DEAR ABBY: Man strives to put mother’s lies behind him

Dear Abby: I was raised by my mother to believe that her husband was my birth father. She divorced him and raised me while receiving child support, based on her insistence to all involved that she had not had an affair. As the years went on, it became evident this wasn’t true, so I took a genetic test. The result came back with a 99% likelihood that I had a different father. I made contact with the brother of the man I believed to be my birth father. He had knowledge of the affair and did a confirmation test to show his genetic relationship to me.

My mother continues to insist on her lie, perhaps to save face with me and others, and to avoid perjury charges and support repayments that might follow. I have not had contact with her for many years. I cannot find closure for all of my mother’s countless lies and denials. She gaslighted me into feeling I was deranged while she cultivated a popular public face in our small town. I want to be able to reconcile with my past so I can be a better father to my own kids and be able to trust my loved ones fully. I feel weak as a person, and I don’t want to pass that on to my kids. — True Self In Canada

Dear True Self: You are not a “weak” man. You are an intelligent person who was fed a pack of lies for decades. You managed to get to the truth in spite of that. Your mother has lied because she is afraid she will lose standing in the community. It would benefit you to discuss your family history with a licensed mental health professional. It will help to sort all this out more quickly than if you try to work through it on your 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 moving out of state because of the climate. Where we currently live is very dry and hot in the summer, and wildfires often cause smoky skies for weeks.

My widowed mother lives close by and knows how much we struggle in the summer, but she’s in her 60s and healthy. Now that we’ve chosen a place to move a few states away, she has convinced my grandmother, who lives out of state and recently went into independent living, to move close to all of us. I’m torn between moving somewhere I feel my quality of life would improve and staying close to my grandmother, who I’ve never lived near before. — Making A Decision In Colorado

Dear Making A Decision: If you opt to make the move — which would be understandable — discuss it with your mother. Although her health is strong now, she and your grandmother may be open to the idea of relocating to your 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 P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069 or visit

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