DEAR ABBY: I am 30 years old, married seven years, the mother of three children, and I'm at the end of my rope. My husband has quit or been fired from numerous jobs because of his "poor attitude." He calls the women he works with "fat b----es" and blames everyone else for his problems. He's addicted to weed and alcohol, and gets extremely upset if I don't partake of these things with him.
When he does work, he calls me an average of 15 times a day, or he instant-messages me constantly -- and he's only gone six or seven hours. If I don't answer the phone or respond to his e-mail immediately, he'll drop everything and race home to accuse me of cheating or betraying him in some way. On three different occasions he has slapped me in the face, then immediately denied doing it. He has also grabbed me around the throat a few times. He says very hurtful things to me, and then denies saying them. He is verbally abusive to my eldest son from a previous relationship.
I have no friends or family I can turn to. I am extremely depressed and at the point of either running away or killing myself. I'm scared all the time. I'd leave, but he tells me he will hurt me or take my kids away and never let me see them if I do. Can you help me? -- NANCY IN NEW MEXICO
DEAR NANCY: If ever I heard of a woman who needed to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, it is you, dear lady. The toll-free number (which won't show up on your phone bill) is (800) 799-7233 (SAFE). The people on the hotline can help you to formulate a safe escape plan from the drug-addicted bully you married. (If this seems harsh, he qualifies.) Please make the call TODAY, not only for your own sake but also for your children's.