Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: This is in response to "Sleepless in Little River, S.C." She said her new husband gets angry over nothing and yells at her for hours on end. She is reluctant to leave this man, because she doesn't want to disrupt the life of her 15-year-old son.
As someone who suffered the constant belittling of my stepfather from the age of 6 until I was 12, I can assure that woman her son's life is already being disrupted by the environment she has chosen to remain in. My stepfather couldn't deal with his own problems, so he found an outlet directing his anger at the people around him. I was his prime target.
My mother left that abusive man after I broke down in tears and begged her to remove me from what I called "a living hell." When she realized that the pain I was experiencing was far worse than her fear of starting over, she finally had the courage to leave him. I am 37 now, and even with years of therapy, I still bristle at the mention of my ex-stepfather's name.
"Sleepless" would be doing her son a big favor if she got out of that hellish situation, and the sooner the better. — Still Hurting in Massachusetts
Dear Mass.: You have written a letter that could make a big difference in the lives of many young people who are living in a war zone. Thank you on behalf of all of them. P.S.: To all women who are staying with an abusive man "for the sake of the children," read this a second time.
Dear Ann Landers: I have two sons. My older son, "Randall," is unmarried. Last year, he had to give up his apartment when his lease ran out, so for several months, he lived with his younger brother, "Eddie," and his wife, "Gussie." I accidentally overheard a conversation and learned that Randall and Gussie were having an affair. I immediately told Eddie what was going on. He promptly confronted his wife and brother. They confessed everything.
Now, all three of them are angry with me. Eddie has finally started to speak to me again after months of silence, but Gussie still won't talk to me. That doesn't bother me much because I never liked her. Meanwhile, Randall hasn't said one word to me since the affair.
Was I wrong to tell Eddie about the affair? I couldn't bear to see my younger son being made a fool of by his wife, and I didn't think it was right for Randall to be involved with her under any circumstances. It breaks my heart that my children are so upset with me. Is there any way to fix this? — A Sorry Mom in Iowa
Dear Sorry Mom: While your moral stance was understandable, you created a great deal of animosity, and it will take time to repair the damage. You owe an apology to Randall, Eddie and Gussie (even though you don't like her). I suggest that you drop a note to each of them and ask for forgiveness. This should serve as a lesson to you. Vow to carry no more tales. Sometimes, they kill the messenger.
Planning a wedding? What's right? What's wrong? "The Ann Landers Guide for Brides" will relieve your anxiety. To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.