DEAR ABBY: Ever since my last report card, my relationship with my mother has deteriorated. I got all A's and B's and have a 3.78 GPA. However, this isn't good enough for Mom.
My mother went to Harvard and doesn't understand why I can't get a 4.0. She has started telling me what a failure I am, that I am worthless and have ruined her life. I know she's probably saying these things without thinking, but it still hurts. She doesn't apologize after her temper dies down -- she just acts like everything is OK.
I don't think I deserve to be treated this way. When I try to talk to her about it, she turns it around and says I deserve this treatment because I am a failure. I'm really hurting and don't know what to do. -- SAD DAUGHTER IN MANHATTAN BEACH, CALIF.
DEAR SAD DAUGHTER: I disagree with your mother. Although she may think she is motivating you to do better, telling a child that she is worthless, a failure, and that she has "ruined her life" is verbal abuse. Please talk to an adult relative or counselor at school about interceding on your behalf with your mother, because her standards are unrealistic, and her method is destructive.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 20 years to my high school sweetheart. He's a great father and a hard worker. He has always been good to me -- until a year ago when he came to me and confessed that he'd cheated on me with my best friend. I was devastated. The friendship was over, and I made my husband leave.
After things calmed down, we decided to try and work things out because we still loved each other and wanted to try -- not just for us -- but for our children.
I'm trying to pick up the pieces and trust him again, but there's a problem. His job takes him out of town for days at a time, and when he comes home, I'm always checking his cell phone and credit card bills for any sign that he's been unfaithful again. It's been more than a year, but I still don't trust him -- or anyone, for that matter. When he's home, we argue a lot.
The other day, he said, "Let's get the kids, take off for the weekend and renew our vows, because I want to spend the rest of my life with you." Our anniversary is coming up, but I thought it was an odd suggestion, given all our problems. I'm confused and deeply hurt and don't know what I should do. Can you help me? -- NO LONGER TRUSTING IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR NO LONGER TRUSTING: Your husband suggested renewing your vows because he loves you and wants to make a fresh start. It's his way of trying to heal your marriage. However, what's ailing your marriage is the fact you no longer trust him and really haven't forgiven him for straying. Marriage counseling could help you both get past this. Once you have truly forgiven and are ready to make a fresh start, then renewing your vows is a wonderful idea.
DEAR ABBY: I am 13 years old and a cutter. I see a counselor and I used to be suicidal. I want to take medication so I can stop cutting, but I don't know how to tell my mom. What should I do? -- TROUBLED TEEN IN TEXAS
DEAR TROUBLED TEEN: Since you feel unable to discuss the subject with your mother, the next time you see your counselor, ask the counselor to help you talk to her. If medication is indicated for your problem, I'm sure the counselor will be happy to facilitate the conversation -- or even talk to your mother for you.
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