Dear Abuser: My wife and I have been married for five years, with two children. I have been putting my hands on her in such a bad way that she’s saying we are no longer a family and she wants a divorce. I need my wife and children back. It hurts me to stay away.
I’m currently going to church and Sunday school and Bible study. I have been praying many hours these past few weeks, and it is helping me. I will do anything and everything I can to get my family back because I don’t want to lose them. What can I do to get them back? — Learning a Lesson in Nevada
Dear Learning: A good first step would be for you to gain some insight about what triggers you to act out violently. Was physical abuse an example that was set by your parents? Does it happen because you have a substance abuse problem? A course in anger management could help you break this destructive pattern. Search online for a program near you. After that, if your wife sees you are making a sincere effort, she may trust you enough to risk reuniting. A warning, however: Do not pressure her. This will have to be HER decision.
Dear Abby: I’m friends with three people who got into a series of arguments. One of them no longer talks to the other two. I have remained friends with all three and I told them I want to remain neutral. I wasn’t around when the arguments took place, and I don’t want to be involved. One friend says that because I’m still friends with the other two, I’m taking their side and condoning how they treated her.
I didn’t see the fights and I’m not condoning anyone’s behavior. The one friend has now stopped being friends with me. I would like to be friends with everyone. Is this person right about me condoning the other two’s actions by remaining silent and continuing my friendship with them? — Staying Out of It in Montana
Dear Staying Out: No, they are not. What they are doing is trying to manipulate you. Repeat what you told them, and tell them that if they can’t accept that you want to remain neutral, they will have lost another friend.
Dear Abby: I have a new job in a small office. I have never been comfortable meeting new people or learning a new job, so in order to appear friendly, I’d chime in to the office conversations. A couple of times, I have revealed too much of my life. Later, I found out the owner audio records the office. Everyone else knew it, but I was NEVER informed. Now I’m more embarrassed than ever, knowing that my information is now on record. I have since learned to self-censor. Abby, is it a common and legal practice for employers to bug offices? — Big Mouth in California
Dear Big Mouth: This is a question you should ask an attorney who specializes in employment law. In several states, it is illegal for an employer to record conversations without first informing all the parties involved. You should have been informed at the time you were hired that this was company policy.
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
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