DEAR ABBY: My husband of one year, "Phil," and I are facing a problem we don't know how to handle.
Back in college, Phil had an on-again, off-again girlfriend, "Madison." He cared for her but because of her mental instability, he finally ended the romance. Although Phil has not seen or spoken to her in years, they have occasionally kept in touch by e-mail. (This has always been initiated by her.)
It has become a problem, Abby, because Madison won't stop trying to contact my husband. He stopped responding to her e-mails, but she never took the hint.
First she wrote to tell him she heard he was getting married. Then she found out I was pregnant and concluded that was the reason for our wedding -- which couldn't be further from the truth. Later, she wrote to ask Phil how my pregnancy was coming along.
Our daughter was born two months ago, and yesterday we were informed that Madison bought a baby gift and intends to drop it off at the home of Phil's parents. He is very upset. He says he wants this woman to leave him alone -- that she's unstable and can't accept the fact he's married.
Since she lives in another state, I'm not worried about her peeking in our windows; I just don't understand why she refuses to let go. What should we do with the baby gift? We don't want it. -- TROUBLED IN THE LONE STAR STATE
DEAR TROUBLED: She won't let go because she's clinging to her fantasy that she wasn't rejected. In other words, she's in a state of denial.
What to do with the unwanted baby gift? Donate it to a hospital or a children's shelter. Your husband should write a brief letter acknowledging the gift -- and stating that he would prefer the past remain in the past, so please send nothing more because he needs to devote his full attention to his wife and child in the future.
DEAR ABBY: I am writing to you as a last resort. I am 14 and come from a very good family, with one exception -- my mother. She is an alcoholic. She drinks every day from noon until she goes to bed at night. I recently went to counseling because I tried to kill myself. I am starting to have those feelings again.
Mother casts me aside when she is drunk. I feel as though there is nothing left for me to live for. I want to go back into counseling, but I am afraid I will hurt my parents' feelings.
Please give me some advice, Abby. -- ALONE AND DEPRESSED
DEAR ALONE AND DEPRESSED: If you are feeling depressed and suicidal, your parents' "feelings" are the last thing you should be worrying about. Call the counselor you were seeing before and schedule an appointment. Then tell your father what you have done -- and why.
I'm sorry to say you are not the only teenager in this sad situation. Alcoholics Anonymous has a sub-organization for children of alcoholics. It's called Alateen. It's listed in most phone books or you can call the information operator. Please don't wait to contact the organization. Once you do, you will discover you are not alone with this problem, and you'll be given the support and information you deserve.
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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