DR. WALLACE: I'm 17 and the guy I'm dating is 19. I care a lot for this guy, but he has one flaw. He has a trigger-quick temper. One minute he is smiling, and the next he is a screaming maniac because of something I said or did.
Lately, he is getting worse. When he turns into Jekyll, he either slaps me or pulls my hair, or both. Then he apologizes a few minutes later and swears it won't ever happen again. Once in a while, he starts to cry and that really makes me believe he didn't mean to do it.
It's not that I do anything awful. Some of the things are really minor — like if I pop my gum or sneeze without covering my mouth. I know I should take the easy way out and just walk away, but when I consider doing that I compare the good with the bad and he has great potential to be a super guy because he has more good qualities than bad. How can I get him to calm down and behave himself all the time? — Nameless, El Centro, Calif.
NAMELESS: Your efforts to get this guy to mend his ways are noble, but I urge you to simply end the relationship immediately rather than get more deeply involved. My reason is that I worry about your safety while with Hyde.
It appears that your boyfriend has the potential to be a female batterer. His hair-trigger temper and physically abusive disposition overpower all his good qualities. Only rarely does "Dr. Jekyll" ever free himself from "Mr. Hyde." This guy has an emotional problem and needs professional assistance.
THEY ARE MAKING MY LIFE MISERABLE
DR. WALLACE: I'm having problems with a group of girls at my school. We used to be good friends, but I broke away from them because they started doing a lot of things I didn't approve of.
A couple of weeks ago, one of them called and said that I had deserted them, so they were going to make my life miserable. So now I've been getting obscene telephone calls and threats to "kick my tail." Yesterday, my counselor called me into her office to question me about the "suicide" note I sent her — but I had never sent such a note. My so-called "friends" must have been the authors.
My family has changed our telephone number and our new number is unlisted. However, my stupid brother gave the new number to one of the girls and I received another crank call last night. Last week, my mother spoke to the school principal about the problem and he said he would take care of it. But so far he has not.
Please tell me what I can do. These girls are making my life miserable. And that's just what they said they'd do, so I guess they have gotten their wish. — Nameless, Laredo, Tex.
NAMELESS: Have your mother contact the principal one more time to let him know that the problem still exists and to ask him to please take action to eliminate it immediately. If the principal can't or won't solve the problem, have your parents contact the superintendent of schools. Even though most of the harassment takes place after school hours, school authorities can do much to end the problem. The last court of appeal is the Laredo School Board. It also might be wise to contact the police department and file a complaint.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. E-mail him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.