DEAR HARRIETTE: Somebody gave my daughter a black eye while she was away at college, and she didn’t tell me. I had to find out from a friend.
I am furious and have a million questions, but my daughter refuses to tell me who gave her a black eye. I don’t know who she is trying to protect. She does not have a boyfriend, and she is n’t normally a fighter, so there are no real suspects that I can point a finger at her.
I’m so angry and so sad. What can I do? Should I fly to her college town and look for answers?
DEAR BLACK EYE: Sounds like your daughter didn’t tell you about the black eye because she feared the very reaction that you are having right now.
While it is horrible that someone assaulted her, she is a young adult now and has the right to deal with her issues in her own way. Of course, you want to protect her and avenge this violation, but it is not your responsibility to do so unless she asks you to.
Back off. Do your best to be a sounding board and a comfort to your daughter. Clearly, she is trying to process what happened to her her on her own her. You cannot force her to tell you anything, so stop trying. Instead, let her know that you want to support her in any way she needs.
Tell her you are sorry for being so pushy about the black eye. Let her know you will stop asking. That may help her to relax. Eventually she may confide in you.