DEAR ABBY: My best friend of 20 years, "Claire," has suffered bouts of depression ever since I have known her. She recently confided to me that her brother had repeatedly sexually abused her as a child.
When she went to her mother for help, her mother told her she needed to "thank God that it was happening because it would make her a stronger person." Her mother is dead now, but her father is still alive. I am furious at him for allowing the abuse to happen under his roof.
Abby, the family acts like it never happened! Claire invites her dad to events we plan together like birthdays. How do I attend knowing what I know? I don't want to sit across a table from him.
How do we get over the anger? -- Confused in Oklahoma
DEAR CONFUSED: Years ago, someone explained to me that depression is anger turned inward. Your friend is enduring these bouts of depression because she was never allowed to express her anger where it belonged -- at her brother and her mother. Whether the mother ever told her husband what was going on, or whether it was the continuation of a long family tradition of sexual abuse, is something we don't know.
As to you and your husband participating in these family gatherings, my advice is to stop doing it. Celebrate special occasions with your friend right before or after these occasions; many people have pre- or post-birthday get-togethers, and that's what I recommend in a case like this.
DEAR ABBY: I recently became involved with a longtime female friend of mine when she was in town. I have always loved "Miranda" as a friend, but now I also feel attracted to her as a potential perfect match.
The problem is she lives far away. We keep in touch almost daily. I love that, but it makes me miss her, and I end up thinking about her all day, which doesn't help. She says she has feelings for me, too, but "the timing isn't in our favor."
Abby, are long-distance relationships even worth trying? -- Anxious in Colorado
DEAR ANXIOUS: Of course they are. As the saying goes, "nothing ventured, nothing gained."
Consider yourself lucky that you and Miranda can be in touch every day, even though at this point it's frustrating. As to the problem of her dominating your thoughts all day, a way to deal with it is to stay busy.
Dear Abby, written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © 2013 UNIVERSAL UCLICK.