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by Abigail Van Buren

Triangle of Love, Friendship Is Broken Apart by Betrayal

DEAR ABBY: I am only 13, but I have a big problem. I love both of my parents, but I don't like the way my dad treats my mom. Dad drinks a lot and abuses Mom. Not by hitting, but with words. Mom wants to leave, but she doesn't want to break up our family.

Lately, my older brothers are beginning to copy Dad. They mouth off at Mom and it makes me angry. I don't know how to help my parents without hurting one or the other. They both need help, but Dad refuses to get it. What can I do? -- ANGRY DAUGHTER/SISTER IN KANSAS

DEAR ANGRY DAUGHTER: Remind your mother that words can hurt as much as physical blows, and your brothers are already imitating their father's behavior.

Ask your mother how she will feel when her sons marry and abuse THEIR wives. Deep in her heart she knows that the time to put an end to this cycle is now. Continue encouraging your mother to do what she knows she should -- leave your abusive father for the sake of her children.