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Dear Abby: My daughter’s fiance badmouths her behind her back

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DEAR ABBY: My lovely and successful 30-year-old daughter has recently become engaged to a 31-year-old man I’ll call “Jonas.” They have been dating for several years. He comes from a good family and is successful in his career. She adores him and is extremely happy. 

The problem is, Jonas has a habit of making off-the-cuff comments about her to my husband and me behind her back, suggesting, for example, that he felt a bit pressured about the timetable for proposing. 

More recently, I thanked him for offering my daughter and me the use of his beloved vehicle to go wedding dress shopping. Instead of saying, “You’re welcome,” he muttered, “She’s going to wreck the car one day. The sooner she does it, the sooner I get a new one.” (Abby, my daughter has an excellent driving record, so this was just weird.) He says it like it’s a dry joke which he likely sees this way, but I find his comments hurtful. 

I haven’t said anything to my daughter about this, and don’t want to “run him down” to family or friends by asking for suggestions in handling this. Should I let it go, or should I tell Jonas privately how his comments hurt us? I don’t want to make more of this than it is, but it makes my heart ache a bit. — CONCERNED MAMA IN ILLINOIS

DEAR MAMA: Jonas’ “joke” that he felt pressured to become engaged to your daughter wasn’t funny, and I can understand why you might be concerned. While I don’t think you should solicit advice about this from friends and family, I do think you should discuss this with your daughter because it could be a red flag. Ditto with any other possibly pejorative comments he makes to you about her. There is often a grain of truth within comments that are made in jest. They could be a tipoff about what her fiance is really feeling.

DEAR ABBY: I’m 40 years old. I have had issues with my deadbeat father my entire life. After Mom passed away, I tried to create a relationship with him because he was the only parent I had left. He then informed me that he stayed when my sister was born but left when I was, because I was never wanted. 

I have suffered from depression for a long time and had been doing well for three years up to that point. Now, my hatred for him has consumed me so much, I find it hard to love myself. I look so much like him that when I look in the mirror, I can’t stand the reflection looking back at me. 

How can I love myself again or feel like I’m worthy enough to be loved? How do I look at myself and not see the monster that’s my bio dad? Please help. — FILLED WITH HATE IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR FILLED WITH HATE: You have suffered enough. You will regain your self-acceptance, sense of self-worth and rid yourself of your father’s baggage with help from a licensed psychotherapist. If your finances are stretched, contact your county’s department of mental health for low-cost or no-cost help. Universities and colleges that have a department of psychology can also provide counseling on a sliding scale. It’s the surest way to repair the damage your father has inflicted. Please don’t wait to reach out.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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