DEAR ABBY: I am 19 and have been kicked out of my house. I’m grateful for everything my parents have done for me. My dad continues to compare me to my older siblings, although I’m the exact opposite of them. They are not going to college, they barely graduated from high school and continue to abuse alcohol and drugs.
I’m in college earning almost all A’s. I graduated from high school with flying colors and have a steady job. I provide for myself (food, gas, buying anything I need) and pay for car insurance. I have tried my hardest to be the best daughter and a good influence for my younger siblings.
I have asked my father multiple times during the last year to stop comparing me to my older siblings. He hasn’t. Our last conversation was a few weeks ago, when he told me to pack my stuff and get out of the house because I was an “ungrateful daughter” and “hoeing around just like my older siblings.”
I have been focusing on my education and can’t understand how he came to that conclusion. Frankly, I was very hurt he thought that of me. I’m not my siblings; I am myself, and I’m doing the best I can to give myself a successful future. My father refuses to see that. What should I do? — BEWILDERED DAUGHTER IN TEXAS
DEAR DAUGHTER: I don’t know what’s wrong with your father, but something is. You appear to be mature and responsible and doing your best to lay the foundation for a successful future. I applaud you for it.
If it’s possible for you to live elsewhere, perhaps with other relatives, and avoid your father’s uncalled-for verbal abuse, it might be healthier for you. Do not expect him to be pleased about it, because no matter how hard you try, you may never be able to please him, so be prepared.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend and I have been dating for three years. The one issue we argue about is religion. I am a Catholic and he’s from another Christian denomination. I respect all religions and am open-minded.
However, after going to his church three times, I didn’t like it at all. They have many strict rules which, if not obeyed, will result in a person being shunned. What kind of church does that? They compare Catholics to themselves and say everything Catholics do is wrong according to the Bible. I have never felt so unwelcome in my life.
My boyfriend’s parents want me to convert, but I don’t want to. Because of this, his relationship with his parents is being affected. He plans to quit his church and become an atheist. I don’t know how to feel about this. It would be hard to convince him to join my church.
We have had many fights over this, and I wonder if we should just break up. That way we wouldn’t have to discuss who is converting or where we are going to marry. Please give me some advice. — STRESSED IN THE ISLANDS
DEAR STRESSED: Considering the stance your boyfriend’s family’s religion has on marrying out of the faith, I’m surprised your relationship has made it this far. Fighting benefits neither of you. Talking about this calmly and rationally might bring you closer.
If he quits his church, his family and friends will make every effort to isolate and punish him. He may have to completely rebuild his social relationships. If he has any sort of religious inclination, rather than him overreacting by “becoming an (instant) atheist,” the two of you might like to explore finding a denomination together that fills your needs. But be prepared for pushback because his parents (and possibly yours) are not going to like it.
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.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)