DEAR ABBY: I’m a 15-year-old girl. For the past year I have been self-injuring. I take a sharp object and scrape the skin off until it bleeds. My mom saw the scars on my arm. I have 15 other ones, but she doesn’t know about them.
I have to keep lying to her and it hurts. I want to stop, but I can’t. How can I tell her I lied? I know she will be very upset. — STUCK IN UTAH
DEAR STUCK: Go to your mother, tell her that you need to talk to her about something important, but you are afraid she will be angry with you. Ask her to hear you out before she reacts. Then tell her everything you have told me and ask for her help. That’s what mothers are for.
If necessary, show her your letter to me and my response because she needs to understand that when individuals self-injure, it is often to cope with serious depression — which is an illness — and it takes the help of a mental health professional to stop.
DEAR ABBY: My husband took up the guitar about 10 years ago. I thought it was a great idea at first and encouraged his interest. Within two years of his learning to play, I was expected to sit, listen to him and never interrupt a song.
Needless to say, his demands have not gone over well with me. This is his hobby, not mine. He plays well, but can’t sing a note. When he does, he sounds like a cat in heat, and he likes to perform like he’s playing for a crowd.
My peace and quiet at home are gone. He says I don’t support him. What is your take on this? — WANTS PEACE AND QUIET
DEAR WANTS: Your husband wants praise and validation, and you should give it to him in the area where it’s deserved — for having mastered the guitar. However, because his singing needs tweaking, be honest and tactfully suggest he find a vocal coach to help him in that area. If he reacts defensively, be sure to mention that some of the finest singers in the world get coaching throughout their careers to avoid damaging their vocal cords.
PS. Perhaps you should encourage him to find other musicians to start a group. That way, he’ll have an outlet for his talent and you’ll be free (at last!).
DEAR ABBY: I am an eighth-grader in junior high, and there is a girl I really like. My problem is I’m afraid to tell her I love her.
I know she likes someone else and wants to go out with him, but I don’t know if she likes me. When I’m home, I write her poems, and I want to drop them off at her locker, but I am scared to. We are in three classes together. Do you have any advice? — NERVOUS BOY
DEAR NERVOUS BOY: Yes. If you’re smart, you’ll wait until that girl is over her crush before declaring your feelings for her. The boy she has her eye on may or may not be interested in her. But as long as she’s fixated on him, she won’t be receptive to a romance with you, and it could be embarrassing if you say anything prematurely. (The same goes for anonymously dropping off your literary efforts at her locker.)
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.