DEAR ABBY: I am a 16-year-old girl with a problem I can't talk to anyone about. I have been with my boyfriend, "Jon," for about five months. He has always been kind of jealous and controlling. Recently my parents told me I couldn't see him anymore.
Jon became furious when I told him how my parents feel, and now he's talking about killing them so we can be together. I know he is serious.
I really love Jon. He is the first boy who has shown an interest in me.
My parents and I have always had a great relationship and my mom is like my best friend. I totally don't want to see them get hurt. I don't know what to do. I can't tell my parents and I can't tell the police. I have tried to talk Jon out of it, and tell him they will learn to accept him over time. He just gets mad and says I am taking their side. Please tell me what to do. -- ANONYMOUS IN FORT MYERS, FLA.
DEAR ANONYMOUS: I hope your sense of self-preservation is stronger than your sense of family loyalty. The boy you are involved with appears to have serious mental problems. He desperately needs psychological evaluation and counseling. Unless you do something now, Jon could talk himself into doing something to your parents -- and you will be an accessory because you knew it was going to happen and did nothing.
I urge you to warn your parents about Jon's threats, so they can protect themselves -- and you. As much as you may love him, you cannot reason with someone who is irrational and possibly homicidal.
P.S. Do NOT allow Jon to make you feel guilty for wanting to protect your parents. Your first responsibility is the safety of your family. So please don't wait. Tell them NOW. A good way to begin would be to clip this letter, hand it to them and tell them that you wrote it.
DEAR ABBY: I have been dating "George" for nine months. Since the day I met him, I knew he was a little odd, but that was one of the qualities that first attracted me to him.
In the last three months, his behavior has become worse. He is now homeless, penniless, jobless, and has problems with alcohol and depression. He was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia.
I love George dearly, but my role in his life has switched from girlfriend to caregiver/provider. I am not sure what to do. He refuses to get help but is stuck to me like a lost child. How can I save his and my life before it is too late? -- DESPERATE IN NEW YORK
DEAR DESPERATE: True lovers must also be true friends, and right now George desperately needs one.
Tell him, as a concerned friend, that because you love him, he must get professional help.
If he doesn't have money, he can still find help in New York in a number of places. One of the large academic hospitals might be the place to start.
In any meaningful relationship, both people involved switch caregiving roles at various times. This is called "nurturing." But being made to feel obligated beyond affection is entrapment -- and that you must avoid.
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