Steven Weissman

Y our mother—my sister—abused me, physically and emotionally, throughout our childhoods. I remember her hitting me, scratching my face, screaming obscenities at me. I've had nightmares about the many times I had to hold my body against the door of my bedroom to keep her out. I'm still unpacking the effects that all of this has had on my emotional and social development. I've spent most of my adult life avoiding her, but after she had you, I tried being around her again. Maybe I shouldn't have, but I wanted to be there for you. Your mother attacked me again not too long ago. This time she decided to put a nice little cherry on the abuse sundae by calling the police and saying that I had attacked her. I got lucky this time—there were witnesses who told the police what really happened, and that ended it. If there hadn't been witnesses, though, I could have been arrested. My career could have been ruined before it began. (I'm studying to be a teacher—probably because I want to help vulnerable kids like myself. And like you.) For my own physical, legal, and professional safety, I have to stay away from your mom. And at least for now, that means staying away from you. I haven't seen her get violent with you. I hope that she never does, and I hope that if she does, someone finds out about it and gets you out of there. I'm so sorry that I can't be there for you now. I'll do my best to make it up to you when you're old enough to get away from her.