“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#1 Mar 9, 2014
(The usual sources are wonky. I think this is the Sunday March 9 column)

DEAR AMY: I’m 28 and I’m thinking about contacting my father.

It will be the first time! He has a family that probably doesn’t know I exist. He was never a part of my life. He didn’t even recognize me legally.

He’s old now and I feel like I deserve an explanation for this. I need to hear something from him.

Even though I have nothing to lose (we have no relationship anyway), I still feel a little bit emotional about that.

I cannot find the strength to just call, so I’m thinking about writing. But what can I write?

Is it even safe to give my address for a reply? He is, after all, a stranger.-- Fatherless in Europe

DEAR FATHERLESS: You claim you have nothing to lose by contacting your father, but you are so filled with anxiety about the prospect that you must acknowledge that in reality you have a great deal at stake.

For instance, you say you deserve an explanation (I completely agree that you deserve this). But you have to imagine that the person who has denied your existence for 28 years might continue to deny you or might not have a satisfactory explanation for his actions and motivations.

On the other hand, there is some chance that you would gain a measure of satisfaction — and family relationships — as a result. Contacting your father could produce a myriad of results along a wide spectrum and you should do your best to prepare yourself.

Ideally you would enlist the help of a professional counselor. This is a perfect example of a big and important question to take into therapy. And is your mother aware that you have this desire? If so, she might be able to support you as you go.

It is fairly easy to contact someone from a neutral, unidentifiable address, either through a post office box or a dedicated e-mail account. Once you have some emotional support for this effort, you need only to gather the courage to do it.

DEAR AMY: My beautiful, professional daughter is great in every respect, except she inserts the word “like” about every fifth word.

I thought she would outgrow this habit but she has not. I would like to bring it to her attention, but how? She lives in another state. I will see her in two months. Should I wait until then, or tell her on the phone, e-mail? And what should I say? You always give good advice.-- Mother

DEAR MOTHER: Don’t overthink this, and don’t make this correction by mail. You want to do this when you are conversing with your daughter because you are going to try to encourage her to hear herself as she is speaking to you.

Verbal tics are common and can be quite distracting and annoying. Pointing it out may not compel your daughter to change, but at least she will be aware of what she is doing.

You say to her,“Honey, I need to point out a habit you have that I think you need to be aware of. You insert the word ‘like’ into your sentences frequently and it’s pretty distracting.”

You can assume that she might find this embarrassing, and become defensive. That’s okay. After you mention this once, you don’t need to bring it up again.

DEAR AMY: I am responding to the letter from “Confused,” whose parents were abusive. She must never let her children be alone with her parents.

I also grew up in an abusive household. I don’t know why, but I always assumed my mother would not let my children be treated the same way — stupid, I now know. Fast forward to my son being 6 years old and my mom sticking up for my stepdad when he cursed out my son.

Neither of my children stayed alone with my parents after that day.

A therapist once gave me the best advice:“In this world there are going to be people that it’s better you not be around. Unfortunately for you, they happen to be your family.”-- Learned My Lesson

DEAR LEARNED: This is powerful. Thank you.

Claremont, CA

#2 Mar 9, 2014
LW1 - If you contact your father, you'd be in for so much heartbreak! No, you don't deserve any explanation, and whatever confrontation you've made up in your mind will not go the way you imagine. You need a therapist, not a contact with your father, who, for all intents and purposes, should be dead to you.
LW2 - "Like" has made it into the normal casual speech of even middle-aged people. If it does not interfere with your daughter's life, you should let it go. If it does, you should let her figure it out on her own.
boundary painter

Waco, TX

#3 Mar 9, 2014
LW1 could easily be contacting the wrong man--since there were no
DNA tests in the 1980's or earlier--and if the writer's mother simply
named the guy who had a whole harem of girl friends, the birth certificate registrar could easily have transcribed his name onto the cetificate to fill in the blank that said "father's name"..

LW2 is giving "older hippies" a bad name. This letter was old when
Dobie Gillis was popular.

LW3 is the most constructive letter today.
not a ghost

San Antonio, TX

#4 Mar 10, 2014
LW! needs to leave that man alone. Someone raised LW1--and that is
the parent LW1 should honor and spend time with.

Since: Jun 09

Saint Petersburg, FL

#5 Mar 10, 2014
LW2: That is like, so annoying and, like, so childish. Like, you should like so TOTALLY tell her. It's like just as annoying when people, like, end every sentence as if it's question even when it's not? It's like talking to a 12 year old.

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