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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Guilty of Abuse That He Tried Not to Commit

DEAR ABBY: Earlier this year, you printed a poem, "Words of Love?" about what abusers say. My wife told me for years that I was abusing her, but I didn't believe it. I grew up in a home where we were severely controlled and abused by our father. My brother and sister were also sexually abused by Dad. I'm lucky I escaped that kind of abuse. We have all confronted him. He has no remorse for what he did.

When I read the poem, I realized that I had been abusing my wife. Since my whole life had been built on not being like my father, I don't know how I let this happen.

I cut the poem out and had it laminated. I always carry it with me. I will NEVER say those things to my wife -- or any woman -- again.

I gave my wife a copy of the poem with the abuses highlighted that I had committed, along with flowers, my sincere apology, and my promise never to abuse her again.

It's amazing how much better I feel about myself since I recognized my abusive behavior and decided to change. The poem said abusers don't change, but as God is my witness, I will. I am seeing a therapist in an attempt to deal with my childhood and put the "old me" behind me.

Abby, had I not read your column, I never would have seen myself in the mirror of that poem. You get credit for changing my life. -- G. IN TEXAS

DEAR G.: I am pleased that you saw yourself in that poem and made a commitment to change. Please let me know in a year if the change is permanent. I hope and pray that it will be. I'm rooting for you.

P.S. I hope that your brother and sister reported your father's sexual abuse to the police. He belongs on a list of sexual predators, particularly if there are any small children living near him.