mother. We think that my brother may have been too young to remember about my father’ s bad behaviour and that he may need a gentle reminder to be vigilant when his children visit our dad. But at the same time we are concerned that he may feel that we are trying to wreck his newly found relationship with my father if we touch on this subject.

Could you please advise how this situation should be approached?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its not at all uncommon for a former abuser, physical or sexual, whether or not they have actuially reformed, to seek to pretend that none of it ever happened. It makes sense, if your brother may not be aware ofhis father's prior history, to tactfully and gently tell him of this, so he is in a better position to evalyate the situation and protect his child if protection is needed.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

1
Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/01/08

Its not at all uncommon for a former abuser, physical or sexual, whether or not they have actuially reformed, to seek to pretend that none of it ever happened. It makes sense, if your brother may not be aware ofhis father's prior history, to tactfully and gently tell him of this, so he is in a better position to evalyate the situation and protect his child if protection is needed.

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