DEAR ABBY: I am a woman in my 50s who has been the family “screw-up” since I was a teenager. Eighteen months ago, I screwed up in the worst way possible. Without my husband’s knowledge, I started robbing Peter to pay Paul with the bills. The end result: I lost us everything (home, vehicle, etc.).
He is a good man, and he deserved so much better than what I put him through. He has said he forgives me for everything, but my problem is that I can’t forgive myself.
We are divorcing now, and I’m struggling to live my life without the man I love (and who still loves me). The divorce was pushed-for right after we lost everything. His adult son paid for it, so he hasn’t dropped it. He says he doesn’t want to make waves because he’s living in his son’s guest room. I had to move back in with my dad several states away.
We talk daily, but I am still incredibly depressed. I have found a job near where I live now, but I have no medical benefits, so therapy is out of the question (and so is everything else I need to take care of my health). I have worked with mental health patients my whole adult life, so I recognize the symptoms (I have to force myself to perform personal hygiene, I sleep whenever I’m not at work, etc.).
Abby, I don’t know what to do anymore. There are days when I don’t know why I bother continuing on. I feel like I don’t deserve to live after what I did to my husband. There is no way I will ever be able to give him back everything I caused him to lose, and that knowledge haunts me every minute of every day. How does someone learn to forgive themselves? — FOREVER THE SCREW-UP
DEAR FOREVER: There are options available for individuals who have little or no money and need help with their mental health. I researched what might be available in your community and found there is a university with a department of psychological services. Contact it and inquire if someone in that department might be able to help you. There is also the option of the County Department of Mental Health.
Once you are stable again, you can begin to work on forgiving yourself. The problem with being labeled a “screw-up” as a teenager is that once the idea is embedded, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Start there.
DEAR ABBY: I have a grocery store etiquette question. I become really offended when I’m unloading my groceries onto the conveyor belt at checkout and — before I’m finished — another shopper comes up behind me and begins unloading hers. It leaves me not enough room to finish unloading mine! I think it’s rude, and it baffles me that so many people do it. Is it impolite to tell them they are being rude? Or is it dangerous these days? — GOING AS FAST AS I CAN
DEAR GOING: It wouldn’t be impolite or dangerous to tell the person behind you that you haven’t finished unloading your purchases and to please stop. I do, however, think you should suppress the urge to lecture the person about manners unless you’re looking for an argument.
If this happens often, talk to the store manager about it. In some businesses there is a mark on the floor indicating where shoppers should stand while waiting for the person ahead to complete his or her purchase.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)