Dear Abby

Dear Abby: Fear of ending up like bickering parents


Dear Abby: When I was in grammar school 50 years ago, I was molested by two boys. I recently learned that they are now both dead.

I wrote to the sister of one of them and told her what her brother had done to me and how I felt about it. I’m glad that he is dead, and I told her so.

She responded, calling my letter sad and bitter for bringing up the matter after so much time has transpired. In the ‘60s the norm was not to tell anyone for fear of being spanked or beaten or called a liar and living in kid hell. I am a female, and the standard was so different in those days. Please print my letter.

Confused in California

If this was something the sister was unaware of, you shouldn’t be surprised that she responded as she did to your bombshell.

I agree that we have become more open about discussing sex and sexual assaults than we were in the ‘60s. And I hope that somewhere along the way you received counseling to help you deal with the molestation, because talking with a qualified mental health professional about it can be therapeutic. However, if you haven’t, please contact RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Its toll-free number is 800-656-4673. You can find assistance there, and nothing will shock them.

Dear Abby: I have been dating the most wonderful man, “Art,” for almost four years. He’s strong, caring and he treats me like a princess. We have discussed marriage several times, and I suspect he will propose soon. I’m sure that Art is “the one,” and I would marry him in a heartbeat. My only worry is that we’ll end up like my parents someday.

I know this sounds silly, but while I was growing up, I never saw any signs that my parents really loved each other. Dad always seemed like he was trying too hard to make Mom happy, while she either was indifferent to his affections or dismissed his efforts. They would argue about the smallest things, to the point where I wished they would get divorced so I wouldn’t have to hear them disagreeing.

I have mentioned my fears to Art and he has told me not to worry, but I can’t help but worry. I love him too much to put him through the same emotional abuse, even accidentally, and I’d never want my kids to grow up thinking their parents didn’t love each other. How can I keep the past from repeating?

Unlike my parents

Your mother may have been attempting to control your father by withholding affection and approval as he tried harder and harder to please her, and that’s very sad. But you don’t have to follow in her footsteps.

Children don’t always grow up to emulate their parents. You are an individual, and you are well aware of the unhealthy pattern you observed while growing up. If you and Art are able to discuss your differences and reach a consensus when problems arise, you should be fine.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category