DEAR ABBY: My father and I usually get along well, but whenever we get into an argument, he'll say something like, "Well, maybe I should just kill myself. Then you won't have to deal with me!" This has been going on for as long as I can remember. I'm 21 now.
Abby, I don't think my dad is really suicidal. I think he says these things to make me feel guilty. It's hurtful because suicide is a serious matter, and I always have to ask myself, "What if?"
Telling him to stop just results in more emotional blackmail. He has also refused to see a counselor. I could really use some advice. -- CAN'T WIN IN NEW YORK
DEAR CAN'T WIN: I agree with you that threats of suicide are a serious matter. And I have long said in this column that repeated threats of suicide should not be ignored. The next time your father starts talking about suicide, ask him if he is really serious. And, if he says he is, call 9-1-1. He may need 72 hours of observation.