Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Worried Friend” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Worried Friend” who had been the victim of sexual assault and wondered if she should reach out to the step-daughter of the perpetrator, a once-close friend of hers, who was going through some trauma of her own since her step-father’s arrest and incarceration. After the jump, find out whether she tried to rekindle the friendship or MOA.

Thank you so much for featuring me in the “Your Turn” segment. It really meant a lot to me to hear the readers’ advice, as well as yours.

A few things to clear up in my letter: my friend’s mother had only involved with the stepfather about 6 years (married for two of those years), so he had not always been in my friend’s life. I don’t believe that she herself was assaulted, due to the fact she was very vocal in her defense of him when the investigation first started up (although, granted, she became decidedly less vocal after he plead guilty).

Good news first! My friend broke up with the dead beat boyfriend. The bad news is that when they decided to live together, his credit was so bad that she agreed to be the sole leasee on the agreement and is now stuck with the apartment (that she can’t afford alone). I have also since learned that her mother has decided to try and work things out with her stepfather during his mandatory parole once he gets out of jail.

Since this last revelation, I have decided that I can no longer be her friend. It hurts me to say that, but he is still going to be involved in her life (whether she likes it or not), and I’m trying very hard to work through this event in my life to ultimately find forgiveness and peace. Even if I do manage to forgive him, I don’t think that I’ll ever be able to interact with him again, even for my friend’s sake. I’m making great strides at being healthy, and I think that it would be irresponsible and unfair to me and my loved ones to risk all of that trying to help someone else out.

I’m still going to my counselor and she has referred me to a victims of sexual assault support group in my town. Hopefully I will one day get to the point where this won’t be in the forefront of my life, and it will just be one of the many experiences that makes me who I am.

Thank you so much for your update. Good for you for taking care of your emotional well-being and accepting whatever limitations and boundaries you need to have in order to fully heal. Although I’m sure it hurts to no longer be in your friend’s life, sometimes just sending love and good thoughts to those we were once close to is better than trying to be there in ways we’re no longer able. Best of luck to you in your continued path forward.

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

15 comments… add one
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    cat-i-z April 12, 2011, 12:23 pm

    I’m so glad you’re continuing therapy! Best Wishes to you!!!

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    WatersEdge April 12, 2011, 1:45 pm

    Thanks for the update! I think you made the right decision.

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    SGMcG April 12, 2011, 1:47 pm

    It’s nice hearing about updates that sound like the LW is doing better. Keep taking care of yourself LW!

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    Hana April 12, 2011, 1:54 pm

    I think you should reconsider being her friend. It is not her fault that her mother is still with the guy, especially if she does not want them to be together. I think if you guys are off at college i.e. not living at home anymore, there is no reason you can’t be friends with her. Just lay some ground rules like you need to know if he’s coming to visit and you can never go to her house. However if you have not told her you were a victim and/or she still supports her stepfather a friendship will not work.

    Thank you for the update! Good luck in therapy. Perhaps this is another thing you could talk about in your sessions.

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    • Heather

      Heather April 12, 2011, 1:56 pm

      Hana, if she says she’s not comfortable with being around the step-father, I would absolutely not encourage her to do so. I respectfully disagree with you.

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        kerrycontrary April 12, 2011, 2:05 pm

        Heather, I agree….

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        hana April 12, 2011, 3:34 pm

        I don’t think you understand what I was saying. I agree one hundred percent that she should never have contact with that man again. And, as a fellow rape victim, I understand completely if she would never want to see the step daughter again either. I know all the pain that comes with a situation like this. However, if she wanted to be the girls friend I think it could be discussed with her therapist. And I also think there are ways to be friends with the girl that would not involve the stepfather at all. I was just trying to tell her it does not have to be all or nothing. But by all means if she is uncomfortable to even try to be friends with her after all this I completely understand and suggest that. When I was raped I kept two friends from those associated with the man. Now I speak to one other and it is nearly 2 years later. She should take all the time she needs and if that means never then that is perfectly acceptable! I honestly think she should do whatever she needs to do to feel better.

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        hana April 12, 2011, 3:43 pm

        I don’t think you understand what I was saying. I absolutely agree she shoud have no contact with her abuser. But if she wishes to be friends with this girl tjere are ways she can do that without getting involved with the step father. As a fellow victim of rape I completely understand her situation. I feel that lost too at times. I am very glad she os getting therapy and would support her on line or in person if she were my friend. if she does not want to be friends with this girl or is uncomfortable then absolutely don’t consider it. I just don’t want her to secretly be longing to jhave this girl as a friend again and feel she is unable to. I really hope the best for you. LW and understand what you are going through. Take everything you read on an advice site as you would advice from a stranger. Talk to your therapist and discuss your feelings about this friendship if you want!

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        hana April 12, 2011, 3:45 pm

        Sorry, I thought the first one didn’t go through as I’m using my cell not a computer!

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      sarolabelle April 12, 2011, 3:54 pm

      I sort of agree with you. I have no contact at all with any of my girlfriend’s fathers….we go out to dinner, the movies, plays, girls nights at home all without the seeing each other’s parents. I haven’t even met some of my friend’s parents….

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      • Heather

        Heather April 12, 2011, 7:26 pm

        That’s a fair point. I can just understand that she may not want to take the chance though. Only she really knows what’s best for her. She seems to feel like it’s what’s best for her healing process. And that seems really mature of her. Either way! Her decision.

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      anna728 April 12, 2011, 9:35 pm

      But the original letter was about whether or not to reach out and restart a friendship that had already fallen apart- not about whether to end one she already had. I think that makes a difference. It’s one thing to stick with someone through such a situation, but it’s a lot harder to reconnect with someone afterwards.

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    kerrycontrary April 12, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I think you made the right decision for you. I’m very happy you are still going to therapy because that is the right way to get past this issue. I love how you phrase that this is one of the experiences that will make you who you are. You really have a positive outlook. Best of luck in the future.

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    MissDre April 12, 2011, 2:15 pm

    Props to you, LW, for putting yourself first, getting the help you seek and for having such a positive outlook. I have pretty much been in your shoes exactly. I guess my only advice would be, don’t let this one event in your life define you. You are so much MORE than just what happened to you. Be brave. You deserve only the very best!

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    anna728 April 12, 2011, 9:36 pm

    I think the LW is making the right choice and handling it well.

    Can’t believe the friend’s mother wants to work things out with that guy, though.

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