Abused spouse believes time to escape is near

Published 8:31 am Friday, January 12, 2024

DEAR ABBY: I have been with my abusive husband for almost 30 years. I made several attempts to leave him, which resulted in him stalking me and threatening to seriously harm me and our children. Despite all his threats and abuse, I was forced to allow him to take our children unsupervised. I would end up going back so I could be present when he was around the children.
Our youngest just moved out and, surprisingly, my husband has calmed down. I am going to leave, and I’m looking for places out of state where he won’t be able to find me. Honestly, I’m terrified. How do I move somewhere new and start over alone? – ANONYMOUS IN THE U.S.

DEAR ANONYMOUS: Because you feel you may be in danger if you follow through with your plan to leave your abuser and start a new life, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Its toll-free phone number is: 800-799-7233. The people there can help you formulate a safe way to escape. I wish you good luck and a MUCH happier life.
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DEAR ABBY: I work nine hours a day in a mental health clinic talking to the clients and doing billing and collections among many other things. I love my job. The problem is that when I step outside to take a break, I want it to be my quiet time.
Most people say a quick “hi,” and that’s fine, but a man in the business downstairs from me comes out and chats every time. He calls me by the wrong name (which I have not corrected) and talks while I respond with the bare minimum to show I’m not interested. Is there a nice way to say I am not interested in his company while I am on break? – DECOMPRESSING IN WISCONSIN

DEAR DECOMPRESSING: Yes, but it will take backbone on your part. The next time you see this person, tell him there are two things about you he needs to know. They are: Your name isn’t “Joan,” and when you take a break from the pressure of your job, you would like to do it ALONE.
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DEAR ABBY: My wife’s sister died 14 months ago at the young age of 52. Since then, my brother-in-law has been texting and calling my wife constantly. He is grieving, and his alcohol problem has gotten worse. I have tried to be patient about their communication, but I’m finding myself getting jealous. What’s your advice? – BOTHERED IN ILLINOIS

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DEAR BOTHERED: Have a talk with your wife about this. She is grieving the loss of her sister as well as trying to help her widowed brother-in-law. Put your jealousy aside, at least for now, and suggest she join a grief support group.
As to your brother-in-law, understand that his drinking problem won’t resolve itself until he admits he has one and decides to join a support group or to dry out in rehab. You would be within your rights to point that out to him, as long as you do it with compassion rather than anger.
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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.
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For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)