DEAR ABBY: I think I have an abuse problem. I have been with my boyfriend for a year, and already I feel like he is fed up with me. I don't want to lose him.
When I was younger, my father used to abuse me. It was years ago, but I feel like I might have gotten that trait from him. In addition, I have a tendency to smack my boyfriend on the arm when he's verbally abusing me. I just want it to stop.
I love this man and I feel terrible after I do it. I keep telling him I'm sorry and that I have the worst tendency to act on impulse. Please tell me how to stop because I cannot lose him. Any suggestions? -- SORRY IN KANSAS CITY, MO.
DEAR SORRY: If you want your relationship to improve, you must realize it will take effort not only on your part but also your boyfriend's. Neither of you handles anger or frustration appropriately. He shouldn't verbally abuse you if something bothers him. And you need to find other ways than hitting him to make him stop.
Couples counseling could help you communicate more effectively with each other. Many licensed mental health professionals offer it. Please don't wait.