Annie's Mailbox: Doomed to repeat

Dear Annie: I am at the end of my rope. I have proved that I am a horrible parent and should never have had kids. I have screwed up my daughter so thoroughly that she will need years of therapy.

I hate to argue, but the other day, my 17-year-old daughter and I went back and forth until I exploded at her. A week ago, I did the same with my husband. I went through some abuse as a child and think it has ruined any chance of my having a connection without sabotaging it.

I have tried hard to make things different for my daughter, but I know she will hate me as much as I dislike my own mother. I want to break the cycle and am beginning to think it would be best if I left. I know they would never forgive me, but I am no good for either my child or husband. I will only cause them more pain.

My emotions too often get the best of me these days. I cannot afford counseling, but I know I need help. I love my family and don’t want to make them more miserable.

— Done

Dear Done: The only thing you have done wrong is giving up without seeking help. You have convinced yourself that everything is your fault and can’t be fixed, and you seem terribly depressed. You can afford counseling. Try your local church, hospitals, university psychology departments and graduate school counseling departments; United Way and the YMCA; the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (www.aapc.org) at 9504A Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031-2303; The Samaritan Institute (samaritaninstitute.org) at 2696 S. Colorado Blvd., Suite 380, Denver, CO 80222; and the Abraham Low Self-Help Systems (formerly Recovery, Inc.) at lowselfhelpsystems.org, 1-866-221-0302.

Dear Annie: My elderly mother-in-law has signed a medical DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) form. My sister-in-law says that means if she finds Mom unresponsive at home, she shouldn’t call 911, because Mom doesn’t want to be revived.

I say no. It means once Mom is taken by ambulance to the hospital, the doctors make the determination not to resuscitate her, knowing her wishes by the signed DNR. Wouldn’t not calling 911 be a criminal act?

— Scared Daughter-in-Law

Dear Scared: In some states, your mother-in-law’s DNR order would not apply to the emergency medical team that responds to a 911 call. If so, they would try to revive her before bringing her to the hospital, at which point it may be too late to honor her wishes not to be resuscitated. Every state is different in regard to the need to call 911 under these circumstances, so please talk to Mom’s doctor to be certain about which procedure to follow when the time comes.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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