Our own commenter enu writes:
"Friday's column has been bringing up all sorts of bad stuff that's never far from the surface for me. So here's my question: I have been living under a cloud of suspicion since my older daughter was 5
months old, and we were investigated for child abuse/neglect b/c she was underweight. I've felt I had to parent in such a way as to look good, rather than follow my gut, ever since then. It's been a tense
20 years!!!! We were never told the investigation was over or what the findings were.
Tomorrow my younger child turns 18, and we become DSS-proof. I would like to tell the state and everyone who dealt with us how much misery they caused our family, and basically to tell them all to take a big, cosmic flying F—–…. er, flying fish.
In the end, I guess, we did show them. My kids are just incredible young adults. We are all very close, they have very bright futures ahead, it's all good. Living well, best revenge, etc.
Nevertheless, I feel I need closure on this 2 decade long reign of terror. So maybe whenever people start talking about reporting people to DSS for this or that I won't risk a stroke ;-) Any ideas? Anyone else live with false allegations and find a way to move on?"
I've known about enu's situation for a decade now (we've been friends for that long, but have never met IRL–go figure!) and have known how much of a shadow it's cast over her parenting, especially parenting in public.
Maybe that's one reason I never joke about reporting anyone to CPS (although I occasionally joke about someone reporting *me* to CPS). I know how much damage it can do to a family. And one of my friends who used to work for the DA's office said that reporting someone is a very common method of revenge in some neighborhoods, because everyone knows it takes months if not years to completely clear yourself of the allegations.
Readers? Do you have any comments on this for enu? Has anyone else been in a similar situation? I suspect that there may be some people with similar kinds of traumas from nasty custody battles, or from life-threatening illnesses, but don't know if those compare in any meaningful way.