NEW START TO A NEW YEAR BRINGS HOPE FOR BETTER DAYS
Jan 01, 2021​

Dear Readers:
   Welcome to 2021! The New Year has arrived, and most of us are beyond grateful to leave the last one behind. The worldwide pandemic has sadly touched all of our lives. But this new year brings with it our hope for a new begining.
   Today presents an opportunity to discard destructive old habits for healthy new ones, and with that in mind, I will share Dear Abby's often-requested list of New Year's Resolutions, which were adapted by my late mother, Pauline Phillips, from the original credo of Al-Anon: 
JUST FOR TODAY: I will live through THIS DAY ONLY. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.
   I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.
JUST FOR TODAY: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
JUST FOR TODAY:  I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.
JUST FOR TODAY:  I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. And I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.
JUST FOR TODAY:  I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.
WOMAN IS HURT TO BE KEPT  AT ARM'S LENGTH BY SISTER
Jan 02, 2021

DEAR ABBY: I have spent years trying to have a close relationship with my older sister, but it is clearly not a priority for her. We are very different people, but I was hoping our shared history and family bond would be enough for her to prioritize me and my son. We come from a very small family on both sides and, one day, we will be some of the few remaining family members.

I haven't heard from her in months during the pandemic, which has been hurtful. I'm a working single mother, trying to take care of my son during this dark time, and she hasn't bothered to check on us even once.

She once told me that the only things she cares about are her own son and her dogs. I don't understand how she can have such a loving heart for animals but no concern for her own family. She can be very selfish and has had no close girlfriends during her adulthood.

Growing up, she was jealous of me, but I thought things would be different after I struggled with a divorce and other life stressors. I received no support from her during my divorce. In fact, she seemed to take my ex's side despite his having emotionally abused me for years. Should I expect that we will ever have a closer relationship or just accept that it won't happen? -- HURT IN ALABAMA

DEAR HURT: If your description of your sister is accurate, she has drawn a tight circle around herself that she doesn't want breached. You stated that the two of you are very different people, but on some level you haven't allowed yourself to accept what that means. You will be hurt less once you accept that your fantasy of closeness with her will never happen.

For whatever reasons, she isn't capable of giving you what you need. You will find the closeness you crave by developing stronger relationships with your friends. Sadly, for your sister, she won't give herself the gift of these important and rewarding kinds of experiences.
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, CA 90069.
LOST IN THE SOUTH
March 21, 2021

DEAR ABBY: I have been married to a functioning alcoholic for more than 30 years. He was once funny and nice and a good dad. But over the years he has become unbearable to live with. He doesn't shower or brush his teeth. He was always mainly a beer drinker, but now he is drinking hard liquor and stays drunk most of the time he is awake.
    I told him I thought he was depressed and a severe alcoholic, and he should talk to his doctor, but he refuses. I am pretty sure he is drinking on the job, and I'm scared he will hurt himself. I am ready to leave him, but afraid that if I do, he will be completely lost.

DEAR LOST: You don't need me to tell you that your husband is in bad shape. I don't know what his job involves, but if he's interacting with others, I am surprised he can get away with having such poor hygiene and being stoned on alcohol.
    Because he refuses to talk to his doctor about this, you should. I hope you are beginning to realize that you cannot "save" him.  I have mentioned Al-Anon many times in my column. The organization is an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous and was started to help families and friends of individuals who are unable to control their drinking. Find one by going to al-anon.org/info.
There are many Dear Abby articles dealing with alcoholism.
MOM FEARS DAUGHTER'S FUTURE WITH HER 
CONTROLLING BOYFRIEND
April 10 , 2020

DEAR ABBY: Is my daughter headed into an abusive, controlling relationship, or am I imagining the signs because of my own experience with domestic abuse for many years? She is 18 and, of course, parents are "idiots" who don't understand anything. The young man tries to control where she is, won't let her go anywhere without him, and suspiciously questions her if he thinks she spent too much of her own money.
   To me, these are signs of the beginning of years of hell, but to her, they're cute because he "cares," or I don't understand him. Am I being unfair because of my own past?  -BEEN THERE IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR BEEN THERE: Unfair? NOT AT ALL! You have listed some of the classic signs of an abusive partner, and your daughter is headed for trouble. Please share this column with her because it's important she recognized more of them:
   1. PUSHES FOR QUICK INVOLVEMENT: Comes on strong, claiming, "I've never felt loved like this by anyone." An abuser pressure the new partner for an exclusive commitment almost immediately.
   2.  JEALOUS: Excessively possessive; calls constantly or visits unexpectedly; prevents you from going to work because "you might meet someone"; checks the milage on your car.
    3. CONTROLLING: If you are late, interrogates you intensively about whom you talked to and where you were; keeps all the money; insists you ask permission to go anywhere or do anything.
    4.  UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Expects you to be the perfect mate and meet his or her every need.
    5. ISOLATION: Tries to isolate you from family and friends; accuses people who are you supporters of "causing trouble." The abuser may deprive you of a phone or car, or try to prevent you from holding a job. 
    6. BLAMES OTHERS FOR PROBLEMS OR MISTAKES: It's always someone else's fault if something goes wrong.
    7. MAKES OTHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OR HER FEELINGS: The abuser says, "You make me angry" instead of "I am angry", or says, "You're hurting me by not doing what I tell you."
​     8. HYPERSENSITIVITY: Is easily insulted, claiming hurt feelings when he or she is really mad. Rants about the injustice of things that are just a part of life. 
     9. CRUELTY TO ANIMALS OR CHILDREN: Kills or punishes animals brutally. Also may expect children to do things that are far beyond their ability (whips a 3-year-old for wetting a diaper) or may tease them until they cry. Sixty-five percent of abusers who beat their partners will also abuse children.
    10. "PLAYFUL" USE OF FORCE DURING SEX: Exjoys throwing you down or holding you down against your will during sez; finds the idea of rape exciting.
    11. VERBAL ABUSE: Constantly criticized or says blatantly cruel things; degreades, curses, calls you ugly names. this may also involve sleep deprivation, waking you with relentless verbal abuse.
    12.  RIGID GENDER ROLES: Expects you to serve, obey, remain at home.
    13.  SUDDEN MOOD SWINGS: Switches from sweet to violent in minutes.
    14.  PAST BATTERING: Admits to hitting a mate in the past, but says the person :made: him (or her) do it.
    15.  THREATS OF VIOLENCE: Says things like, "I'll break your neck"
 or "I'll kill you," and then dismisses them with, "Everybody talks that way, " or "I didn't really mean it."

Anyone at risk should contact the 
National Domestic Violence Hotline at 
800-799-233 
or 
www.thehotline.org
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