Dear Abby: Will I ever get over my childhood abuse?

Mean treatment by mother and older brother is still taking a toll in adulthood.

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DEAR ABBY: I had a horrible childhood with a mean mother who berated and took her issues out on me. I also had an older brother who enjoyed making fun of me and embarrassed me in front of others to get his kicks. He still never misses an opportunity to pull a “gotcha.”

I was raised at a time when child abuse was considered making a kid tough. What it did to me was break me down emotionally. Does PTSD ever go away, or do I have to live with it to the end? — JUST GETTING BY IN NEW YORK

DEAR JUST GETTING BY: I’m sorry for the abuse to which you were subjected. PTSD does not go away on its own, and you do not have to “live with it.” Distance yourself as much as possible from your bully brother. You can find the help you need by asking your physician or insurance company to refer you to a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in patients with PTSD. You won’t be the first person to do “couch time” after an abusive childhood. Trust me on that.

DEAR ABBY: My father-in-law has spent every Friday night with my husband and me for two years, ever since my mother-in-law passed away. My husband spends every Tuesday evening with him at his house. My sister-in-law is building a room onto her house for him to live in (he is selling his house). My husband and sister-in-law call him two or three times a day.

Abby, my father-in-law is healthy and still drives. He never pays for any food — my husband and sister-in-law buy all his food. He’s a wealthy man, but stingy. I think my husband and his sister are obsessed. What do you think? I’m so tired of this. I don’t want him staying at my house. I need privacy! Help! — OVER IT NOW IN TENNESSEE

DEAR OVER IT: Your husband and his sister appear to be devoted to their father. Either that, or they may anticipate a big payday once their wealthy parent expires. More than privacy, you may need a break. Arrange to spend some of those Friday nights with women friends, and perhaps his presence will be less onerous.

DEAR ABBY: We welcomed new neighbors and allowed them to use our garbage can until they got one, and gave them a bottle of wine and a housewarming card. We also offered to let them use our downstairs bathroom until the contractor finished theirs. No one else on the block did anything for them. Nothing.

They then invited a neighbor and his wife over for drinks and didn’t invite us. My husband says I shouldn’t be offended by this. I certainly would have had the neighbors who had welcomed me over first. What do you think? — SNUBBED IN THE SOUTH

DEAR SNUBBED: I think you and your husband are more than neighborly. I also think you are blessed with common sense, something your new neighbors may lack. My advice is to let this unfortunate incident slide without holding a grudge. Take the high road and move on. Nothing positive will come of allowing this to fester. Whether the couple is worth knowing better will become apparent with time.

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 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.)

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