Monthly Archives: February 2009

Question: My step dad always shows this “affection” towards me…

Question:
Hello! Listen PN, I understand that you already get tons of fans asking for advice or what have you, but you were the first person I thought of. *breathes in* okay..this is hard but here I go. I’m a junior in high school. I maintain good grades and I am NO trouble maker. I have an AMAZING boyfriend who I swear I think I might marry. My family is great. My mother is everything to me. She has a husband who is well, obviously my STEP-DAD. He is a nice man, a prof. in college and also a high school teacher. He’s nice to me and the rest of our family. He and my older brother had sort of a “falling out” and niether of them speak to eachother. My step dad has 2 daughters and a son from a previous marriage. Anyways, it’s..wierd..because my step dad always shows this “affection” towards me. He doesn’t do this to his other daughters. He tells me because “i can’t think of another way to show you i lo! ve you”. There are times where his hand will “swift” past my breast or where he’ll pinch my butt. A few months ago, he’ll tell me to give him kisses on his lips. I didn’t want to. So he’ll automatically get really sad. He’ll just shut down and not talk to me. My mother tells me he “does a lot for you” and that i shouldn’t be selfish. My mother doesn’t know he’s doing THOSE things. Don’t get me wrong, my step dad is really cool. Recently, I’ve been getting NIGHTMARES about him. He’ll just be touching me in my dreams, and I’ll wake up crying. One time, I was asleep in my boyfriend’s arms and I had yet another nightmare about that. I woke up shaking and my heart beating. My boyfriend asked me what had happened in my nightmare but I just couldn’t tell him what is going on. I broke down in tears when my boyfriend told me “i’m always going to protect you, if you’re in danger, i’ll run to you”. I LOVE my boyfriend so much! . Here is another dillema: my step-dad won’t let me have a boyfriend. At ALL. My mom is completely fine with it. Also, my mother loves my step dad dearly. Another reason why I can’t tell her what’s going on. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to live like this till the end of my senior year. I just can’t wait to get out of here.

PHYLLIS Replied:
This is such a classic case of sexual abuse that it should really be in a text book. I know: he hasn’t raped you or forced his hands in your pants or crept in your room at night. So far. He’s a probably-respected teacher and professor and your mom loves him. But he sure is a sexual manipulator. He’s an adult. You’re a minor child. He knows he would be in big trouble if he did something truly overt sexually, but he gets his jollies by looking you over, pinching your butt, brushing by your breasts, insisting you kiss him on the lips. I’m not too sure what’s going on with your mom that she thinks “you should not be selfish,” but she’s looking at him through rose-colored glasses. Here’s what I suggest: when your mom is not around to hear this, you need to tell him you have something you want to say. You need to say this without smiling, without yelling, without giving in to his sad looks or gentle ! voice. Put this in your own words, but here goes: “I want you to know that I want this sort of thing to stop.” (When he looks surprised and says, what sort of thing? you name them–the butt pinching, the kissing, etc.) He’ll tell you you’re imagining things, that this was your thought, not his, that he had no idea you took them as sexual actions which must say that you are attracted to him, etc. etc. etc. Don’t listen. Tell him that you don’t want him to touch you in this manner, you don’t want to kiss him on the lips, you are not his girlfriend. That if he doesn’t stop it, you will report it, and what’s more, you’ll tell your mom. He will undoubtedly put on a sulking fit, your mom will ask what’s wrong, and you can simply say, “Ask him.” As a senior, you should be allowed to have a boyfriend, and you might tell your stepdad that too. For additional help in dealing with him, try this toll-free number: 1-800-273-399! 1. Here’s one more thing you might try if your conversation with him doesn’t make him stop. The next time he touches you inappropriately, say, loud enough for your mom to hear, “Quit touching me there!” And leave the room. Let your mom ask HIM what that was all about. Maybe she’ll get the picture.

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Question: I’m a senior right now and having a lot of trouble with the idea of leaving…

Question:
I am a huge fan of the Alice books and I’m very excited to see Alice deal with her senior year of high school. I’m a senior right now and having a lot of trouble with the idea of leaving–I was wondering if you could help me.

I’ve lived in the same small town for my entire life, so I’ve never really had to get out there and meet new people before. I have a small yet extremely close group of friends in my high school…we’ve been friends since ninth grade and I’m scared to death I won’t meet people like them next year. Also, my high school is very small–everybody knows everybody and the teachers all know the students outside of school–so I’m worried about dealing with a huge college campus next year.

So much of who I am is defined based on my relationships with these people I’ve known forever, so when I leave and I don’t have these people around me all the time, I’m scared I’ll completely lose myself. At the same time, I know these relationships I’ve cultivated will never be the same. Saying goodbye will be rough but I know I have to move on with my life and this is something everyone has to deal with. I feel like if I screw this up then my entire life will change and I’ll be miserable all four years of college.

All of my friends are so excited to leave our small town, and I seem to be the only one who’s really sentimental and worried about leaving. Do you have any advice for me?

PHYLLIS Replied:
It’s wonderful to have a small group of close friends, and I understand your reluctance and anxiety about leaving them. Here’s something to remember, however: you really have not “known them forever,” (since ninth grade, you said), and you probably made friends with them, just as you will make friends in college, one or two at a time. You do not have to face the whole college campus at once. First a roommate, then a couple of her friends, then someone you meet in class, someone you eat with at the cafeteria, somebody who works in the library, etc. Also, it’s simply not true that if you “screw this up,” your whole life will change. How so? You’ll undoubtedly start out friendly with one or two people whom you will later discover don’t have the same interests or values you do, so? You start seeing less and less of them, or drop them cold turkey. Or you’ll go a whole semester with people you are friendly with, but nobody you fee! l you can really confide in. So? You have email, a cell phone, you can still call your old friends wherever they are and talk. I would be very surprised if at the end of four years of college, you won’t feel you’re leaving some of the best friends you’ve ever had. Be a little optimistic here. The fact that you have close friends now means you are a person others confide in, a person who likes personal contact, which makes it very likely that you’ll meet the same kind of people in college.

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Question: Dear ms. Naylor, i just did something stupid…

Question:
Dear ms. Naylor, i just did something stupid. My friend, lets say his name is ,Wade asked me to the Valentine’s dance at school. And he’s much more popular then me and every girl wants to go out with him. So anyways he asked me to the dance and i was so happy that he did but i wasnt sure what to say so i
yell out not in your life time. At first i was ok with my answer but then later that day i decided i wanted to go with him. But it turned out to be to late he ended up leavin school that day to see a basket ball game then to the dance. And now i want to tell him i will go out with him but i dont know how. Please help
me.

PHYLLIS Replied:
Since this won’t be posted until after Valentine’s Day, I’m afraid I can’t help much, but I sure sympathize. Why we girls say one thing and mean another, I don’t know, but it certainly gets us in trouble. If you had asked a guy to a dance and he called back, “Not in your life time,” I don’t think you would have the nerve to ask him again. I still remember when a guy asked me to a formal dance and I accepted, and made a red satin gown to wear. When he asked the color of my dress, I just assumed that my girlfriends had already told him, so I said jokingly, “purple.” He arrived at our door the evening of the dance, and my Mom said she still remembers the look on my face when I opened the box and found an expensive purple orchid. Naturally I thanked him and pinned it on my dress, but I sure felt like a dork.

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I am the biggest fan of your books!

Question:
Hi, Phyllis, I am the biggest fan of your books! Right now, I am on page 199 of The Keeper. I’ve read alot of the Alice books, too! In fact, I just got done with Achingly Alice. After this book, I will probably go to another Alice book.

PHYLLIS Replied:
I love to hear that you’re enjoying my books. Thanks for writing.

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Your book was honestly like a life saver…

Question:
sure you get TONS of these letters and you have no idea how much I appreciate you taking the time to read mine. “Alice on Her Way” was honestly like an answered prayer to me. I’m thirteen, but have always acted older then my age, dating high school boys, etc. When I picked up this book from my school library I had no idea the effect it would have on me. Lately sex had been on my mind, you know, when to lose my virginity, all the touching and everything, and when i read the book, and you talked about self-values, I finally realized I was in way over my head, considering having sex at such a young age, and I feel stupid now, thinking that I could have lost my virginity to a guy I didn’t really care about. Everything Alice said and thought and felt made sense to me, and I realized I wasn’t alone, I’m not the only one feeling like this, all of the confusion. So I thought I would let you know that your book was honestly like a life saver, or a wake up call, so thank you, you truly are an amazing writer and person,

PHYLLIS Replied:
I’m so glad you found the book helpful. Perhaps “Dangerously Alice” will have meaning for you too. There are a lot of things to think about right now, a lot of decisions to be made. No girl wants to feel unnecessarily prudish, but neither does she want to do something she regrets. Most of us make some mistakes as we go through our teens–lots of little, embarrassing mistakes, sometimes big ones. But it sounds to me as though you have your head on straight. Thanks for writing.

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Thank you so much for everything you’ve done

Question:
Dear Phyllis,
I just wanted to thank you for writing the Alice series. I met Alice when I was in junior high and I’m now nearing my university graduation. I remember all of my tears and laughter from Alice’s first drumming lesson with Patrick, their horrible breakup, the sleepover with Arabian Nights to Alice’s dad finally marrying Sylvia. Though I may go months or even years without reading an Alice book (my library has limited selection), every time I pick one up I feel as if I’m home again. When the series finally reaches its end someday (I wish it wouldn’t), it’ll be like saying goodbye to an old friend.
Thank you so much for everything you’ve done and sharing your Alice universe with us.

PHYLLIS replied:

I don’t know HOW I’m going to feel when the series ends–like my daughter’s left home, I guess–but it’s nice to know you’ll miss her too. I think the very last book in the series will bring things around full circle, however. Right now I’m working on the book due out next year, which I’m going to title ALICE IN CHARGE. You won’t want to miss the Alice book coming this June, with something major happening: INTENSELY ALICE. I imagine that as she gets older, she has more in common with you, and I appreciate so much your taking time from your own busy schedule to write to me.

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Question: I am looking for a way to feel OK about what happened…

Question:
Thank you for your advice.
It’s not that I don’t keep busy, or that I don’t concentrate on school. I like to invest in academics and school activities. The main thing I was struggling with was how to deal with this emotionally. I am not looking for perfection in a boyfriend (at least, I hope not – that phrase I put in the email was not serious – what I should’ve said is, she has a boyfriend who respects her and loves her – that is not perfect, but it’s close to what I am looking for). I am looking for a way to feel OK about what happened, and a way to accept it, and a way to prevent that it will ever happen again. I understand there are people out there who are very practical-minded and can follow their common sense very easily. For me, it’s always been a struggle between instincts, emotions, and reason. And because I have this montage of both good and bad memories, just because I have insight, doesn’t mean I’ll always find it easy to follow them. Just like you said – no human being is p! retty or smart all the time. I don’t think there’s a human being out there who hasn’t done something against what they knew was right or true to their being. I am trying to learn from these mistakes and get better at doing what is right.

Another thing is, verbal abuse doesn’t just end because you decide to join the school play. It runs over and over in your head daily even when you try to stop it. I can distract myself as many ways as I can, but it’s not going to change the fact that someone I considered a best friend abused me, and that I let him. It won’t change that some part of me still cares for this monster because I “thought” I knew him. It won’t change anything. I’ve seen a counselor, talked to friends, gotten advice from my sister…but really what I need to do is find some inner peace by talking to myself.

Thanks for listening.

PHYLLIS Replied:
You’ve got a good head on your shoulders, and I think you’re going to get through this OK. You’re right; even when abuse ends, verbal or otherwise, you wonder how it happened, why it happened, how you let it happen, and how you can keep it from happening again. How you can keep from falling for such a guy. But I think you’re asking yourself the right questions. And one of those questions should be, is this an isolated incident or has this happened before? Do I keep choosing the wrong person? Keep talking to yourself; you’ll get there. As for the guy friend, he has a much longer way to go.

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