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by Abigail Van Buren

Table Hopping Friend Deserts Dinner Companions to Hobnob

DEAR ABBY: How can we convince our married daughter with children to seek a separation or divorce from her husband, who is physically, mentally and economically abusive to her and the kids? We believe she's suffering from low self-esteem, depression and other issues she can't resolve with him.

She has had to borrow what little money we can spare to buy food, school clothing and other basics. Her husband believes she should be working, taking care of an infant and an older child, paying for day care, half the bills and mortgage. Abby, this man has an income in the lower six figures!

We suggested therapy, but it was ignored. He blames everything on her. There is so much more to this story, but it would take up 10 of your columns. Please help. -- DESPERATE DAD IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR DESPERATE: A lawyer could point out to your daughter that she lives in a community property state, and half of what her husband has accumulated during the marriage is hers. A social worker could warn her that abuse doesn't remain static, that it can escalate to violence if it hasn't already. Statistics could illustrate that men who abuse their wives often go on to abuse their children. There is much that could be done, but not until or unless your daughter is willing to admit to herself that she is the victim of spousal abuse and take action.