DEAR ABBY: When I read the column about the warning signs of an abuser in your archives, I was scared to realize that my older brother is one. He has most of the qualities you pointed out except for the sex stuff.
He just turned 14, and he has just started dating. That got me thinking. If one day he moves in with someone or gets married, how am I going to warn the girl to watch out? I'm being hit, and I have things thrown at me all the time, and I don't want anyone else to experience that. My parents have tried to get him professional help, but it hasn't worked. -- BRUISED SISTER IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR SISTER: I'm glad you wrote. You should not have to tolerate being your brother's punching bag, and your parents should not allow you to be abused. Because your parents are unable to control him and get him the help he clearly needs to control his emotions, tell a counselor at school about the violence you are experiencing. Because he has left bruises, have a friend photograph them. The counselor can inform the proper authorities so he gets the help he apparently needs.
DEAR ABBY: There is a woman in our group who complains constantly about her weight and keeps asking for our reassurance that she's not overweight. She's actually an appropriate size for her height and maybe even a little too thin, but she thinks she is fat.
The rest of us are somewhat overweight and struggle trying to lose, so you can imagine how we feel when she goes on about this. She doesn't hang around with women her size, and she's competitive and insecure in many ways. We all care for her a lot because, other than this, she's a caring and supportive friend. She reads your column, so I'm hoping she'll read this and realize how much it bothers us. -- CHUBBY FRIEND IN THE SOUTH
DEAR CHUBBY: Dream on! Very few people see a letter in my column and realize it is aimed at them. Because your friend's constant need for reassurance makes the rest of you uncomfortable, the person closest to her needs to TELL her the subject of weight is now off-limits and why.
The woman may suffer from body dysmorphia, a condition in which the sufferer doesn't perceive her body as it actually is. People with body dysmorphia will see a fat person reflected in the mirror even if they are anorexic. It should also be suggested that the person with whom to discuss her concerns about being too heavy is her doctor.