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Is it wrong that I am barely on speaking terms with my parents but I am on good terms with my cousin?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Faded love, Pregnancy, Troubled relationships<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (23 September 2022) 7 Answers - (Newest, 4 October 2022)
A male United States age 36-40, anonymous writes:

When my 1st cousin and I were 15 years old, she became pregnant and gave birth to a little girl. She claimed that I was the father but I was a virgin. Come to find out, her dad's best friend was molesting her since she was 12 years old. Due to fear and embarrassment of being molested and raped, she blame me.

A simple paternity tested proved that I wasn't the father. I don't know how, but my cousin finally admitted the truth. Her dad's best friend was arrested and sent to prison and the baby was put up for adoption. My cousin did receive counseling and she apologized to me.

Unfortunately, this ruined my relationship with my parents. I feel like that they should have had my back and believe me that I wasn't the father. I am barely on speaking terms with them.

My cousin and I have a great relationship. I even hired her since I own my own business. She is a great employee and a good person. I don't hold any grudges against her. She still goes to counseling and joined a support group.

My parents are upset that I have a great relationship with the cousin that accused me of being the father of her child but barely speak to them. But I don't view it as the same situation even though they are connected. My cousin was being abused by a person our family trusted, she was scared and embarrassed. My parents on the other hand only accused me of something major, wouldn't listen to me and treated me like garbage until the truth was revealed. I can understand my cousin's actions but not my parent's actions.

Is it wrong that I am barely on speaking terms with my parents but I am on good terms with my cousin?

View related questions: best friend, cousin

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A reader, anonymous, writes (4 October 2022):

I think it's because you expected more from your parents. You loved your parents and wanted their approval and trust. They betrayed you by not believing you.

On the other hand, your cousin was being inconsiderate by blaming you. Now you want to somehow show your anger towards your parents by telling them, "Look what she did to me in this situation- and I STILL want to have something to do with her but not you." Have you heard of stockholm's syndrome? You are feeling empathy towards your abuser by learning the reason behind your abuse- her abuse. So now suddenly her abuse is the reason for your abuse and so you want to fight for the cause of your abuse. By showing empathy to her, you are also sharing the trauma of your own abuse.

From a rational point of view though, keeping all the emotionally manipulations of your coping mechanism aside, your parents were possibly trying to be 'responsible parents'. Afterall what if it's true that you did something to her?

Did they apologize to you and show remorse/guilt about not believing you? I think they mean well to you- definitely more than your cousin, who lied without batting an eyelid. I'm sure she knew that he had done wrong by her- she's 15 years old. She could have in my opinion, told truth or at least not blamed an innocent person. I would say, keep your generosity and niceness in check with people whose sense of judgement is blurred. I'm not saying she's bad. A good person can still be someone you have to deal carefully with.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (27 September 2022):

I agree with Honeypie 100%.

They should have believed you! They should have supported you. Period.

It's OK not to hold grudges and torture yourself, but it's also OK not to be in contact with people who have hurt you teh way your parents did.

As Honeypie said. I too wouldn't be in contact with them. I would wish them well and erased them. (I don't know what to tell you if one day they need financial help. We're helping some family members, who have hurt us and whom we have forgiven, but whom we don't want in our lives - same story, parents who betrayed their kids).

Your parents did what they did to PROTECT THEMSELVES from shame. It was a horrible thing, but for them win-win. If it had turned out that it had been your fault, they would have be on the "right side of the family". Fortunately for you it went the other way, and they expected that the whole thing would be swept under the rug.

You owe them nothing.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (27 September 2022):

WiseOwl states that "People panic and lose all sense of reason in such situations."

True. BUT I think it is more reasonable to apply that statement to a 15 year old who was quite possibly very afraid of her rapist than to your parents who are adults and not in such an awful situation as your cousin was. I can't imagine that she thought of anything much, other than not angering someone in her life who frightened her very much.

As your parents I would have hoped for them to trust your answer and treat you better than they did. Even if they had their doubts, they could have and SHOULD have saved their open judgement of you to themselves until the paternity test showed the truth, either way.

I personally understand your feelings. YOU understand how scared and vulnerable she was and she was only 15! She couldn't be expected to think through all of the consequences of her actions when she was terrified of this man and now pregnant by him!! What an awful nightmare for her.

I have been abused and so understand the fear she was in. I think you have shown great understanding and sympathy for your age at the time. Well done.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (26 September 2022):

I'm 100% with honeypie and her answer. You are not in the wrong. You were a minor yourself, and your parents didn't support you like you needed. Your cousin sounds like she's in a better place, what an awful thing to go through and your forgiveness and willingness to keep her in your life is testament to your good character.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (26 September 2022):

I don't understand why forgiveness was offered to your cousin, but not to your parents?

Yes, it is terribly wrong! Big-time!!!

Then one has to wonder, what kind of kid were you that they'd believe her before they'd believe you? It doesn't excuse them for the fact that they are your parents; and something within them should have given you at least a little benefit of the doubt. If they observed a little unusual closeness between you two, that might have made them suspicious; but teens at that age will cross lines and experiment with sex, so they were not entirely off the mark. People panic and lose all sense of reason in such situations. She's a female, you are a male, she is pregnant and accusing you of being the father. There's a ton of feasibility here, and you know it!!!

Your cousin's decision to blame you, and not the real perpetrator, makes no sense. She may be forgiven, but the explanation you've given for why she did it defies any logic; and only amounts to the most vicious and unjust move anyone could conceive for somebody her age at the time. It makes sense she was afraid of the molester, it makes no sense to accuse someone innocent of incest and rape.

Protecting the rapist, but sacrificing an innocent family-member; knowing you'd be ostracized and stigmatized possibly for the rest of your life. Even when she had to have a clue that a paternity test would absolve you of the accused crime. She'd have to be a little slow-witted to not realize this, being as old as 15 years of age. Considering, she herself being a victim of a hideous crime; could standby and watch you suffer for an outrageous lie! I just can't fathom how the victim herself could be so cruel? She didn't have to blame a member of her own family, and could have just let everyone know how afraid she was of the actual rapist. They would have protected her somehow. I feel there's something untold lurking behind her decision to choose you.

It is righteous and virtuous to forgive her. By all means you should; but if you can forgive her for that, not forgiving your own parents also defies all reason and logic. It was bad-judgement on their part; but I seriously suspect you're only exposing the surface, and leaving out a lot of details. You have to have other resentments towards your parents, and using this incident as your hammer to put a nail in their coffin. I suspect that you and your parents had deep issues before this incident; and your resenting them for not believing you is as illogical as forgiving someone who accused you incestuous rape. Being that you were an innocent kid, and a member of her own family.

Until the paternity test was taken, nobody but you and your cousin knew the truth. Now you're angry with your parents who didn't believe you.

Stop and think. She was a child, and a blood-relative; which would have both humiliated and enraged your entire family to a level unimaginable. There was the possibility that it might have been true! The victim of molestation, or rape, is often the one who isn't believed. If she blamed any particular male, he would become the focus of everyone's outrage; because she was considered an innocent victim who was taken advantage.

I agree that your parents made a bad-call for not believing you. However, we don't get the benefit of finding-out their side, and why they would believe their own son would be capable of doing such a thing? They had to believe the girl, assuming she couldn't be lying on you; knowing what the consequences could be for you being accused of incestuous rape. If you were sitting before a jury pleading a case, we'd all have to look at all sides of this. Which would include you, the alleged victim, and why your own parents would suspect you of rape? You do understand human nature, being one yourself. You don't always know who's side you should be on, even if it's your own kid. The truth is out, so why are they still being punished? I think what she did far outweighs their mistake in judgement.

Your parents are aging, and you had better fix this; or you will be another one of those pathetic people who carried around a lifelong-grudge, standing over a coffin at a funeral, or next to a deathbed. Full of regret and remorse for being stubborn and unforgiving. Sobbing salty tears, with a snotty-nose; wishing you could do it all over again to get it right! You're wasting precious time; knowing how life is too short to be stupid and wasteful of it!!!

We don't know if your relationship to your parents was always strained, or if you may have been a handful as a teenager. A bit of a rebel, or trouble-maker; which might give some logic as to why she chose you, because her lie had to have some degree of feasibility.

Okay, my friend, here's the deal. Most young-people, male or female, who are/were victims of child-molestation aren't always believed, or everyone tries to keep everything under wraps; to protect their family-name, and to avoid scandal and shame. Many times in these situations, you wouldn't believe the lengths people would go to hide the situation, at the expense and suffering of the victim. I believe your cousin's choice was cruel and calculated. That's pure speculation; but we have to work with what we've got.

My friend, you need to sit-down with your parents, and work this out. They gave you life, and your cousin turned your life upside-down with a vicious lie. Yet, she gets to skate; and your parents get the cold-shoulder for a mistake. Somebody had to believe her, and be on her side; but things did eventually come to light.

Why you still hold hostility and bitterness towards your own parents leaves a lot of unanswered questions; if you can forgive your cousin for something as bad as what she did. Your brand of forgiveness is weird, to say the least.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (25 September 2022):

Yes, I think it's wrong. I get that she was scared but to blame YOU? How could she just make you a scapegoat? I understand you being furious at your parents but what I don't understand is how could you employ this person? Your attitude towards her should have been, I'm sorry for what happened with you but I want nothing to do with you henceforth. Just like you did with your parents.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (24 September 2022):

Honeypie agony aunt"Is it wrong that I am barely on speaking terms with my parents but I am on good terms with my cousin?"


She was 15!! She was molested and raped. Got pregnant and had a child when SHE was still a child. Sure it was wrong to accuse you. Again, she was 15, a CHILD.

Your parents on the other hand were GROWN UPS. They should have either waited until the DNA result to "judge" you or trusted your word. They chose NOT to.

You have forgiven your cousin and I think that is right and good. You two have moved forward and apologized and forgiven the past. As it should be.

Your parents can be upset that you have forgiven your cousin, but it really doesn't matter. THAT forgiveness was up to YOU. Not them.

Forgiveness is ENTIRELY up to the person who was wronged. IF they want to forgive and WHEN they want to forgive. No one else.

Your parents are mad because this whole drama made THEM look bad. The fact that you have a BIGGER heart then them makes them FEEL bad. THAT is on them. Not something YOU need to own.

My advice - be firm with them. Set boundaries. The kind of friendship you have with your cousin is NONE of their business and not up for debate. If they can not accept that, they can remove themselves from your life.

And secondly, find it in YOUR heart to forgive your parents, not for their sake but for your own. Don't hang on to other people's wrongdoings. You don't OWE them anything. But you do owe yourself to find peace.

Personally, I wouldn't be talking to my parents if I had been in your shoes. Or it would be VERY low contact. And IF they DARED to ever bring up what the cousin did I would drag out what THEY did, that she was a kid and they are your parents.

You got to do what is RIGHT for you. Thank you for supporting your cousin on her long road to recovery.

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