Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My college-age daughter is very hard on herself. “Sharyn” is a beautiful, intelligent and wonderful person at heart, but she cannot see it, even though everyone else does.
For 12 years, Sharyn has been in some form of therapy. She has damaged herself, starved herself and even run away. As a child, she was “different,” and so she was badly bullied and had unreliable friends who briefly entered her life and left suddenly. After years of rejection and failure to achieve her goals, she began to isolate herself and give up. Much of her time was spent alone and lonely. It was unbearably painful to stand by and watch my child undeservingly suffer like this.
Sharyn seemed to make progress once she started college. She’s maintained a 3.5 GPA, developed incredible artistic and writing abilities, found a summer job and will be living with her friends this coming year. However, she still believes no one really likes her. She says, “Everyone wants me gone,” and “Everyone thinks I’m stupid, lazy, weird and mean.” She has many great things going for her now, but she still allows her negativity to control her life. She has even said to me, “You hate me,” and “I’m a bad daughter.” I have overheard her yelling both hurtful and hateful comments to herself while she looks in the mirror.
I tell Sharyn repeatedly that I love her and am proud of her, but she accuses me of lying. I’m frustrated and heartbroken that she believes these things when she has come so far. What else can I possibly do to help my daughter understand that she is a wonderful person who deserves happiness? — Peace Bound Parent
Dear Parent: You are doing the best you can with your bedrock reassurances. Sharyn’s conception of herself is so distorted and negative that she assumes your opinion is too biased to count. Her accusations are a way to test your commitment. These issues are best addressed in therapy. Since she seems to be making progress, albeit slowly, please continue to provide calm, loving support. You also can get some therapy on your own and develop some coping strategies.
Dear Annie: I’ve been dating “Don” for eight months. When I met him, I didn’t realize he had been seeing a woman for two years. Apparently, they had an understanding that if someone else came along, it would be OK to break up because they live three hours apart. They still communicate on Facebook.
This girlfriend’s family owns some property that is pretty much in Don’s backyard. She stays at a cabin on the property a few times a year. It makes me really uncomfortable. But when I talk to Don about her, he says, “You have nothing to worry about.” But there have been a few nights when he’s called her name in his sleep. He also once told me that if he wanted her back, all he had to do was call her.
Don wants me to move in with him, but I can’t. His relationship with the other woman eats at me all the time. What do I do? — On the Rebound
Dear Rebound: You don’t completely trust Don, partly because he has given you the impression that this woman is always available to him. Trust is the bedrock of any relationship. If it doesn’t exist with Don, there won’t be a happy future for the two of you, and you should move on.
Dear Annie: A reader asked why there wasn’t a Viagra-type pill for women, and your response implied that Viagra restores desire. This simply is not the case.
Viagra and other medications like it allow the body to carry through on the desires of the heart and mind. In the absence of desire, these medications do nothing except possibly give a confidence boost. — My Two Cents
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 7.19.12