DEAR ABBY: I am a 32-year-old single female. My past has been filled with physical, mental and emotional abuse that began when I was 5. I always believed that even though my past was bad, things would get better.
Well, two marriages and several bad relationships later, it seems I only attract men who are either physically abusive, emotionally unavailable, or both. All of my relationships are somehow abusive.
I am so sad and lonely that I have even considered suicide. I know I have something to live for, but I just don't know what. Could there be something in my character that tells men I am an easy target for them? Please help me. -- LOST AND UNLOVED IN MILWAUKEE
DEAR LOST: There is nothing lacking in your character. You were brought up to believe that physical abuse, mind games and lack of emotional support were normal behavior that should be tolerated.
Can this be overcome? Absolutely! However, you'll have to rebuild your expectations from the ground up. Until this is done, I'd advise you to abstain from romantic involvement. Professional counseling will speed the process. You have much to live for. But in order to reach your goal, you'll have to "unlearn" many of the things you have taken for granted as normal.