Dear Annie: I've been in an abusive marriage for nearly 15 years, and I can't take another day. My husband has never hit me. It's all mental and emotional abuse. He calls me horrible names in front of our children. He has constant tantrums where he screams, throws things, breaks things and threatens me, saying if I leave, he'll kill me, destroy my life and take our children away. I have no access to money, and he has driven all of my friends away.
I have nowhere to go. There are no shelters in my rural area, and I'm scared of what he may do when I leave. However, I'm determined. I've written him a very long letter explaining why and promising that I don't want any money from him, so he doesn't have to worry about that. And I plan to give him this letter in the next few days. I want to hand it to him. I don't want to be sneaky and leave the letter and walk out the door. But I'm afraid.
I don't have anyone to discuss these things with. My mother said she didn't want to hear it and it was my problem. Please help me. — Too Scared To Leave
Dear Too Scared: Please do not do anything rash. Before you leave, you need to have your next step planned and ready, whether it is finding a shelter, staying with friends or relatives, or leaving town. It would be unwise to hand your abusive husband a letter and walk out the door. We know you want to do the honorable thing, but your safety is more important right now. We urge you to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE. Someone there will guide you through the process.
Dear Annie: My husband and I are retired and live in upstate New York with our son and his family. Our son broke his back and neck in a freak accident. He has fully recovered, but now is addicted to pain medication. He has no job and no insurance.
Is there any way to get him the help he needs to be a functioning adult again? He would give anything to be better, but can't afford the treatment. — Desperately Concerned Mom
Dear Mom: This must be a terribly difficult situation for everyone, but the fact that your son wants to get better is encouraging. Please look into state-funded drug and alcohol rehab centers through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at findtreatment.samhsa.gov, or call their treatment referral line at 1-800-662-HELP. We'll be thinking of you.
Dear Annie: "Best Friend in Trouble" was pretty sure her best friend's husband was cheating on her with his sister-in-law. She asked whether she should tell her friend. I say, "YES!"
I wish someone had told me when my husband was cheating. At a company holiday party, I actually sat next to the woman my husband was having an affair with. Probably everyone in the room knew except me.
One of my good friends discovered his wife was cheating when he contracted an STD. Another found out when his wife became pregnant. He'd had a vasectomy.
I've known a few people who have cheated, and let me tell you, if they don't get caught, they keep right on doing it. After I realized my husband was seeing another woman, I learned that my own sister knew he was cheating and didn't tell me. I could never forgive her for keeping it a secret.
I wish I had known sooner. "Best Friend" should tell her friend what she knows and then let the wife decide what she wants to do about it. — Still Smarting
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.