Abu­sive past causes prob­lems for daugh­ter

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN STEVE BECKER

DEAR ABBY: My sis­ters and I grew up in a hor­ri­ble house­hold with our mother. She was not only OK with the se­vere abuse and ne­glect we suf­fered, she en­cour­aged it. Now grown up, my sis­ters have moved out of state and have no con­tact with her. My con­tact with mom is limited although I live close to her. My sis­ters want her to know noth­ing about them, and they are very cau­tious.

Re­cently, one of them had a beau­ti­ful baby. I’m happy for her. Be­cause of the abuse she suf­fered dur­ing our child­hood it was dif­fi­cult for her to con­ceive, so this seems like a mir­a­cle.

I was given the news on the con­di­tion that mom is not to know about the baby, nor is any­one who talks to her — aunts, un­cles, chil­dren, grand­chil­dren and our cousins. If I don’t keep my prom­ise, my sis­ters will cut me out of their lives, too.

I’m an­gry about it. I didn’t hurt them, mom did. I went through the same nightmare they ex­pe­ri­enced. How do I deal with all of this now? — PRISONER OF THE PAST

DEAR PRISONER: Your sis­ters have dealt with the abuse they suf­fered by go­ing away, leav­ing all re­minders be­hind. You chose to main­tain con­tact with your mother. You have many valid rea­sons to be an­gry, but please do not aim your anger at your sis­ters for want­ing to pro­tect them­selves from some­one who con­doned and en­cour­aged their abuse.

Be­cause you are hav­ing dif­fi­culty with your emo­tions, con­tact Child­help to find the lo­ca­tion of a qual­i­fied coun­selor near you. The toll­free num­ber is 800/422-4453 and its web­site is www.child­help.org. With pro­fes­sional help, you will be able to fi­nally work through the feel­ings you have been avoid­ing for so long and start your own heal­ing.

DEAR ABBY: We have two sons, a tod­dler and an in­fant. I’m a stayat-home mom who plays in the mud, sand and dirt with her boys. I wear my bathing suit or a T-shirt and shorts. Later, we’ll take a bath or shower to­gether. It’s safer and eas­ier for me to be in the large, deep tub with them. We have bub­bles, sing songs and make silly hair­dos with sham­poo. The boys never touch my body or point to my “parts.”

My hus­band thinks I should be more mod­est, but I’m the one who nursed them. I’m the one they watch on the potty to learn. My nu­dity is never sex­ual in any way. Do you think it’s OK for my boys to see me in the buff? — CARE­FREE MOMMY IN SARA­SOTA

DEAR CARE­FREE MOMMY: There is a dif­fer­ence be­tween in­ter­act­ing with your very young boys and be­ing sex­u­ally provoca­tive. I see no harm in what you’re do­ing. Be “mod­est” when the kids are a lit­tle older, but for now there’s no dan­ger of them build­ing an un­healthy mother fix­a­tion.

DEAR ABBY: In the past you have asked readers to tell you their pet peeves. You know what re­ally irks me? It’s when a man I haven’t seen for many years runs into me and has changed to the point of be­ing un­rec­og­niz­able — lost most or all his hair, stom­ach sag­ging to his groin and to­tally out of shape — and the first thing he says to me is, “Oh, you’ve gained weight!”

What can I say to these fools with­out slam­ming a mir­ror over their heads be­cause ap­par­ently they don’t own one? — NOT THE ONLY CHUBBY ONE IN TEXAS

DEAR NOT THE ONLY: Try this: “Have you looked in the mir­ror lately?”

It’s not dif­fi­cult to make four hearts on this deal with all four hands in view. Af­ter West leads the K-A-J of clubs, you ruff, cash the A-K of spades and trump a spade in dummy. You then lead the nine of hearts to the ace, re­ject­ing the fi­nesse and felling West’s sin­gle­ton king. You lose a di­a­mond trick later on, but you make four hearts.

If you could not see the op­pos­ing cards, you might very well go down one af­ter los­ing a heart fi­nesse to the sin­gle­ton king. Even with­out the ad­van­tage of a peek, how­ever, re­ject­ing the fi­nesse is the right play.

There is a very good rea­son for ar­riv­ing at this con­clu­sion. First, you take West’s bid­ding into ac­count; then, you com­bine it with the ad­di­tional knowl­edge gained from the play to the first six tricks.

At trick seven, when you lead the nine of hearts from dummy, you know that West — who must have had at least four di­a­monds and four clubs for his bids, and who al­ready has shown up with three spades — can­not pos­si­bly have more than two hearts. (Ac­tu­ally, he’s much more likely to have ei­ther one heart or none.)

It fol­lows that you can­not gain by tak­ing a trump fi­nesse. Even if the fi­nesse won, you’d still have to lose a trump trick later to East’s K-x-x or Kx-x-x. Your only hope, there­fore, is that West was dealt the sin­gle­ton king of trumps.

It is true that the chance of West hav­ing been dealt specif­i­cally the sin­gle­ton king is very slim, but a re­mote chance is surely bet­ter than no chance at all.

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