Grandpa's abusive names open old wounds for mom

DEAR ABBY: I am the single mother of a wonderful 13-year-old son. His father and I were divorced when he was 1. Aside from some help and love from my parents when he was young, I have raised my son practically by myself. Nana and Dad looked after "Todd" while I was at work, which allowed them a lot of time together when he was young.

I have taught Todd to be honest and thoughtful, to have empathy, to care about others and respect their feelings. I tell him to think before he speaks so he won't hurt or offend other people. I ask him most of all to respect himself, to set goals and try his best at whatever he does. Friends and neighbors say I'm raising a terrific young man.

The problem is my dad. When my siblings and I were young, Dad was verbally abusive. When he greets Todd he says, "Hey, you little jerk," or, "Hey, you fink!" I have asked Dad several times not call Todd such names, to the point of tears. It reminds me of being called "good-for-nothing," "worthless," etc., when I was a kid.

Dad is 72 and not in the greatest health, and I don't want to distance my son from him. The love between them is enormous. But each time Dad calls Todd one of those names, it opens the wounds of my childhood and reminds me of how little I thought of myself when I was his age.

How can I keep Dad from calling my son these names?


DEAR GOT NO RESPECT: May I be frank? The chances of you persuading your father to change at his age are virtually nil. Because your son was raised by a loving and emotionally nurturing mother, his sense of self-esteem is far stronger than yours was at his age. He knows he is not a "little jerk" or a "fink." He regards those names as terms of endearment &

which is probably how your father means for them to be taken. I don't know how your father was raised, but I'll bet the farm that the environment was such that he never learned how to properly express his emotions.

Some sessions with a licensed psychotherapist could help you to put your childhood into perspective. Obviously, you're still hurting from the treatment you received as a child. This would be the logical way to work it through so you can finally put it behind you.

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a wonderful woman for almost two years. I'll call her "Wanda." It's a long-distance relationship, so it is built on trust. Wanda lives two hours away and works seven days a week. I work six days a week, so that really isn't a problem. We have plans to build a house on my property, get married, have kids, etc.

When Wanda and I met, she told me she had been engaged but had broken it off. The problem is, I just found out that she is married, which has honestly shattered my sense of security.

Wanda now says she is in the middle of getting a divorce and just "finalizing some differences." My question is, even though she came clean about all her past lies, is she still trustworthy? I need an opinion from outside.


DEAR DEVASTATED: Wanda did not lie about "one little thing." Your relationship with her is based on a pattern of lies. To marry someone with such a lack of character would be to invite disaster (for you, not her). If you marry Wanda, you need your head examined.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been divorced for a number of years. Our divorce was amicable. He is now remarried and has chosen to include his current wife, "Blanche," in all correspondence with our two daughters and me. I admit to some jealousy when it comes to my girls. They are our children, not hers.

This has become more hurtful to me since I found out that I am terminally ill. I don't want Blanche to replace me as a grandmother to any children who are born to our girls.

I am writing now because my oldest daughter has just learned that she is pregnant. If I survive long enough, it will be my first grandchild &

an honor I do not wish to share. Am I being selfish, or is there some other way for Blanche to be part of this grandchild's life without taking my place? My children are not close to her and have also expressed disapproval of their father's inclusion of his new wife in every part of his interaction with them. Please tell me what you think.


DEAR WANTS TO BE REMEMBERED: Please allow me to offer my sympathy regarding your prognosis. All of your feelings at this point are understandable.

Your grandchildren will have only one biological grandmother, and that is you. Your husband's wife will be their STEP-grandmother. And from what you have written about your daughters' attitude toward her, I'm sure they will make certain that their children know the difference.

So please, rest easy. No one can control the future; not you and not I. And in the final analysis, what is more important is that your grandchildren are loved. The more love they're surrounded with, the better off they'll be.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 21-year-old male who has always been unlucky in love. I recently met a woman who is perfect for me. She is smart, funny, worldly, attractive and all-around wonderful. The problem is, she is 31.

Age is just a number to me, but I'm concerned that my advances may seem like some kid trying to woo her. I know she thinks of me as a peer, but I just can't get over my insecurities about it. I want to take our friendship to the next level, but I'm unsure what to do.


DEAR NAIVE: The longest journey begins with a single step, and your first step should be to find out why you have "always been unlucky in love." It could save you much heartache in the future. Could it be that you have always chosen a love object who was inappropriate &

this woman included?

Before taking steps to take this friendship to the next level, be smart and schedule some sessions with a psychologist to figure out what has gone wrong in the past. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Eddie" is away at college. I would like to send him a care package to show him how much I love and miss him. Have you any suggestions on what should go into a meaningful care package?


DEAR TRICIA: Send your boyfriend something he can't get while he's away at school. The perfect "I care" package should contain homemade cookies and brownies, and perhaps a book you have read recently that you think he might enjoy, along with a picture of you and a love letter.

Dear Abby is written by , also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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