DEAR ABBY: I am a 17-year-old girl who lives with my mother and my mother's boyfriend. This man has changed my world, and not for the better. The one person I ever cared about has practically turned against me.
My mom tried killing herself for this man and chose him over me after she was released from the institution. I have been diagnosed with depression and have also tried to kill myself. I also have a habit of cutting myself. I stopped, but lately I have been wanting to start again. The only thing that has held me back is her threats of committing me to an institution.
She threatened my boyfriend with the police if he ever spoke to me again after we broke up. When I confronted her, she insisted that she was right and someday I'd understand. She has turned into this person I hardly know, and it's because of her boyfriend's influence. Before, when she was upset she would just not talk to me, but now she calls me the most horrid things and won't apologize unless someone besides me tells her.
I feel so alone. I honestly do want to kill myself, but I haven't because I know it isn't the right thing to do, even if it may seem right. I have tried talking to her. She won't listen to me. What should I do? -- HOPELESS AND ALONE IN FLORIDA
DEAR HOPELESS AND ALONE: Because you honestly do want to harm yourself, contact the doctor who diagnosed you with depression. However, if this is about your mother breaking up your romance by threatening to involve the police, you need to understand that the tactic wouldn't have worked unless he had something to fear.
The level of conflict in your home is not healthy. If you are still in school, discuss this with a trusted teacher or school counselor. In one more year you will be 18 and able to make decisions for yourself, but they shouldn't be based on your mother or her boyfriend. They need to be about what is truly best for you.
DEAR ABBY: I hate funerals. My grandfather died when I was 6, and one of my relatives held me over the casket and made me kiss his cold, dead face. It terrified me, and it's all I can remember of my grandfather. I force myself to recall any of the good times we had together, but that event still taints the good memory.
Since then, every funeral I have been to has had the same poisoning effect, no matter what the service was. Funerals are for the living, and I understand that many people feel the need for closure and the sharing of grief to begin healing. But I need to keep my grief and my faith private in order to heal.
I'm sure some people think my not showing up at a service is a sign of disrespect or just not caring. Nothing could be further from the truth. I prefer to remember the good times with the loved one, not the passing. My way of honoring that person is to keep my happy memories untainted.
Am I wrong? Selfish or lazy? Weird or crazy? Please let me know because at my age I'm sure more of these events will happen. -- KEEPING MY DISTANCE IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE: You are none of the above. People grieve in different ways. An appropriate way to express your respect for the deceased and your support for the survivors would be to write a condolence letter expressing those feelings and sharing a happy memory with the grieving widow, widower or child. No rule of etiquette demands that you show up to a funeral -- unless it happens to be your own.
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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- DEAR ABBY