Dear Ann Landers,
This is in response to "Sleepless in Little River, S.C." She said her new husband gets angry over nothing and yells at her for hours on end. She is reluctant to leave this man, because she doesn't want to disrupt the life of her 15-year-old son.
As someone who suffered the constant belittling of my stepfather from the age of 6 until I was 12, I can assure that woman her son's life is already being disrupted by the environment she has chosen to remain in. My stepfather couldn't deal with his own problems, so he found an outlet directing his anger at the people around him. I was his prime target.
My mother left that abusive man after I broke down in tears and begged her to remove me from what I called "a living hell." When she realized that the pain I was experiencing was far worse than her fear of starting over, she finally had the courage to leave him. I am 37 now, and even with years of therapy, I still bristle at the mention of my ex-stepfather's name.
"Sleepless" would be doing her son a big favor if she got out of that hellish situation, and the sooner the better. -- Still Hurting in Massachusetts
You have written a letter that could make a big difference in the lives of many young people who are living in a war zone. Thank you on behalf of all of them. P.S.: To all women who are staying with an abusive man "for the sake of the children," read this a second time.