Dear Annie: I recently witnessed my fianc & eacute;, "Bob," physically lash out against his teenage sister for blatantly disrespecting their parents. Although her behavior was completely unacceptable, I was shocked to see Bob turn into a raging bull, forcing her up against the wall, into a headlock and even threatening to hit her with a belt and stab her with a pen.
Bob claims his intention was not to hurt her, but merely to teach her not to mouth off to their parents in his presence. I am concerned about this sudden outburst of anger. Bob has been aggressive with his sister in the past, but never to this extent. We've been together for several years, and he's never directed his anger toward me, but I wonder if these are warning signs of an abuser. Bob has repeatedly told me that he would never treat me like that unless it was "deserved" (i.e., infidelity).
Please shed some light on this for me. Bob's Fianc & eacute;e
Dear Fianc & eacute;e: We hope you have your running shoes on. The fact that Bob thinks there are legitimate reasons for him to hurt and threaten you (or anyone else) means he could indeed become abusive to you. Infidelity may be cause for divorce, but not a beating. Bob sounds immature and out of control. When his sister isn't around, who do you think will be next in the line of fire? We don't know if Bob is capable of understanding his anger and controlling it, but until he can, we don't think he is a good candidate for marriage. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE ( 799-7233) (ndvh.org) and ask for help.
Dear Annie: I have a friend who has a side business I believe is unethical. "Jack" gets those buy-one-get-one-free coupons from newspapers, and he also gets a lot of coupons from friends and off the Internet. He then uses these to buy large quantities of discounted goods at the stores, and then resells them at a flea market.
I believe Jack is taking unfair advantage of manufacturers that offer discounts to attract new customers. They are not trying to provide a wholesale outlet to people who would profit from their largess.
I told my wife that I am uncomfortable giving Jack coupons for something I believe is unethical, if not illegal. My wife says I should mind my own business and if the companies had a problem with this kind of activity, they would do something about it. Do you think I'm being silly? Concerned in LA
Dear LA: Companies prefer that their coupons be used to attract business and move products, and it also may be illegal for some of these items to be resold for profit. If Jack's extracurricular activities bother you, either use the coupons yourself or offer them to a homeless shelter.
Dear Annie: I am a 46-year-old woman. At 22, a freckle on my neck quickly grew to the size of a dime. I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and told I had only nine months to live. The lymph nodes in my neck were removed, and I had a large skin graft. My scar looks as good as it can without additional cosmetic surgery, which my insurance will not cover. I consider it a badge of courage.
Being a cancer survivor has made me strong, but it is impossible to forget my scar thanks to the thoughtless comments and rude stares I must endure every day. Those comments hurt even more when they come from a loved one. An aunt recently said she "thought the doctor did a butcher job" on me. And a friend told me my neck is the first thing everyone notices. What are these people thinking?
Now whenever a stranger asks me, "What happened to your neck?" I reply, "What happened to your manners?" Please ask your readers to stop gawking and pointing and making our existence more painful than it already is. Up to My Neck in Sunny Florida
Dear Up to My Neck: We hope this helps.
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