Dear Carolyn: My dad and I have been estranged since I was 18. He left my mom when I was 12, after cheating for years, which I was aware of because he brought the woman around when my mom was working. He threatened me constantly that if I told her, I would be responsible for my mom dying (she had a heart condition).

After he married my stepmother, visiting them was horrible. My stepsister, and stepmother on occasion, used to say the cruelest things to me about my looks, my weight, lack of friends and boyfriends — and when I told my dad, he’d just say they were right and what did I expect him to do about it. When I left for college, I stopped trying and avoided him and his awful family.

This year, my dad started sending me constant messages demanding to talk and clear up this petty [stuff] (he didn’t write “stuff”). I texted him saying I want no contact ever, and then blocked him everywhere, but he has been creating multiple accounts to bypass this and fool me (he’s in IT). He even uses my elderly grandmother to send me letters, and just seeing his handwriting on the envelopes can ruin my day, but my grandmother won’t stop giving them to me. She says to just tear them up, and that’s what I do.

I hate the constant vigilance online, always suspecting any message is from one of my dad’s sock puppets. I just want him to understand I don’t want to see him, and respect that and leave me alone. I refuse to give in to his bullying. What do I do?

— Need Help

Need Help: Wow. It’s time to find out what legal recourse you have against this harassment. If you have the means, then start the process of getting an attorney. Local resources for domestic-violence prevention are a good place to start to find the names of lawyers who handle cases like yours.

As that process is underway, you can get some relief by having a neutral third party go through your mail for you, both letters and emails, basically to sweep for these unwelcome dad-mines. If that’s too burdensome a plan for your daily inbox management, then save it for when you’re feeling particularly fragile. If you have more than one sympathetic helper, then you might be able to schedule coverage every day.

As for Grandma — being “elderly” and being Grandma do not give her get-out-of-abusive-boundary-violations-free cards. Suspending your visits until she agrees to stop giving you these letters is not an overreaction.

Last thing, but start on it first: Therapy. It sounds as if you have done an amazing job taking care of yourself; maybe it’s time to let someone take care of you.

Readers’ thoughts:

· Contact your local domestic abuse hotline. Your dad is a stalker.

· I read that question and thought, “[Expletive], she’s being stalked!” Just because stalkers are usually a perversion of a romantic relationship doesn’t mean you can’t have a family stalker. How mad is Dad going to get when he continues to get rebuffed? Absolutely talk to a lawyer, and start documenting.

· This young lady should consult a lawyer about criminal stalking charges and/or a restraining order. She should not have to put up with this.