DEAR ABBY: You advised "Emotionally Bruised" to confront her mother and tell her how she felt. I, too, received a lot of criticism from my mother while growing up. I felt I couldn't do anything right. I took all the criticism out on myself. I became anorexic. It was something I knew I could do right.
I finally realized I had to talk to my mother and stop hurting myself. Believe it or not, not only did Mom listen, she also helped my husband and me financially to get treatment for my disorder.
I wish I could be in "Bruised's" shoes just one more time. I lost my mother last year to cancer. I was able to tell her how much I love her, although I don't know if she heard me. She opened her eyes one time and smiled at me. Mom brought me into this world and I watched her leave. Her nurse told me that Mom talked about me all the time, and how proud she was of me.
Avoiding your mother is a sad choice to make, especially if you haven't tried to talk. I wish my mother were here. I miss talking to her, and wish I had the chance to see and hug her again. Please don't give up. You'll have a lifetime to regret it. -- GLAD I TRIED, JOLIET, ILL.
DEAR GLAD: Your letter brought tears to my eyes. There is no single solution for dealing with emotionally abusive parents who belittle or constantly criticize their children. Sadly, some parents are emotionally dysfunctional. They may have experienced the same kind of treatment from their own parents and are "mirroring" that behavior. As one reader pointed out, those who repeatedly criticize are usually unhappy people who dislike themselves -- so they project their feelings onto their children. If they were happy, they'd be bubbling over with kind words. Those comments show keen insight.