Dear Annie: I am a 23-year-old woman and will admit that I am an extremely jealous and possessive person. I am constantly accusing my boyfriend of looking at other women and thinking of other women while we make love.
Just recently, I gave my boyfriend a gift certificate for a massage, but I wanted to be in the room, watching everything that happened. When I found out we could not be in the same room, I cancelled the appointment. After hearing him complain about his bad back, I rescheduled.
The day after the massage, I yelled at him for having some other woman’s hands all over him. I apologized, but I am thinking of leaving him because he has been “tainted” by someone else.
In the back of my head, I know this is crazy. I don’t want to be this way. After every outburst has subsided, I feel ashamed. I cry and apologize to my boyfriend, only to do it all over again. I’ve already blown a past relationship because of my jealousy, which led to jail time and anger-management classes. The classes helped, but as soon as I stopped, the cycle started again. I can’t afford more classes, so please help me deal with my anger. – Desperate in New York
Dear Desperate: Jail time? You are an abuser, and like men with this problem, ongoing counseling is necessary to understand the reasons behind your outbursts and how to control them. The good news is, you are aware of the problem and want to stop.
Don’t use lack of money as an excuse to avoid dealing with your anger. You can find low-cost help through United Way, the YMCA, or your local hospitals, churches, university psychology departments and graduate school counseling departments, or through the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (aapc.org) and Samaritan Counseling Centers (samaritaninstitute.org). Get going.
Dear Annie: I live in a small rural town where the leash law is seldom enforced. I have a dog and have gone to considerable expense to install an electronic fence and have spent much time training my dog to respect its boundaries.
The problem is the rest of the neighborhood dogs who are allowed to roam freely. While I am happy that they come to my yard and provide socialization for my pet, I’m becoming increasingly annoyed with the droppings they leave behind.
I’ve considered notifying the dog officer anonymously, which might help temporarily, but I am not convinced the law could be enforced with this town’s limited resources. I’m also reluctant to cause a rift with my neighbors, who otherwise have been very kind to me.
Any suggestions on how to keep the peace and my shoes clean? – Tip-Toeing to My Door
Dear Tip-Toe: If leash laws are not enforced in your town, you may need to put in a solid fence to keep those dogs out. Otherwise, if you know who the culprits are, pay a social call on the offenders and say, “I love having Lulu play with Fido, but I don’t need that much fertilizer for my garden. How do you prefer to handle this?”
Dear Annie: I am in my early 50s and have had insulin-dependent diabetes and high blood pressure for years. On the outside, I look healthy. But I also have cerebral vascular disease and suffer mild strokes and confusion. As a result, I get some contemptible responses from people who, I am sure, assume I am on drugs.
This is a gentle reminder that seniors are not the only ones who suffer from such illnesses. Please take a moment to reflect before you say something hurtful to another human being. – In Pain in Virginia
Dear Virginia: You never know what torment someone else is dealing with. It is never wrong to be kind.
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