DEAR ABBY: My dad is the breadwinner in our family. A few years ago, he got fired for looking at “inappropriate” material at work. When he told us what happened, he described it as a raunchy comedy special.
So, being a good son and thinking Dad was wrongfully terminated, I started calling law firms to see if he had a case. That’s when the truth came out.
Not only had he lied, but he also stabbed me in the back when I went to bat for him.
His job was tailor-made to suit him. In one stupid act, he managed to get canned. He also lost his excellent health insurance, dental, vision, 401(k), profit sharing, life insurance, the respect of his family and probably his co-workers (who most likely heard through the rumor mill).
Dad knows he has health problems, my mother also has several, and I have a chronic condition as well.
I no longer trust him. To make matters worse, I have no education beyond a high school diploma and have had no luck finding a job, so there’s no place I can move or even escape to.
I know I am suffering betrayal trauma. I am so incredibly hurt. I’m constantly reminded of what he did, even just seeing him in the morning.
I would like to heal, but I don’t know how to begin.
— BLINDSIDED IN ILLINOIS
DEAR BLINDSIDED: I am sure this has been a shock to your family. It is now very important you gain some independence.
Go online and research what jobs are available for people with a high school diploma. Because you can’t face your father every morning, reach out to other relatives to ask if you could stay with them until you are financially strong enough to further your education and to get a place of your own.
If you need counseling (and you may), inquire at the county department of mental health about what is available. Then, once you are more stable emotionally and financially, consider learning about jobs that will pay more and what you will need to do to qualify for them.
DEAR ABBY: My mother is constantly berating my daughter, “Hillary,” about her looks, calling her a slob and telling her she needs to wear makeup and look “pretty” so she can feel good about herself.
She is under the impression Hillary needs to look girly and get her hair done to please the eye. Hillary wants no part of girly things; she’s still a kid.
If I defend my child, Mom starts a fight by saying I’m raising a “sluggard” and that I’m a failure as a mother (which I am not). She asks why I’m OK with such a sloppy girl, and calls me a bad parent.
I agree that sometimes Hillary is messy and her curly hair gets in the way, but isn’t that part of being a child? Hair gets tangled in the wind, but we can comb it out. The main thing is, at least my daughter is playing in the wind. Right?
— SUNSHINE’S MOM IN TEXAS
DEAR MOM: It’s time to start memorizing the following speech: “Mom, you may mean well when you say those hurtful things, but it is harmful to my daughter. When you call her names and criticize her as you constantly do, it damages her self-esteem and, as a caring parent, I can no longer allow it. If you wish to see your granddaughter, you will stop denigrating her appearance immediately, or you won’t be seeing her … at all.”
Then follow through.
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.