Dear Abby Tackles Unsupportive Families and Abusive Relationships

Q: Dear Abby, I have been dealing with a lot of criticism from my parents and significant other about my major. My parents think that I could do something more productive or more challenging, but I want to pursue what I love. How do I get them to understand that I am passionate about my major and express that I need their support?

Sincerely,

Penny Lane in Indiana, Pa.

A: Dear Penny Lane, this is definitely a tough situation! Sometimes those who care about you are the most critical, which is usually because they have your best interests at heart. Something you can do to persuade them that your major has a promising future is to do your research on the job growth/market in your field. Even if your goal isn't to have a large income or a stable job, giving your parents this information may give them peace. Another possible idea is to show them how much your major really means to you by telling them exactly what you plan to do with your degree. As for their support, let them know (with a calm disposition) that you need their love and support. Remind them that you need to learn to make decisions for yourself and learn from any mistakes you will make throughout your life. As for your significant other, try sitting them down and saying something along the lines of, “I would really like it if you were supportive of my major and started giving a bit more constructive criticism.” If that doesn’t work, or an argument ensues, always remember there are other fish in the sea. Someone who doesn’t respect and support your wishes may not deserve someone as ambitious as yourself! Good luck, and work hard!

Love & Lipstick,

Abby

 

Q: Dear Abby, I have been with my boyfriend now for over a year. Things started off great. We clicked immediately and fell in love quickly. We are both full-time students and we both have jobs, so things can get stressful. Lately, he has been taking his stress out on me, verbally and physically. I have tried to leave many times, but he has threatened to hurt me even worse if I do. Only a few close friends of mine know and they blame me for not leaving. I want to leave him, but I am afraid for my physical well-being. How do I get away from him and ensure that he won’t hurt me anymore?

-Lost and Scared in Indiana, Pa.

A: Dear Lost and Scared, I am so sorry to hear about how you have been treated. No one deserves to be abused in any way, shape, or form. It is very smart of you to know that you need to leave the situation. Domestic abuse is something that needs to be taken seriously with immediate action. First of all, do NOT let anyone blame you for this. You are a survivor and you are in no way responsible for your boyfriend’s actions. The first thing I would do is make a plan for when you break it off and/or leave your home (if you are living with him). If you are afraid of him physically attacking you, perhaps have your bags packed and be gone before he comes home. Do not let him know where you will be staying. If you are not living with him and you are just looking to break it off, try doing it in a public place or have someone you trust be there with you. Either way, a change of your phone number and a restraining order may benefit you. Many women and men go through the challenges of domestic abuse, and some unfortunately never get away from it. Do not think that you are alone. Once you are able to get away from him, it might be a stress reliever for you if you joined a support group for victims of domestic violence. If you need further immediate help, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Violence at 1-800-799-7233, or the Alice Paul House at (724)-349-4444. There is always help available to you. Remember that this process will be long and heart-breaking, but you are very strong and extremely intelligent. You will make it through!

Love & Lipstick,

Abby