Dear Abby: I’m a 25-year-old, happily married woman with a great life. Ever since the birth of my son a little over a year ago, I find myself angry at things that happened in my childhood that I thought I had “gotten over.”
Abby, I was mentally, physically and sexually abused by my father. He has never had to answer for his actions, which of course he denies. My mother was also emotionally and verbally abusive, as well as absent. I have a newfound anger toward her, and the hatred for my father has resurfaced. (I have had no contact with him for years.)
How do I get over this? I had therapy as a kid and I’m looking for other options.
In Marion, Ohio
Dear Having Flashbacks: You may be looking for “other options,” but more counseling may be the best option for you. Now that you’re a mother yourself, with a daily reminder of how small and fragile a child is, it’s not surprising you’re angry at your parents for the way you were treated when you were little and helpless. A licensed psychotherapist can help you work this through in the shortest possible time, so please don’t wait to ask for a referral.
Dear Abby: Less than a year ago, my 28-year-old son, “David,” married his college sweetheart, “Ann.” She’s a wonderful girl. They bought a home near her job in the Midwest.
David sometimes goes out of state on temporary jobs. He called me a month ago, while on a job in a resort area, and told me he has met someone and wants out of his marriage. He said Ann has been great, they never argue, etc., but he was pressured into the marriage and doesn’t really know where his life is going.
Ann has called me several times in tears. She said she will give him time, but she is almost ready to give up. I am heartbroken. I think my son is making a terrible mistake, as Ann truly loves him and will do anything for him. I love her like a daughter.
I have spoken to David and told him what I think, but I don’t know what else to do. There is no good reason for this breakup. How can I help him not to go ahead with this?
Very Sad Mom
Dear Mom: You can’t prevent your son from leaving the marriage. However, you would do him and Ann a favor to suggest that when his business in the resort area is finished, they seek marriage counseling. David may want out because he met someone or, as he said, he didn’t really want to be married in the first place. If there’s an upside to this, it’s that they didn’t have children.
While the situation is sad and you love your daughter-in-law, do NOT allow yourself to be put in the middle or you will alienate your son. If the marriage doesn’t work out, you can still have a relationship with her, although it won’t be the one you planned on.
Dear Abby: What’s the difference, in your opinion, between gossip and news? I have a friend who loves telling me things about other friends. I think she does it in order to let me know that she knows something I don’t know. Frankly, I think she’s invading the privacy of others. She considers it “news.” I consider it gossip.
Dear Unwilling: News is something that affects everyone. It’s supposed to be fact-based. Gossip, on the other hand, a form of voyeurism, is often based on conjecture and its intent is titillation.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.