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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Although I have read your column for years and have seen letters from women who have lived with controlling men, I can't remember reading letters about controlling women.

My ex-daughter-in-law, "Rita," could be the queen of mean. When she met my son, "Lee," he was a happy, popular and well-respected man with a good job. She made it plain after the wedding that her career came first and money was very important. She criticized his friends and made it uncomfortable when he would see them. Rita bought all his clothes. If he bought a shirt himself, she would complain. He would put it away just to keep peace.

Rita got an opportunity to move about 1,000 miles away. Since she made more money, Lee transferred and moved. I found out later she had solicited the job and insisted on the move to get him away from "bad influences" -- his friends and family. Rita and my son have a 5-year-old daughter, "Lily."

Visiting them was a nightmare. We had to watch whatever we said. We went to dinner one night at a medium-priced restaurant. When Lee picked up the check, Rita had a temper tantrum, saying they couldn't afford to treat people to meals. (They make more than $100,000 a year between them.)

Our son turned into a silent young man who was starting to drink too much. They had no friends, as Rita didn't like anyone Lee met. Lee liked basketball. Needless to say, she criticized the people he played with. You get the picture.

Last year, Lee walked out. He had had enough. He is staying in the same town because he wants to remain involved in his daughter's life. He is happier now than he has been in years. He has stopped drinking and has made friends who like to do what he does. Lee takes Lily every other weekend and does a lot of baby-sitting when Rita has to work overtime. Rita is a bitter lady who still has no friends.

Abby, please advise your readers that men aren't the only ones who can be controlling. I have seen firsthand what damage a woman can do. -- SEEN IT ALL IN ATLANTA

DEAR SEEN IT ALL: While I have never failed to acknowledge that women can be controlling or abusive, you are correct that more letters appear in my column about abusive men. That may be because men are conditioned not to complain when their feelings are hurt. Or that the abuse women suffer is more physical -- and verbal abuse is easier to hide.

Whichever type of abuse your son suffered, I'm pleased that he is free at last.

DEAR ABBY: Thank you for publishing the letter from David S. Boyer, M.D., warning that early detection and treatment of diabetes can prevent eye disease and blindness.

In your response, you advised anyone with a family history of diabetes to have annual physical and eye examinations. While this is a good idea, it does not go far enough.

Half of the 10 million diabetics in the United States are unaware that they have this disease. Many diabetics have no family history. At this time, screening for diabetes is recommended every three years for everyone over the age of 45, regardless of family history -- and earlier and more often for people with specific risk factors such as obesity. -- PATRICK A. MAUER, M.D., LOS ANGELES

DEAR DR. MAUER: Considering the fact that many people are battling weight problems, I hope your letter will remind them that a talk with their physician about diet and exercise may be in order. Both can reduce a person's risk of developing diabetes.

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

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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