DEAR ABBY: I have anger issues and sometimes I take it out on the ones I love. When my fiancee recently told me we are having a child, I hoped my attitude would change. It hasn't, and at times it has gotten worse. I hit her last night and it left a mark.
I feel awful for the pain I continue to cause her, and I keep telling myself "this is the last time." I know she should drop me and be done with this abusive relationship, but she believes in me and holds onto the hope that better days are around the corner. I know the things I have done will never be forgotten. How can I fix this? Or is it too late and we are both lying to ourselves? -- ASHAMED IN ANAHEIM, CALIF.
DEAR ASHAMED: It isn't too late IF you are willing to seek professional help for your anger issues. Change isn't easy, but it is possible if you are willing to put in the effort and find ways of coping with your anger other than lashing out at those closest to you. Your physician should be able to refer you to a therapist who can help you. However, if that's not feasible, contact your county department of mental health about counseling.
If you hit your pregnant girlfriend again, you could seriously injure her or your baby, so please don't wait to talk to someone. While I empathize with her loving and having faith in you, she must now put the child she is carrying first. If you assault her again, she should call the police. But I would rather you get help for your problem on your own than your having a criminal record and court-ordered anger management.