DR. WALLACE: My mother recently suspected me of doing something wrong, but she said that if I told her the truth and the whole truth, she wouldn't punish me or tell my father. Mom told me she had "inside information" and wanted to hear my side of the story first. With that promise, I came clean and told my mom that my best friend and I had skipped one day of school. One of my mom's nosy friends saw me at the mall that day and called her.
I thanked my mom for being so understanding and gave her my word that I'd never skip school again. And I have not. In fact, I have not gotten into one ounce of trouble over the past two months.
Well, yesterday, Mom got mad at me because my room didn't pass her "cleaning inspection." As punishment, she said she was going to tell my dad that I'd skipped school. I actually thought she was kidding (since she promised not to), but as soon as my dad came home from work, my mom told him everything! I was stunned. Dad got extremely upset at me, and I'm now on restriction for a month and can't hang out with my best friends at all.
I feel betrayed by my mother and told her so. She said that she made a mistake about promising not to tell my dad and she was merely correcting her earlier mistake. Did my mother break her promise, or was she correcting a mistake? I really would like your opinion. — Mad Daughter, via email
MAD DAUGHTER: Once your mother made her promise, she should have kept it. In my opinion, she made a serious mistake. It is extremely important for parents to lead by example. It's far more effective than the "do is I say, not as I do" technique. Needless to say, your mom has damaged her credibility with you, and it will take quite some time for this psychological wound to heal.
Take your punishment for now, and don't hold a grudge against your mom going forward. But learn a valuable lesson to carry forward in your life. You now know how it feels to have someone break your trust. Do your best going forward to be trustworthy, with the only possible exceptions being matters of life and death.
TIME IS A UNIVERSAL HEALER
DR. WALLACE: Two weeks ago, I broke up with this guy I was dating because I made him choose between drugs and me — and he actually chose drugs! I really cared for this guy and would have stayed with him forever if he could have been drug-free. I worked with him for a year trying to get him clean, but he continued to use. It broke my heart when we finally parted ways.
Then, shockingly, five days ago, he was killed in an automobile accident. He was a passenger, but didn't have his seat belt buckled. The driver had his seatbelt on and survived.
Now I'm second-guessing myself. If I had still been with him, he probably would be alive today. I can't tell you how terrible I feel. Will this feeling ever go away? Did I make a big mistake leaving my guy? — Heartbroken, via email
HEARTBROKEN: Time is the universal healer of wounds both physical and emotional. Your ex-boyfriend died as a result of an automobile crash and might have lived if he had buckled his seatbelt. You are blameless for his death; do not take another moment of your time beating yourself up mentally. Even if the two of you were still together, he could have been a passenger in the very same car, or any car for that matter, that suffered the tragic accident.
Instead, when your thoughts drift to him, remember the good times you shared together. Remember his good qualities and the things you really liked about him. And, if you are so inclined, you can donate money or time to help out at a drug rehab center in his honor. You may end up helping another person to find a better way forward.
Please don't ever blame yourself. Accidents happen and are sadly a part of life here on earth. You can't control the past, but you can direct some of your future actions in a positive way to honor your friend.
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. Email 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.
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