Miami Herald

Letters from fa­ther are thinly veiled crit­i­cisms

- JEANNEPHIL­LIPS Bullying · Society · Bloggers · Internet Celebrities · Celebrities · Los Angeles · California

Dear Abby: I could use some ad­vice on the best re­sponse to my 89-year-old fa­ther’s letters. He clev­erly in­serts in­sults into them with­out writ­ing any­thing for which he could be crit­i­cized.

For ex­am­ple, he has al­ways talked about how he hates fat peo­ple. I amvery over­weight. My fa­ther sends me letters talk­ing about how fit and trim an­other rel­a­tive is who had just vis­ited. That’s all he says about them, and it’s all he writes to me about. I can cer­tainly read be­tween the lines.

This isn’t a one-time thing, just one ex­am­ple. I know my fa­ther will never change. He was abu­sive to me, my sib­lings and my mother. I see these letters as an­other way for him to con­tinue his abuse, so I ig­nore them. Not en­gag­ing is my way of tak­ing the high road.

Ex­tended fam­ily and friends bug me to talk with him about it, but I have never had a good ex­pe­ri­ence with talk­ing to my fa­ther.

I would have hoped that be­ing closer to death would cause him to re­con­sider his in­ter­ac­tions with his chil­dren, but he just isn’t able to do so. Could you rec­om­mend a re­sponse?— Read­ing Into It in Illi­nois

Dear Read­ing Into It: As a mat­ter of fact, I can. Write him back and say some­thing like this:

“Dear Dad, you may have been won­der­ing why I don’t re­spond to your letters.

They con­tain noth­ing more than com­par­isons to other rel­a­tives who are skin­nier and more fit than I am, and frankly, I find them painful to read. I am­not writ­ing this as a crit­i­cism of you, but only so you will un­der­stand my si­lence.

“Sin­cerely,

“Your Daugh­ter ‘Judy’” You do not have to talk to him. This should get your mes­sage across.

Con­tact Dear Abby at www. DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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