DEAR ABBY: I find myself sometimes wanting to commit the most

heinous of crimes. The desire to do this has been with me my entire

life. I was sexually abused by my mother and oldest brother. While

that’s no excuse, I understand why I may be the way I am.

At 51, I have never committed any act against a young girl, but

the desire is clearly there for me. The issue before me is that if I

seek help for this problem, those who can provide it are required by

law in this state to report me.

How am I to overcome these urges when no matter what I do I am

considered guilty? — ANONYMOUS IN AMERICA

DEAR ANONYMOUS: You should be discussing these feelings with a

licensed mental health professional. If fear that you will be

arrested is what is holding you back, please be aware that if the

urge or feeling is not directed at anyone in particular, a therapist

is not required to report what you are confiding. However, if there

is a direct threat toward a specific individual, it must be

reported, even if it has not yet occurred.


DEAR ABBY: I have attended many events where the national anthem

has been sung by an invited guest and many where it has been

pre-recorded. When the national anthem is being sung live, is it

disrespectful to the performer to sing along? Some people who sing

along are off-key or sing so loud they drown out the performance for

the unfortunate attendees seated near them. — AUDREY IN ARIZONA

DEAR AUDREY: Our national anthem is notoriously difficult to

sing, as many professionals have discovered to their embarrassment

when they tried to perform it publicly. At large events during which

the anthem is played, it is not uncommon for many of the audience

members to be so filled with patriotic fervor that they join in. If

memory serves me, the volume is usually so loud that no one can hear

what’s coming out of their mouths.

To the best of my knowledge, no rule of etiquette forbids anyone

from singing along with Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Garth Brooks or Renee

Fleming — if they have the nerve to try.


DEAR ABBY: I am an old lady, happy I can still get around using

a cane. I would like to thank the many people who take the extra

time to open a door for me or hold it open longer so I can get

through. I am grateful for their help, and being offered a place

ahead of them in the checkout line is beyond appreciated. Thank you,

thank you.

However, may I offer a suggestion to those helpful folks, often

robust men, who want to do more? If I look unsteady, please DO NOT

grab me by the arm and try to steer me like an empty bicycle!

Instead, hold your arm out for me to lean on and allow me to do the

navigating. It may be slow, but with your help, it will be safe. —


DEAR CARYL: That’s an excellent suggestion, and one I hope

helpful readers of both sexes will pay attention to.


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


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