Annie’s Mailbox: Help needed to recover from sexual abuse
Dear Annie: I just finished my college degree. Getting the career I’ve always wanted is a hop, skip and jump away. I have amazing friends and a big family. But I feel so lost and alone. I was raped by a family member when I was 5, sexually assaulted as a young girl and raped again when I was 18. I was close to all these men. My father, the only man I ever trusted, died when I was a teenager, and my mother has never been a good role model.
My friends and family are aware of what I’ve been through, though they don’t know the details because I don’t believe they would understand or be sympathetic. I feel like my childhood was stolen from me, and that my sexuality defines who I am. I’ve been in several relationships, all of which turned out badly, and I’ve regretted every single sexual encounter I’ve had.
I know I need help. I want so badly to have a normal relationship, but I feel nobody will accept me. I’m beyond depressed. I was a self-mutilator for years and have thought about suicide, though I doubt I could actually do it. I’ve seen doctors and taken sleep aids and three types of antidepressants. When I was younger, I talked to a psychiatrist, but I wasn’t ready to open up. I don’t have health insurance and have no idea where to get the kind of help I need. Please tell me there’s still hope.
– Finally Ready to Talk
Dear Finally: Of course there is hope, and the fact that you are now willing to reach out means you have great potential to finally live a healthy life. Contact RAINN (rainn.org) at 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) and ask for help. You will find a community of support there, along with any necessary referrals. Please call today.
Dear Annie: I have a disagreement with my girlfriend. She tips everyone. At her salon, she tips the shampoo girl, manicurist, stylist, masseuse, facialist and sometimes the girl who brings her a beverage. I say, since it’s all being done at one place on the same day, she only needs to tip once based on the final bill. She says she should tip individually. And she always tips 20 percent at restaurants, even if it’s only a bite at a diner.
These tips add up. I work as a mechanic. I’d love to see a person tip the person who changed the oil, the one who did an alignment, tune up, etc. Who is correct?
– John in N.Y.
Dear John: This is personal preference. It is permissible to tip once on the entire bill because most salons will divide it up among those who took care of you. However, there is nothing wrong with tipping each person individually. And 20 percent at a diner is perfectly fine if that is her standard. Your girlfriend likes to be generous, and her tipping is not out of line. Unlike car mechanics, there is an assumption that hairstylists and wait staff personnel will be tipped, and their base salaries reflect that. We’d let her win this one.
Dear Annie: I would like to comment on “Annoyed Friend,” who belongs to a coffee club that meets in one another’s homes. I was in a group like that.
I was never a freeloader. I always brought food or a hostess gift. I stopped when the bragging parties started and we suddenly had to plan events to keep up with the Joneses. My work schedule didn’t permit me to compete, so I was ousted. At first, I was very hurt, but you know what? I’m relieved. True friends do not treat one another that way. God has brought along some real friends who understand my circumstances. Now I’m actually glad it happened. I believe when a door is closed a window is opened.
– Moving Onward
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. E-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.
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