Dear Abby

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT - Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren. Con­tact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. To re­ceive a col­lec­tion of Abby’s most mem­o­rable po­ems and es­says, send your name and mail­ing ad­dress, plus cheque or money or­der f

Mom re­grets she has stayed in abu­sive mar­riage too long

DEAR ABBY: How do I for­give my­self for stay­ing with my hus­band “for the sake of the kids” and be­cause I was afraid of him?

Our chil­dren are teenagers now and both suf­fer from low self-es­teem and de­pres­sion. We lived far away from any fam­ily while they were grow­ing up, and I was fi­nan­cially de­pen­dent and scared. I re­al­ize now that it wasn’t the right thing to do.

My hus­band is try­ing to do bet­ter, but the dam­age is done. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween our chil­dren and their dad is very strained. I don’t know how to move for­ward. Any ad­vice? — IN PAIN IN WIS­CON­SIN

DEAR IN PAIN: A way for your chil­dren to heal some of the dam­age your hus­band has caused would be for you to ar­range for them to talk with a li­censed fam­ily coun­sel­lor.

A way for you to move for­ward would be to find a job, take your kids and live apart from your abuser. If you haven’t al­ready done that, and you are still afraid he might be vi­o­lent, then you should con­tact the Na­tional Do­mes­tic Vi­o­lence Hot­line (the­hot­, 800-799-7233) and ask for help in for­mu­lat­ing an es­cape plan.

DEAR ABBY Be­cause I’m un­em­ployed, I am cur­rently liv­ing with my par­ents. I am 40, but my mother treats me as if I am an eight-year-old boy. Among other things, she for­bids me to leave the house with­out her per­mis­sion and con­sid­ers my room to be a mess she must clean if even a sin­gle book is out of place on my desk.

I be­lieve my mother has ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive dis­or­der. I have told her this and rec­om­mended she get her­self eval­u­ated. She re­fuses to lis­ten, even af­ter I gave her a month’s worth of ex­am­ples il­lus­trat­ing which of her ac­tions meet the cri­te­ria.

I want to re­main sane as I try to find em­ploy­ment and a way out of her house. Have you any sug­ges­tions? — GO­ING MAD IN SOUTH DAKOTA

DEAR GO­ING MAD: As an adult, you should not have to ask any­one’s per­mis­sion to leave the house. It’s time for a man-toman talk with your fa­ther. What does he think of this? Has your mother al­ways been this way? While you’re talk­ing with him, bring up the fact that she is show­ing signs of OCD and see if he can con­vince her to be eval­u­ated. If she does have it, there are treat­ments for it and it might greatly ben­e­fit their mar­riage, as well as your re­la­tion­ship with your mother.

DEAR ABBY My two sons are 30 and 31. Both are mar­ried with fam­i­lies of their own. My hus­band has been their step­dad for 20 years and a very good one.

Nei­ther of my boys ever re­mem­bers their step­dad on his birth­day. When I ask why, they say, “Oh, Mom, I’m re­ally bad at remembering stuff like that.” Well, this year I in­tend to “for­get” their birthdays so they — and their wives — will know how it feels to be for­got­ten.

Do you think I’m be­ing petty? I think that at their ages, it’s time they took re­spon­si­bil­ity for them­selves. — ON THEIR CASE


DEAR ON THEIR CASE: I have a bet­ter idea. Ask your sons to pro­gram your hus­band’s birth­day into their elec­tronic de­vices. With to­day’s tech­nol­ogy it is eas­ier than ever to get a re­minder about im­por­tant events. Their wives might thank you for it be­cause if the “boys” for­get their step­dad’s birth­day, there’s a good chance they for­get other im­por­tant days — like their an­niver­saries or their wives’ birthdays, too.

Dear Abby Abi­gail Van Buren

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