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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I'm writing in response to "Controlled and Trapped," the 18-year-old woman who was forbidden by her mother to visit "Tom" in Tennessee unless she took a chaperone. She never did go, and she regretted it for the next 40 years. She finally got her own apartment, but continued to feel deep resentment toward her mother. You recommended counseling.

I am a 67-year-old retired M.D. who happens to be gay. I, too, felt controlled and trapped by my parents when I was younger. Over the years, I was counseled by two psychiatrists and three psychotherapists. Even after all that psychiatric help, I still felt great resentment toward my folks. However, after I moved to Los Angeles, I was fortunate enough to find a mentor.

One day, my mentor said something that forever cracked my shell of resentment and anger. He said, "Armand, your parents behaved the way they did because they didn't know any better!" I suddenly realized that both my parents had only sixth-grade educations, and had they known better, they probably would have treated me differently.

When I asked my mentor if I should forgive my parents, he said, "You got it! You'll have to forgive them every time they come to mind."

You know what? It took quite a while, but I persisted and it paid off. Finally, all my anger and resentment dissipated. I cried tears of joy for my newfound freedom and peace of mind. Then I actually began feeling love in my heart toward my parents.

Softly, slowly ... love heals. I read your column faithfully. Keep up the good work. -- ARMAND AUGER, M.D., LOS ANGELES

DEAR ARMAND: Your mentor led you to a beautiful realization. Sometimes difficult situations are resolved by simple truths.

DEAR ABBY: I am in love with "Errol." But he has one big flaw. He has a habit of staring at other women's bodies. Specifically, their chests. I'm not talking about just a glance at a well-endowed female. Errol literally stares until the lady is out of sight.

I find it annoying and embarrassing. We have discussed it many times, but he refuses to admit there is anything abnormal about his behavior. He says all men do it. I have dated other men and have never experienced this problem.

Errol says he loves me, and I believe him. Other than his staring, our relationship is wonderful, and I don't want to leave him. However, I'm afraid his obsession will eventually come between us. What are your thoughts on this? -- IN LOVE WITH A LEERER

DEAR IN LOVE: Glancing at other people is normal. Staring is considered rude, inconsiderate and a sign of immaturity. It's also demeaning to one's companion.

Since your boyfriend knows how his staring makes you feel and has made it clear he has no intention of altering his behavior, I'd say your relationship with him is already a bust.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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