Dear Dr Saltzman,
I didn't speak to my parents for 20 years because my dad abused me when I was a young girl. My mum didn't believe me.
Recently we reunited and my mum told me my dad did not touch me but it was an uncle. I let her think this was right, even though I know it was my dad and I now have to tell everyone I've told in that 20 years, that I was wrong and it was not him, so that he and my mother can come visit me and have a family get together.
I received counseling for the abuse. I love my dad but I am angry with him for letting me take the rap.
I don't know how to deal with this. I haven't even discussed it with my husband yet, because I literally want to scream with rage.
Can you help. I don't want to lose my mum again.
The “scream with rage” indicates to me that you have not finished your therapy in regards to this matter, and I suggest you take it up again with your counselor. Nevertheless, you should not be put in the position of having to lie about what you know to be true, and I suggest that you refuse to lie. I think you should have a private conversation with your dad in which you tell him that you know it was he who abused you, that you have worked on forgiving him, that you love him and are willing to forgive him, but that you will not lie to anyone about what happened. In my view, you would lose more by lying than you would be losing if your mum continues to make loving you a question of your having to lie to "earn" her love.