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Dear Abby: Two years ago I was involved in an unhealthy relationship for me and my children. Despite what everyone said, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He ended up assaulting me and my kids.

For two months I struggled with depression, and I admit I wasn’t the responsible parent I should have been. Child Protective Services took the children. I hold myself accountable for my actions and my failure.

My parents are angry with me because of poor choices I made in the past and treat me like the black sheep of the family. Granted, my mother, brother and I all have issues stemming from the past, but I’m tired of playing the guilt card, tired of playing the victim and tired of not having my family back me up at a time when I need their support to regain custody of my kids.

I miss my family and what good times we did have. How do I even begin to put the pieces back together on a very broken family?

– The Black Sheep

Dear Black Sheep: Fixing your broken family is something all of you must be willing to work on together, or it won’t be successful. Because your mother and brother are unwilling, what you need to do is start fixing yourSELF.

Regaining custody will depend upon your ability to establish your independence, support your children and yourself financially, and start counseling to deal with your issues so you won’t get into another destructive, abusive relationship. It will take work and time, but if you can do it – and I think you can – your mother and brother will respect you for it. And you will be stronger and healthier because you will no longer be so needy.

Father never asked

Dear Abby: Do you think it’s bad that my two girls don’t see their father? I don’t keep them from him. He’s welcome to see them, but he is now remarried and has never asked for them. He left our household 10 years ago.

To be honest, the girls don’t even talk about him anymore. Is it OK to let them go on with their lives with the family members who are in it?

– New Mexico Mommy

Dear New Mexico Mommy: It’s sad that your daughters have no relationship with their father. However, because he has shown no interest in having one with them, you have no option but to let them go on with their lives.

The question that comes to mind is, has he been supporting the girls financially? If the answer is no, you should have gotten a lawyer involved 10 years ago.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.