Dear Ann Landers: I read the letter from “Average Girl in Every City, USA” several weeks ago and would like to suggest to her that being abused and humiliated by her boyfriend is not “average.”
I am now living in a women’s shelter and going through counseling because of my ex-boyfriend’s abuse. Like so many other women, I thought if I loved him enough, he would stop acting like that, but it only got worse. If you have space, Ann, I would like to share some of the red flags I failed to see before I finally reached out for safety and help. - Brenda in Dallas
Dear Brenda: Thank you for alerting the women in my reading audience to the warning signs. No one knows the territory as well as someone who has been there, and you certainly have. Your “red flags” should be used as guideposts for any woman who is considering a new relationship. Here they are:
1. He comes on as a real charmer and loves you instantly.
2. He has problems with authority figures.
3. He embarrasses you in the presence of others.
4. He is nasty on the road - feels other drivers are competing with him.
5. He wants your undivided attention at all times.
6. You feel controlled because he must always be “in charge.”
7. He has a dual personality - sometimes adult, other times childish.
8. He is very competitive - and he must always win.
9. His promises and apologies are meaningless.
10. He displays jealousy toward your close friends and family members.
11. He can’t tolerate criticism and is always defending himself and trying to justify unacceptable behavior.
12. He has extreme highs and lows - both unpredictable.
13. He is rough at times; love pats become more and more painful. Suddenly, you realize he is a serious abuser, and you are a victim.
Dear Ann Landers: You recently printed a letter from “Broke in the Big Apple,” who had been invited to quite a few weddings and couldn’t afford any more gifts. You made several practical suggestions for inexpensive yet special items to present to the bride and groom. I would, however, like you to reconsider the portion of your answer where you advised the guest to take photographs of the ceremony to present as a gift to the newlyweds.
I am president of the Professional Photographers of Mississippi and Alabama and have photographed many hundreds of weddings. The majority of churches in which I have worked have strict rules concerning photography and videography. I have seen wedding guests stand during the ceremony and take two or three flash pictures, which, of course, disturbs everyone.
I could tell you many war stories about ruined wedding ceremonies caused by well-intentioned amateurs who insist on taking pictures. Please encourage your readers to limit their photography and videography to the reception. The bride and groom, their families and the professional photographer will appreciate it. - Decatur, Ala.
Dear Alabama: And so would the clergyman. A Catholic priest once told me that one family member came right up to the altar with a video camera, stood between him and the couple and commenced to record the ceremony. The priest politely invited him to “take his seat.”