1. New Job Triggers Memories of Violent Sexual Assault
Sep 05, 2019 - Letter 1 of 2
DEAR ABBY: A couple of years ago, I was working as a certified nursing assistant in a nursing home. One day, I decided to stay beyond my usual evening shift into the night shift, as I had a few times before. While working the night shift, I was violently sexually assaulted by a fellow CNA. The incident caused me to be so traumatized that I quit that job within the next few days.
Although I reported the co-worker to my boss, they did next to nothing about it. I also reported him to the police, but as far as I know, nothing has been done. I moved on to doing in-home care and then to an assisted living facility.
I have recently taken a higher-paying CNA position in another nursing home. This nursing home has so many similarities to the former one that I find myself having anxiety attacks, flashbacks and the feeling of constantly having to watch my back. I'm extremely uncomfortable here and constantly feel afraid to go to work. My husband has a hard time understanding the effects of such a traumatizing event, so I have a difficult time getting sympathy from him.
I really want to quit this job. I'm under so much mental and emotional stress that I feel like it's ruining me. At the same time, we need the money, and I wonder if I should just push through and stick with it. If I quit, I'm afraid my husband won't fully understand why I couldn't just stay at the job, and it may cause conflict as well as financial stress. Should I quit and find a place that's less of a trigger or stick it out? -- WORN DOWN IN WASHINGTON
DEAR WORN DOWN: You should have received counseling after your assault to help you get past these triggers, which even if you quit this job may continue to occur in other environments. Before making this decision, please consult a licensed therapist who specializes in treating patients who suffer from PTSD.
Although my impulse is to advise you to quit "stat," because of your husband's inability to understand what you have gone through, a mental health professional may be able to help him understand why you may need to work in in-home care or an assisted living facility rather than for this employer.
2. Sister Is Left Out of the Loop When Family Visits Her Town
Sep 24, 2019 - Letter 1 of 3
DEAR ABBY: I live in Atlanta, and my family lives four hours south. My brother travels here often to visit his girlfriend and their son. I never know he's in town unless another family member mentions it or he posts a photo of himself at a local landmark.
My parents and brother came here to attend my nephew's school band concert. No one mentioned that they were coming or contacted me during their visit. I learned about it after speaking with my grandmother the following day. Since then, I have spoken to my parents once briefly, and they still haven't mentioned it. Apparently, judging from the group text I just received, my brother is back in town again today for another event.
I don't want to make this about me, but I feel left out. Do I have the right to have hurt feelings? -- FORGOTTEN SISTER IN GEORGIA
DEAR SISTER: You have the right to feel however you feel. But I have to wonder how close you and your brother really are, and whether you get along with the girlfriend. I suspect this may be why you are not included during these visits. Your parents may not have told you they were in town because they were asked not to or didn't want to hurt your feelings. I think it's time for a family discussion, don't you?
3. Surprise Proposal Fails to Spark Excitement
Sep 24, 2019 - Letter 2 of 3
DEAR ABBY: I've always been very independent and haven't had many serious relationships in my 34 years of life. For the last two years, I have been in a healthy relationship with a man who is kind, smart and makes me feel like I can be myself.
On our first anniversary, although we had never talked about marriage, he surprised me with a proposal. I didn't feel the excitement and joy that I had always pictured myself feeling when this moment finally happened to me. We haven't set a wedding date, nor am I thrilled about getting married.
I love this person and appreciate him, but I feel like I should be over-the-moon about spending forever with him. Do these blase feelings mean this isn't the right person for me, or that I'm simply not ready for the next step? -- BEWILDERED MOUNTAIN GIRL
DEAR GIRL: Real life isn't like it is portrayed in the movies and on television. There is no cookie-cutter reaction to receiving a proposal. Many women would be thrilled to receive a proposal of marriage from a man who is kind, smart and with whom they can be themselves. (I am not implying that this should be you.)
My recommendation is that you two have a long engagement as well as premarital counseling, so you can both determine what's important to you and if you are on the same page. Frankly, these discussions should have started well before a proposal.
4. Transgender Woman Strives to Preserve Marriage to Wife
Sep 25, 2019 - Letter 1 of 3
DEAR ABBY: I am a transgender female who is working on my marriage to my wife of 41 years. I started my transition in 2011.
We have had our ups and downs during the course of our marriage. We have two sons and eight beautiful grandchildren. All of them know about my transition to womanhood, and my family also knows. What I need now is some advice to help our marriage. We are strongly committed to working on it. -- REAL ME IN OHIO
DEAR REAL YOU: Many couples choose to stay together and keep their marriage intact when one partner transitions. You and your wife can find help -- and support -- at the nearest LGBT center that offers couples counseling. If there isn't one in your community, check the nearest large city to where you live.
You and your wife should also reach out to the Straight Spouse Network, which has been mentioned in my column before. This group was started in 1986 by Amity Pierce Buxton, Ph.D., and its mission is to build bridges of understanding for couples of mixed sexual orientation or gender variance. The contact information is straightspouse.org.