"I Wonder If He Cares at All"
"I am so lonely," sighed Gwen, 41, an attractive woman in jeans and a sweater. "I've been depressed for months, and whenever I try to talk to Alan, he zones out.
"Lately, I get the feeling he's avoiding me entirely, telling me he has work to do or pretending he's so exhausted when he gets home that all he can do is eat before flopping into bed. As soon as I open my mouth to say anything, Alan rolls his eyes. I can't even talk to him about something practical, like the fact that the roof is leaking. I just get that here-we-go-again look.
"His attitude infuriates me, and before I know it, I'm yelling and screaming. I happen to have some very real medical problems, and I don't appreciate the fact that he takes it all so lightly. We've been married for ten years, but I've started to wonder if he cares at all anymore.
"You know what really scares me? I'm afraid I'm becoming more and more like my own mother. She hardly ever talked except to criticize, to complain about her arthritis or relate some woe-is-me tale.
"I Still Feel Guilty"
"Our family looked good from the outside—prosperous husband, good-looking kids, the whole white-picket-fence lifestyle. But inside the house was a different story. My father was a university professor in Indiana, where I grew up; he was also an alcoholic, and he died from the disease about 15 years ago. I never knew from one day to the next whether I would come home to the funny, open, encouraging father I loved, or the horrible, verbally abusive man I feared.
"My mother, a housewife, never paid a whole lot of attention to me. I always felt I was somehow the reason for her unhappiness, and I still feel guilty. My two siblings were much older, so I felt like an only child.
"I was a real extrovert, though still a good student. I got a master's in social policy and management, and moved to Washington, D.C., where I found a job in a government agency. After about five years I met Alan when we were assigned to work on a project for a Congressional committee.