DEAR ABBY: I have been married to "Emile" for eight years. We have been together for the last 15. Emile has always been demeaning and sarcastic to me. When he gets upset about something he blames me.
This has been going on for so long I don't know what to do anymore. I am so depressed and hurt that all I can think of is "going away" permanently. I don't think I'd ever harm myself, but I feel more desperate and hopeless every day. I'm down so low I don't know how to come back up. Please advise. -- NO TEARS LEFT IN LAS VEGAS
DEAR NO TEARS LEFT: Has no one told you that the effects of constant put-downs can be equally -- if not more -- debilitating than being physically abused? After 15 years of having your self-esteem chipped away, I'm pleased that you finally found the strength to ask for help.
If you have family, arrange to visit them -- a long visit. If you can afford to separate from your husband, pick up the phone and call the National Domestic Violence Hotline ((800) 799-7233) and ask for help to safely get away. I'm not exaggerating when I say your mental health depends on it.