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Upset about abuse

Posted: October 11, 2013 5:00 p.m.
Updated: October 14, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Dear Annie: My cousin is a police officer in a neighboring city, and we only see him when the whole family is together. Recently, he was caught on camera beating up a woman he’d pulled over for something. From his statement and the camera footage, it seems the woman got mouthy and he responded physically. It was graphic.

We’re all keeping silent on this matter, and fortunately, it hasn’t spread all over the universe on YouTube or anything. But I’m really angry about it. We would never tolerate seeing a man attack a woman on the street.

We would not tolerate my cousin hitting his wife. Why do we tolerate him doing this just because he’s a cop?

I’ll hold my tongue for another six months, but that's it. I really want to suggest to my parents that we stop inviting him to family events, because I don’t want to seem as if I am condoning his behavior. If I were caught beating up a woman on the street, I promise you my relatives would not want me anywhere near their kids. What should I do? -- Angry Cousin

Dear Angry: We assume your cousin’s superiors are aware of the incident and have reprimanded or disciplined him accordingly. Does he have a history of such behavior? If this is the sole instance and he has shown genuine regret, please try to forgive him. This is what family does. If you need to discuss it with him, do so. But it isn’t your place to ban him from family gatherings if the rest of the relatives want him there. Your choice is only to attend or not.

Dear Annie: I am a 24-year-old college student who still lives with my parents. I love them and my two siblings very much, and I know that they love me. However, they are neither understanding nor supportive when anyone makes a mistake. As a result, there is not much I feel I can tell them.

Usually, I can handle my problems by myself, but some things are difficult to handle alone. A few months ago, I suffered a miscarriage. My father once told us that if we ever got pregnant before marriage, we would be disowned. I realize parents often say things to scare some sense into their children, but I know my parents, and they would do it.

I have not told them about the miscarriage, nor do I plan to. I am going through some emotional upheaval: sadness, anger, guilt for not taking enough precautions to prevent the pregnancy and a lot of confusion.

My boyfriend is wonderful, loving and supportive. But I wish more than anything that I could rely on my parents and siblings for support.

Here’s a message to all parents, siblings and family members: Please let us know we can come to you for support and caring. Though you might be angry, try not to overreact. When you fail to do this, it can have larger consequences than you realize. -- Grieving

Dear Grieving: Our condolences on your loss. We think most parents would regret knowing their child felt too uncomfortable or fearful to come to them for support, and you might let them know this is the impression they give. There are many support groups specifically for women who miscarry. We recommend SHARE at nationalshare.org.

Dear Annie: I work for an institution of higher learning. Since getting hired five years ago, I have taken advantage of my surroundings to earn a degree that is directly related to my job.

After three years, my boss told me my degree is pretty much useless. And I didn’t get the promotion I had worked really hard for. It went instead to a guy with no degree who has been here less than a year. This incident, along with several others targeted at me, makes me feel like a victim of workplace bullying.

The sad part is that no one sees my boss as the problem. My co-workers alienate me, as well, fearing they will be targeted next. I was once an energetic and cheerful person with hopes and dreams. But I have changed because I have been too "job-scared" to reach out beyond human resources for help. I’m not sure whether I can get fired for doing so. --

Sick and Tired

Dear Sick: Complaining to human resources is not going to get you fired, but we can’t guarantee that your boss won’t find other, less-obvious reasons to get rid of you. If you can document instances of bullying or make a case for your boss singling you out, human resources should help you. Unfortunately, unless your boss is removed from his position as your supervisor, or you are transferred to another department, your situation may not improve. You now have a degree in your field. This may be a good time to look for another job where you can apply what you have learned.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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