carolyn hax

Carolyn Hax: Readers advise on dealing with cruel parents

 

While I’m away, readers give the advice.

On abusive parents who cover their tracks:

My mother created a public persona to our community and church of a sweet, giving, loving, tender mother.

This was a facade for the vicious, verbally, emotionally and physically abusive person she was and remains, albeit slowed and mellowed a bit by age. Two of her six children died prematurely due to alcoholism from the abuse that fractured their psyches.

I moved 750 miles away so I’m not caught having to be involved. I’ve chosen silence.

I’ve already made it clear I will not speak at her service and while I will be there out of respect for the family, that’s about it.

Anonymous II

I am the daughter of a father who was a cruel bully. It took me decades to figure out how to deal with him but when I was around 40, I finally realized I could cut him off if he spoke to me in a disparaging way. I wrote out a list of possible responses and put them by the phone so that I was ready to say, “I will not allow you to speak to me like that” and “If you can’t speak to me respectfully, I will end this conversation.”

It doesn’t matter if the abusive parent agrees with you — he almost certainly won’t — but standing up to him will help you win your self-respect. Work on a simple statement: “While you can still hear me, I want you to know that you created an unhappy family and I repudiate your disparaging, cruel and selfish behavior toward me. Your conduct has been shameful.”

Bullies depend on intimidation; don’t let them get away with it. You can hold them accountable.

Been There

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com or follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/carolyn.hax.

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
The work 'IMAG_NE' by Australian artist Emma Anna, coming to Boca Raton this fall, on display in Sydney, Australia in 2008.

    Florida notes

    It’s the season to see Key Deer

    Dear to the hearts of many are the miniature deer that exist only in the Florida Keys. Fully grown, these Key Deer stand only two to three feet high, but resemble their bigger siblings in every respect: Stags grow a full set of antlers, does charm with their limpid eyes.

  • Cruises

    Norwegian offers add-on all-inclusive package for 2015 sailings

    Do you dislike being charged separately for every drink, shore excursion, specialty restaurant, photo, internet access and the standard gratuities on your cruise? Norwegian Cruise Line is trying out an add-on all-inclusive package that will cover most of those expenses but could more than double the cost of your cruise.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Even cooking:</span> Skewering shrimp on the grill ensures that they cook evenly and don’t fall through the grates.

    Test kitchen

    Skewer shrimp for the best grill results

    Skewer shrimp for the best grill results

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

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