06/13/2007DEAR ABBY: I am in my mid-20s, male, an only child, and I came late in life.
Both of my parents are disabled -- one with a host of ailments, and the other with a very bad back. Both are on disability and don't do well on their own.
I made a decision early in young adulthood to drop out of high school and take care of my parents. I got a part-time job and stayed home the rest of the time to help with "around-the-house chores." I have stayed with my parents now for quite a while, and they are mostly dependent on me.
At the risk of sounding selfish, I know they won't be around much longer, and I don't want to be stuck holding the bag when they pass on, with no high school diploma, no higher education and only part-time employment experience.
Don't get me wrong. I love my parents with all my heart, and I don't want to leave them high and dry. What can I do? -- GOING NOWHERE IN IDAHO
DEAR GOING NOWHERE: As loving a son as you are, you should never have dropped out of high school, and your parents were wrong to let you. The time has come to repair some of the damage that was done.
You do not have to leave your parents high and dry in order to get your GED. You can do that while working part-time and living at home. Please contact your former high school and find out what programs it offers at night for adults. Once you have your GED, you should explore a community college or trade school so you can get the higher education you have missed.
You are a loving and generous son to have shouldered so much responsibility so early in life. However, it is extremely important that you begin taking care of yourself now in addition to your parents.
DEAR ABBY: How do I deal with a husband who seems to hate everyone and everything in life? He hates his job. He hates the fact that he has to be responsible for his elderly father, even though his father still lives on his own but can no longer drive. (I help out on that one.) He hates being responsible for me and our two children.
His latest rant is racism. If you are not a member of his race, then he hates you. And he hates women.
Abby, I am tired! I am not a hateful person. I do not judge others by their color. The way I see it, there is good and bad in every race. Could he be going through a mid-life crisis? He is 47 years old. What can I do to either defuse him or somehow keep the peace? He is not listening to a word I say. -- FED UP IN GLEN ALLEN, VA.
DEAR FED UP: Your husband may be feeling overwhelmed by the responsibilities he has assumed, or angry that he has not accomplished more at this stage in his life.
The question you must ask yourself is, Is the change in his personality something new, or has it always been this way? If it is something new, then it is possible that he could benefit from a visit to his doctor and a complete physical and neurological examination to rule out a physical or mental problem.
We all lead stressful lives to some degree, but there are better ways of coping with frustration than blaming people of other races or members of the opposite sex. Sometimes counseling can be helpful -- but only if the person is willing to admit he needs it and is willing to accept it.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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