Aunt determines to keep girl safe from abusive relatives

Published 9:03 am Friday, March 6, 2020

DEAR ABBY: One of my husband’s sisters has eight kids, ranging from 15 months to 20 years old. She hasn’t taken care of any of them for more than three years. They never saw a doctor, they didn’t have food in the house, and she was abusive.

When she lost custody, the ones without dads in the picture went to live with another one of my husband’s sisters. Since then, three of the children she was caring for went into foster care. My husband and I visit them regularly, but no one else in the family has seen them at all.

Two of the kids are now in our care. They have been living with us for six months. The rest of his family hasn’t visited them either. I also have a 15-month-old son, who wouldn’t know any of them if they did come by, because they never do.

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Last month, my husband’s family invited us over. I didn’t want to go and didn’t want my son or 6-year-old niece to go either. My husband thinks they have a “right” to see their family. I don’t think they should be around family who can’t be bothered to see them regularly.

I also think my niece shouldn’t have to be around an aunt who abused and neglected her. She’s only now starting to realize that’s not normal or OK. My nephew is 15, he knows what happened wasn’t right and has chosen to stay away from his aunt since moving out.

Am I wrong to keep my niece from her family? She’s not old enough to decide, but I think at this point it would do more harm than good. — CONFLICTED IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR CONFLICTED: At this point, you are that child’s responsible adult (parent). If you feel it would be detrimental for her to be forced into contact with her abuser, stand your ground.


DEAR ABBY: I’m a 36-year-old female, smart, well-educated, attractive, successful, and a fantastic mom and partner. My problem is, I can’t stop stalking my boyfriend’s ex on social media. It seems like she can’t let go. She constantly posts comments about their previous relationship, about his family and still loving them, and she’s also close friends with my boyfriend’s sister.

I don’t know why I constantly compare myself to her. I know what I bring to the table. Why am I so threatened and concerned by this gal? She’s younger than I am and posts all her feelings onto the social media world, even things about my boyfriend, some of which have included remarks about me.

Why can’t I stop being so nosy? I keep telling myself the past doesn’t matter, he’s with me now, don’t worry about her view from the sidelines, etc. But I’m beginning to feel like something is wrong with ME. Help, please. — STALKER IN TEXAS

DEAR STALKER: You remind me of a celebrity who can’t tear herself away from the tabloids, regardless of how cruel or off-base they are. The only thing wrong with you is you are allowing your insecurity to overtake you. As you stated, your partner is with you now. If he had any interest in his ex, that wouldn’t be the case. Because you can’t seem to pull yourself away from the internet, consider “detoxing” by scheduling some conversations with a licensed mental health professional.


Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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