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Sign it, seal it, but don't deliver it yet

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Approximately eight months ago I left my abusive husband, and I still need to tell him off. He never hit, but he yelled at me constantly. I was practically kept a prisoner in my own home. I was expected to come straight home from work, make his dinner and look after the three dogs, while he'd go to the gym and out with friends. Also, I suspected he was having an affair. When I called him on it, he blamed my moods on menopause. I felt my husband was a coward and was trying to make my life miserable so I would leave. His plan worked. I'm mad at myself for letting him get away with what he did without telling him what I think! Someone told me to write down what I would like to tell him and then burn the letter, but I don't see what good that would do, as I'd like to say a few things to his face, but he has moved. I wouldn't know where to send the letter. This marriage needs closure so I can move on. Any suggestions? -- Want To Tell Him Off

Dear Want To Tell Him Off: Are you through all the legal wrangling? If not, write the letter and throw it deep in the freezer until things are finished legally. But get it written and finished now -- out of the "whirling in your head" phase. He deserves a final expression of your feelings, at the very least, but you don't need a letter that could be sent to his lawyer as evidence that you are a wingnut. Maybe things will settle so much in your favour, you won't care. But if you still need to say something, see a counsellor to talk about what you should say and in what form. Pull the old letter out of the freezer and re-read it once. Tear it up. You'll want to send a totally new letter -- about the abuse you took from him and never would again -- or nothing at all. Why? The catch with an angry letter is he may show it to people, like your kids, saying, "See how crazy your mother is?" or his new woman, saying, "Look at what a psycho my ex-wife was." Fury always looks worse on paper.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Can you please let the girl worried about her boyfriend's chronic pot use know anyone who is using drugs to cope with day to day life may have an undiagnosed mental illness? Marijuana is a great anti-anxiety drug; he may have issues with anxiety, depression, even undiagnosed ADHD. I have seen many a drug user find out the reason they started using (and were unable to stop) is they were self-medicating undiagnosed mental illnesses, anything from depression to bipolar affective disorder. Although a lot of illegal drugs aren't physically addictive, they provide the user with a way to cope with life. Unless it is replaced by another effective way to deal with the stress and anxiety, they are doomed to failure. -- One Who Knows, Winnipeg

Dear Knows: Thanks for taking the time to write in to add your information to the conversation. Consider it passed on.

Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave. Wpg R2X 3B6 or email lovecoach@hotmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 2, 2011 D4

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