Dear Abby: Talk of long-ago divorce can bring present-day pain

Dear Abby: Would you please remind your readers that people who have been through an awful divorce DO NOT want to hear anything about their ex? We don’t want to hear — again and again — how much better the ex did in the settlement than we did. We don’t want to hear that the ex was seen with his girlfriend the other day.

I have a friend who tells me every time I speak with her how much better he made out in the settlement than I did. People also need to realize that even though the divorce was years ago, it still hurts.


I’m passing along your message. However, when it first happened, you should have told the woman to drop the subject because it was hurtful. If you didn’t, please do that. But if you did say it and your request was disregarded, recognize that this person isn’t a “friend,” that she probably gets a kick out of causing you pain or aggravation, and you should avoid her.

Dear Abby: I’m 17 and adopted. I have a wonderful new family, but a very dark past. I was beaten every day for seven years and was bulimic for five. The abuse finally ended when my stepfather went to jail for trying to murder my mother and me. I was bullied in school and went home to more abuse.

Now, even though I’m out of the situation, I still get scared when people yell at me, or at school when someone raises their hands like they are about to hit me. Everyone tells me I need to “grow up,” but how am I supposed to do that when I’m still scared of my past?

Can’t Get Past It

After the amount of trauma you have experienced, it may take help from a licensed mental health professional to get past what was done to you. If your family is unable to provide it, discuss this with a counselor at school and ask for help, because the counselor may be able to refer you to someone.

Dear Abby: My adult son and his wife have had a dog for two years. I do not want a dog in my house, but I also don’t want to prevent them from visiting (they live six hours away). We have tried keeping “Puddles” in the basement, but she whined all night, and my son ended up sleeping on the basement floor with her.

They think I’m going to give in because she’s so cute, but I don’t like little animals running, jumping and yapping. (OK, I’m high-strung, and holidays make it worse.) My husband doesn’t support me and tries to sneak Puddles in when I’m not looking.

This is not fair! I’m the one who keeps the house nice, but I love my son. Any suggestions?


Yes, your son should find a pet sitter or board Puddles for the time when he visits you. And if necessary, offer to pay for it. That way the poor animal won’t be isolated in unfamiliar surroundings and will have companionship, you'll have peace of mind and your son will get a good night’s sleep.

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.