DEAR ABBY: I am a 39-year-old female, and I want to know more about my ancestors so I can tell stories about them to my kids. The thing is, my boyfriend doesn't like the idea, and anytime I say or do something, he criticizes me about it. He's also very controlling and manipulative. He feels it's his way or the highway. That's why I want out -- for the sake of my life and the kids. I have no money and nowhere to go. What should I do? -- CRYING IN WESTERN WASHINGTON
DEAR CRYING: I agree the situation you describe isn't healthy for you or the children. If you have no family to help, you will have to work toward independence in small steps. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org or 800-799-7233) for suggestions on how to disengage from your abuser (oops! I meant "boyfriend") without any of you being harmed. Then find a job so you won't be penniless, and start saving your money.