DEAR ABBY: My lovely and successful 30 year old daughter recently got engaged to a 31 year old man I will call “Jonas”. They have been dating for several years. He comes from a good family and is successful in his career. She adores him and is extremely happy.
The problem is that Jonas has a habit of making off-the-cuff comments about him to my husband and me behind his back, suggesting, for example, that he felt a bit rushed by the timing of the request in wedding.
More recently, I thanked him for offering my daughter and I the use of his beloved vehicle to go wedding dress shopping. Instead of saying, “You’re welcome,” he muttered, “She’s going to break the car someday.” The sooner she does, the sooner I get a new one. (Abby, my daughter has a great driving record, so that was just weird.) He says it like it’s a dry joke that he probably sees that way, but I find his comments hurtful.
I haven’t told my daughter about this and I don’t want to “bad it” to my family or friends asking for suggestions on how to handle this. Should I let it go, or should I tell Jonas privately how much his comments hurt us? I don’t want to do more than it is, but it hurts my heart a little. — CONCERNED MAMA IN ILLINOIS
DEAR MOM: Jonas’ “joke” that he felt obligated to get engaged to your daughter wasn’t funny, and I can understand why you might be worried. While I don’t think you should seek advice on this from friends and family, I do think you should discuss this with your daughter as this could be a red flag. Ditto with any other possibly pejorative comments he makes to you about him. There is often a grain of truth in comments that are made in jest. They could be an indication of how her fiancé really feels.
DEAR ABBY: I’m 40 years old. I’ve had issues with my bad dad all my life. After mom passed away, I tried to build a relationship with him because he was the only parent I had left. He then informed me that he stayed when my sister was born but left when I was, because I was never wanted.
I had suffered from depression for a long time and had been fine for three years up to that time. Now my hatred for him has consumed me so much that I find it hard to love myself. I look so much like her that when I look at myself in the mirror, I can’t stand the reflection looking at me.
How can I love myself again or feel lovable enough? How can I look at myself and not see the monster that is my biological father? Please help. — FILLED WITH HATE IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR FILLED WITH HATE: You have suffered enough. You will regain self-acceptance, a sense of self-worth, and get rid of your father’s baggage with the help of a licensed psychotherapist. If your finances are strained, contact your county mental health department for inexpensive or free help. Universities and colleges that have a psychology department may also provide counseling on a sliding scale. It’s the surest way to undo the damage your father has inflicted. Please do not wait to contact us.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
New York Post