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My mother has lied about my biological father for 40 years.


DEAR ABBY: I was born 40 years ago and my mother raised me believing that her husband was my biological father. She divorced him and raised me while she received court-awarded child support, based on her insistence to everyone involved that she had not had an affair. As the years went by, it became increasingly apparent that this was not true, so I took genetic testing. The result was that there was a 99% chance that he had a different father. I soon contacted the brother of the man who I believed was my biological father. He had personal knowledge of the matter and did a confirmatory genetic test to show his genetic relationship to me.

My mother continues to insist on what is now certainly a lie, perhaps to save face with me and others, and to avoid perjury charges and support payments that might follow. I haven’t had contact with her for many years and I changed my last name to that of my biological father. He was a secretly loving father figure to me and now he has passed away.

My problem is that I can’t find closure for all of my mother’s countless lies and denials. She made me feel unhinged as she cultivated a popular public face as a reporter and patron of the arts in our small town. I want to be able to reconcile with my past so that I can be a better father to my own children and can fully trust my loved ones. I feel weak as a person and I don’t want to pass that on to my children. Please advise. — TRUE SELF IN CANADA

DEAR TRUE SELF: You are not a “weak” man. You are an intelligent person who was fed a bunch of lies for decades. However, you managed to get to the truth despite that. Your mother has lied because she is afraid of losing face in the community, and she is probably right about that. She would benefit from discussing her family history with a licensed mental health professional. If she does, she will help you figure this all out more quickly than if she tries to figure it out on her own.

DEAR ABBY: I am torn between my and my husband’s desire to move and my obligation to my family. We decided to explore the possibility of moving out of state due to the weather. Where we currently live is very dry and hot in summer, and wildfires often cause smoky skies for weeks. In summer we can barely go outside.

My widowed mother lives nearby and knows how much we spend in the summer, but she is 60 years old and healthy. (She doesn’t need to be taken care of yet.) Now that we have chosen a place to move to a few states away, she has convinced my grandmother, who lives out of state and recently started living independently, to move close to her. to all of us. I’m torn between moving somewhere where I feel my quality of life would improve and staying close to my grandmother, who I’ve never lived close to before. How do I make this decision? — MAKING A DECISION IN COLORADO

DEAR MAKING A DECISION: Decide rationally. If you decide to take the step, which would be understandable, discuss it with your mother. Although her health is good now, she and her grandmother may be open to the idea of ​​moving to his new city so you can all be together.

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 PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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