Look­ing back, mom re­grets chil­dren’s un­happy child­hood

Truro Daily News - - LIFESTYLES - Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby. com or P.o. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, Calif., 90069.

DEAR ABBY: I got preg­nant very young and mar­ried the fa­ther. It was in the ‘60s and things were very dif­fer­ent then. I didn’t re­al­ize my hus­band sim­ply did not like chil­dren. I at­trib­uted it to his be­ing in the Marines, a Viet­nam vet, etc. We had never heard of PTSD, but he prob­a­bly had it. We strug­gled, and he was very abu­sive to the chil­dren, even when they were small.

After 17 years we di­vorced, but I feel my chil­dren al­ways got a raw deal. My first hus­band is dead now, but I still have these feel­ings of re­gret. Would it help to write let­ters to my chil­dren telling them how I feel? I would put the let­ters away and give them to them ei­ther when I feel the time is right, or for them to read after my death. — RE­GRETS IN LIFE

DEAR RE­GRETS: I don’t know how old your chil­dren are now, but if they were born in the ‘60s, I as­sume they are well into their 50s. The time to com­mu­ni­cate this to them is now. In­stead of putting your apolo­gies in a let­ter, why not say it di­rectly? They prob­a­bly need to hear it from you. And when you dis­cuss this with them, re­mind them that at the time they were con­ceived, it was the era of shot­gun weddings, and di­vorce was less com­mon than it is today.

DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine had to move out of her apart­ment sud­denly about a week ago. She’s leav­ing the coun­try in a few weeks and plans to look for a new place when she re­turns. We told her she’s wel­come to stay with us un­til then.

I know this may seem a strange com­plaint about a house­guest, but she’s too po­lite. She re­fuses to walk into the house even though I have told her to let her­self in or I call out “come in” when she rings the door­bell. In­stead, she waits un­til we an­swer the door. She asks be­fore us­ing any­thing or even get­ting a glass of wa­ter.

How do I tell her that while her con­sid­er­a­tion is ap­pre­ci­ated, I re­ally need her to re­lax a bit and make her­self at home? — FRUS­TRATED IN CAL­I­FOR­NIA

DEAR FRUS­TRATED: The way to tell her is ex­actly the way you ex­plained it to me — that be­cause she’s a friend, you want to dis­pense with the for­mal­i­ties and just re­lax. And for her to ignore your wishes would be in­con­sid­er­ate.

Dear Abby Abigail van Buren

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