DEAR ABBY: I'm a 34-year-old man who lives with my father, who is 76 years old. I'm currently without a job, but when I have one, I buy food and whatever else is needed for the house. I believe I'm doing my fair share.
I love my father dearly, but I can't stand him as a person. He can be very rude and verbally abusive. He has told people we know very personal things about me. When we're visiting family, if I ask for something to eat or drink, he'll answer, "No! You don't need anything." (I can tell that the relatives are annoyed by him, too.)
Dad played a major role in ruining a relationship with a woman I was dating. I don't invite any of my new friends over because I know he'll have something sarcastic to say. He also accuses me of not doing any cleaning around the house, but he fails to notice that I have done it at night while he was asleep.
I rarely converse with him because we have nothing in common. He takes almost no interest in what I have to say, even when I tell him about something I saw on TV. He says, "Well, you shouldn't be watching that." I keep my mouth shut because I need a place to live, but day by day, more and more, my rage is building, and I want to tell him off. Help, please. -- LIVING WITH A TYRANT
DEAR LIVING: Do not tell him off. Although you may be living "rent-free," you are paying plenty for the "privilege" of staying under his roof. It appears your father resents having you there as much as you dislike being there. Do whatever you can to find a job. When you do, save every penny. And, for the sake of your self-respect, move out as quickly as possible so you can start living a normal life. You may need to find a roommate, but anything would be better than this.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I took our granddaughters, 16 and 13, on a two-week cruise to Europe this past summer. We had a wonderful time with them. To make a long story short, the 16-year-old, "Megan," confided to us that she's afraid of failing.
She's a straight-A student and a perfectionist when it comes to her classes. We want to make sure we use the correct words with her. These girls are precious to us, and we're very close. Megan sent us an emotional thank-you note for the trip, as did her sister. She seems to do all the right things. We just don't want her to put excessive pressure on herself.
We're almost 80, and they keep us young. Those girls rock our world. Could you tell us how to handle this? -- LOVING GRANDMA IN ARIZONA
DEAR GRANDMA: Tell Megan that you love her and she rocks your world. Then assure her your feelings about her will never change regardless of whether she succeeds or fails at whatever she does. Nobody wants to fail, but most successful people will tell you they learned more from their failures than they did from their successes. Tell her that worse than failure is being so afraid that she isn't willing to try. Then advise her to talk to her parents about her fears, or a counselor at school if she needs more help.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.