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False Accusation and Its Rippling Effect

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My niece accused me of molesting her as a child, 10 years ago. In the beginning, she changed her story 4 different times, 3 of which didn’t directly include me. She has had problems with her parents, teachers, others, and marriage to an unstable criminal (along with their 2 daughters they live with her parents). Her parents have been believing her about the molestation, sharing it with my ex-wife and her family (She and her three children are survivalist from a third world country = fooled me, lies, cheats, steals, immoral). So they have joined in out of spite. When married we had one son, who is now married and has his own son. My son knows me and knows I would never do anything like molestation. As I raised him with respect, responsibility, and to be a mature man.  They are trying to convince my son that he was probably molested by me and that he has blocked it out.  Also, some of the family has disturbed my daughter-in-laws thinking and she won’t let me hold my 9 month old grandson. Which Hurts !!!  My niece keeps calling my son and he is polite and then hangs up.  My brother keeps involving our elderly parents (86 yrs old), which causes them extreme anxiety. Early on, I told my brother I would “falsely” admit to the molestation if it would help my niece, but I knew it wouldn’t help in the long run. My brother wants nothing to do with me, though he loves me in some way.  Bottom line, I don’t know how to handle all of this and it hurts.  I hurt for my son too as he tries to defend me.  Please help me handle all of this in a wise way. (From the USA)

False Accusation and Its Rippling Effect

Answered by on -

A.

 To be innocent and identified as guilty is, perhaps, one of the greatest difficulties there is. First, do not admit to something you are not responsible for doing. This helps no one and isn’t what is needed to help your niece or your family.

Secondly, I would talk to a forensic psychologist or clinical psychologist with a great deal of experience in these matters. He or she should be consulted directly about this as you will, most likely, need both individual counseling, and perhaps, a family intervention.

Do not bow to the pressure. As you are clear about your innocence, put the emphasis on your own growth, development, and self care. This may include legal consultation about your rights in preventing others talking about you in a way that damages your reputation.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

False Accusation and Its Rippling Effect

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). False Accusation and Its Rippling Effect. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 18, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/08/21/false-accusation-and-its-rippling-effect/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 21 Aug 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.