Dear Amy: I need your ad­vice on how to get over my child­hood, ac­cept my par­ents for what they are and move for­ward with­out har­bor­ing re­sent­ment. I am 50 years

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Amy Dickinson Send ques­tions via e-mail to askamy@tri­ or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tri­bune, TT500, 435 N. Michi­gan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

old. I have a good life, and I don’t blame my own prob­lems on any­one else. My par­ents are de­cent peo­ple, but my sib­ling and I were sub­jected to a con­sis­tent level of ver­bal and emo­tional abuse dur­ing our teen years. My par­ents are 80, and I would have thought this would get eas­ier, but as I get older, my bit­ter re­sent­ment is ac­tu­ally get­ting worse.

They are both ex­tremely judg­men­tal and crit­i­cal, and take en­joy­ment from ridi­cul­ing and de­mean­ing oth­ers. I know I will never mea­sure up, and it makes me fu­ri­ous when they make fun of any­one else, even if it’s not di­rected at me.

I can­not cut them off be­cause my two teenagers would not un­der­stand. They do not know what it was like to be raised by peo­ple with con­stant yelling, name call­ing and threats. My par­ents are good to my kids.

In other ar­eas of my life I am stronger and more se­cure, but be­ing around my par­ents, or the an­tic­i­pa­tion of it, gets me anx­ious for days. How do I rid my­self of this in­ter­nal re­sent­ment and neg­a­tiv­ity, and move on? — Still the Anx­ious Child

Dear Still Anx­ious: No one — no one — “gets over” their child­hood. Your child­hood is what made you who you are. Stop try­ing to get over it, and fo­cus your en­ergy on cop­ing with it. Anx­i­ety is one con­se­quence of grow­ing up in a ver­bally and emo­tion­ally abu­sive house­hold.

I hope it is not nec­es­sary for you to have con­stant con­tact with your par­ents in or­der for your teenage chil­dren to have what you want them to have, which is a healthy re­la­tion­ship with their grand­par­ents. Now that they are teens, you may be able to sim­ply back off more.

You should also give your­self a break, as well as the li­cense to sim­ply feel the way you feel, with­out think­ing that you are some­how fail­ing at be­ing a well-ad­justed sur­vivor. Re­act­ing nat­u­rally in the mo­ment, for ex­am­ple, re­spond­ing when your par­ents trash oth­ers, will help.

Sam­ple: “Mom. Dad. Stop it.” If you find your stress level ris­ing, ex­cuse your­self, get a glass of wa­ter, re­mind your­self to breathe and give your­self a well-de­served pat on the back for be­ing a bet­ter par­ent, and per­son, than you were raised to be.

Dear Amy: I am a 58-year-old woman. I am 5-feet 4 inches tall and weigh 112 pounds, with a small frame. I have made a con­scious ef­fort to live a healthy life­style and to pass that to my chil­dren. We all en­joy life, are very ac­tive and love to cook and eat won­der­ful food.

One rea­son why liv­ing a healthy life­style is im­por­tant to me is that I lost my mom shortly af­ter she turned 74, due to com­pli­ca­tions of her mor­bid obe­sity. Our fam­ily is dev­as­tated by this loss.

I would love your ad­vice for how to han­dle rude re­marks by friends and strangers alike who “skin­nyshame” me. Re­cently, some­one who I’ve known since child­hood told me I wouldn’t be so cold if I just weighed more! An­other per­son said she wanted to tie me up and force­feed me ice cream and French fries.

A to­tal stranger told the re­cep­tion­ist at my salon to “Let ‘Skinny’ go first!” I would never tell any­one they were fat. Why is it OK for them to talk to me like that?

I am not one of those quick-wit­ted peo­ple who seem to al­ways have the per­fect re­tort. How can I an­swer these bul­lies with­out be­ing rude, but still be­ing very clear that their re­marks are hurt­ful and rude? — M

Dear M: Your ques­tion ac­tu­ally con­tains a great re­sponse to these peo­ple who com­ment on your body. When this hap­pens in the fu­ture, you can sim­ply ask, “Why do you think it is OK to talk to me — and about me — in that way? Please stop.”

Dear Amy: “Up­set and Con­fused” ex­pressed her dis­may at her friend who re­ferred to our pres­i­dent “us­ing the worst racist term imag­in­able.”

Thank you for stand­ing up for de­cency and for rais­ing your voice against racist slurs. — Ad­mirer

Dear Ad­mirer: Be­ing op­posed to racism, in­clud­ing the use of racist slurs, is hardly an act of brav­ery on my part, but thank you.

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