DEAR ABBY: I am 22 years old and have been married 17 months. "Derek" and I have a 23-month-old son. Derek hasn't worked for about a year and refuses to help support our family. He also belittles me whenever he talks to me. I am not happy in this marriage, but I am not sure what to do about it.
On our honeymoon, Derek told me if I ever divorced him that he'd make sure he would get custody of our son. And his mom already said that she would tell the judge that I was an unfit mother.
My son is my world, Abby. He doesn't even let his daddy hold him, so I know he wouldn't be better off with Derek. But because I am on disability, I don't know if I have a good chance of getting custody if I leave. I don't feel Derek loves me or my son.
What should I do? Stick it out with my husband or take the chance of losing my son? -- TRAPPED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR TRAPPED: It must have been some honeymoon if that was when Derek began threatening retribution if you ever divorced him. It appears you married a bully.
The answer to your questions will become clearer if you discuss this matter with a lawyer who, I am sure, can explain what your rights are as a mother. If, after that, you can find the strength to assert yourself, perhaps Derek will consider an attitude adjustment and stop blowing hot air.
P.S. If your baby is thriving, then your mother-in-law's trumped-up allegations would prove groundless.