:Dear Abby: I’m stuck in a dead-end job that doesn’t pay much money, so I have to rely on help from my parents. I’d like to return to school for my master’s, but a lack of funds and mild depression keep pulling me back.
I told my mother about how I have been feeling, hoping for reassurance — just a general, “Everything is going to get better.” This is a woman who has longed for me to get married and have children, which I thought was no different than most mothers. I now realize I was wrong. Her motivation speech was: “You have always been beautiful, and I want you to see it. Don’t you know that you’re good enough to become a rich man’s wife?”
Now I realize that being a rich man’s wife is what she always wanted for me. I always thought I could be more than that and support myself without the need of a man. I also believed I could one day be a writer.
Independence has always been important to me, and I would never marry unless I was. Now, however, my self-esteem is shot, and since I can’t afford therapy, I feel my mother’s plan is probably the only thing I can hope for. How can I improve my self-esteem so I can make the right decision?
:Depressed in Lewisville, Texas
:Dear Depressed: A good first step would be to stop listening to your mother. Live your own life, and now that you know what poor judgment she has, make your own decisions about the path you will follow.
A suggestion: Write the story down and be sure to mention how you persisted in spite of your mother’s advice. You may find inspiration in your own words. And if it’s published, so might others.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.