DEAR ABBY: I'm writing in response to "Controlled and Trapped," the 18-year-old woman who was forbidden by her mother to visit "Tom" in Tennessee unless she took a chaperone. She never did go, and she regretted it for the next 40 years. She finally got her own apartment, but continued to feel deep resentment toward her mother. You recommended counseling.
I am a 67-year-old retired M.D. who happens to be gay. I, too, felt controlled and trapped by my parents when I was younger. Over the years, I was counseled by two psychiatrists and three psychotherapists. Even after all that psychiatric help, I still felt great resentment toward my folks. However, after I moved to Los Angeles, I was fortunate enough to find a mentor.
One day, my mentor said something that forever cracked my shell of resentment and anger. He said, "Armand, your parents behaved the way they did because they didn't know any better!" I suddenly realized that both my parents had only sixth-grade educations, and had they known better, they probably would have treated me differently.
When I asked my mentor if I should forgive my parents, he said, "You got it! You'll have to forgive them every time they come to mind."
You know what? It took quite a while, but I persisted and it paid off. Finally, all my anger and resentment dissipated. I cried tears of joy for my newfound freedom and peace of mind. Then I actually began feeling love in my heart toward my parents.
Softly, slowly ... love heals. I read your column faithfully. Keep up the good work. -- ARMAND AUGER, M.D., LOS ANGELES
DEAR ARMAND: Your mentor led you to a beautiful realization. Sometimes difficult situations are resolved by simple truths.