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Thursday, November 21, 2013

SL Letter of the Day: Help Me, Google Translate, You're My Only Hope!

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 10:29 AM

Carissimo Dan, ti scrivo come fossi un vecchio amico, e ti scrivo in italiano perché non conosco l'inglese. Leggo la tua rubrica tradotta su Internazionale e mi trovo spesso daccordo con i tuoi consigli. Ecco perché ti scrivo, confidando in una risposta.

Ho 19 anni, e nei scorsi quattro anni ho vissuto con l'ex marito alcolizzato e cocainomane di mia madre. Non sono figlio unico. Sia io che mio fratello abbiamo accusato molto questa situazione; lui è dislessico e ha problemi di concentrazione e gli psicologi hanno detto che è dovuto proprio alle violenze a cui ha assistito; io, essendo più grande ed avendo sempre reagito alle sue manie, ho spesso subito calci in faccia e sullo stomaco, e altri oggetti mi sono stati lanciati sul viso, tanto da non rimetterci per poco un occhio, e fatico ancora a rapportarmi con le persone.

Da un anno e sette mesi sono fidanzato con una ragazza fantastica, che mi ha aiutato infinitamente nel superare molte paure. Lei ha diciasette anni. Abbiamo un rapporto stupendo, parliamo di qualsiasi cosa e il sesso è spettacolare, dato che cerchiamo di assecondare ogni nostra fantasia. Tuttavia, spesso lei non riesce ad aprirsi completamente, se non beve almeno un paio di bicchieri di vodka. La cosa mi turba molto e mi fa rivivere i fantasmi di mio padre. Sono astemio, io, e non sopporto le persone che eccedono nel bere. Le ho parlato di questo, ma lei mi ha risposto: "sono fatta così". Sia chiaro, lei non beve tutti i giorni, a volte nemmeno nei fine settimana, ma quando lo fa eccede sempre. Personalmente non le ho mai impedito di fare nulla, perché non penso che sia giusto, ma questa cosa mi fa proprio stare male. Le ho detto che per me può bere, se le piace, ma vorrei che non si ubriacasse. L'ho messo subito in chiaro quando ci siamo conosciuti, eppure spesso l'ha fatto comunque.

Secondo te, Dan, mi sto comportando nel modo corretto? Cosa dovrei fare per stare meglio? Aiutami, perché questa situazione mi sta logorando!

Bicchiere Mezzo Vuoto

Google translate comes through for me—and I do what I can for BMV—after the jump...

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Help me, Google Translate, you're my only hope!

Dear Dan, I write as if I were an old friend, and I write in Italian because I do not know English. I read your column on International translated and I often agree with your advice. That's why I write to you , trusting in a response.

I'm 19 years old, and in the past four years I lived with the former cocaine addict and alcoholic husband of my mother. I'm not an only child. Both me and my brother have accused this very situation , and he is dyslexic and has trouble concentrating and psychologists have said it is precisely because of the violence he has witnessed , and I, being bigger and having always reacted to his delusions , I have often immediately kicked in the face and stomach, and other items I have been launched on the face , so as not to lose a little eye, and still struggling to rapportarmi with people.

For a year and seven months engaged to a wonderful girl, who helped me in overcoming infinitely many fears. She has seventeen years. We have a wonderful relationship, talk about anything and sex is spectacular, as we try to accommodate our every fantasy. However, she often fails to open completely if she does not drink at least a couple of glasses of vodka. What bothers me a lot and makes me relive the ghosts of my father. I am a teetotaler, I, and I can not stand people who are drinking to excess. I told her about this, but she said: "I'm just like." Let me be clear: she does not drink every day, sometimes even on the weekends, but when it does it always exceeds. Personally I have never prevented her from doing anything, because I do not think it's fair, but this thing really makes me feel bad. I told her that for me can drink, if you like, but I would not like her to get drunk. I made it clear when we met, but often she did it anyway.

According to you, Dan, I'm acting in the right way? What should I do to get better? Help me, because this situation is wearing me!

Glass Half Empty

First, BMV/GHE, I'm so sorry for the abuse that you, your brother, and your mother all suffered at the hands of your father. (Or was he your stepfather?) No child should be abused the way you were abused. No child should be abused, period. I hope that monstrous asshole is out of all your lives now. (It's not clear if your father is out of your life or still lives with you—at least not in the Google Translate version of events—but when you wrote "ghosts of your father," I took that to mean that he's no longer a presence in your lives. Or, better yet, no longer a presence on this earth... unless, of course, he's gotten help, turned his life around, and made amends to your family. Which I'm assuming he hasn't because you certainly would've mentioned all of that if he had.)

As for your girlfriend...

When forming a new relationship the question (or questions) for someone who has been traumatized by booze—by their own drinking or by someone else's drinking—shouldn't be, "Does this person drink?", but, "How often does this person drink, how much does this person drink, and—most importantly—how does this person behave when they've been drinking?" Your girlfriend sounds less inhibited when she drinks, i.e. she finds it easier to open up about her fantasies after she's had an inhibition-inhibiting vodka or three. (That's what "open completely" meant in context, right?) But she doesn't behave like your stepfather. She doesn't become belligerent, irrational, emotionally abusive, or physically violent.

You have a right to ask your girlfriend to take your understandable sensitivities about alcohol into account—to take the trauma you've suffered into account—and she should go way the hell out of her way to be considerate of your feelings. That means dialing it back in your presence and/or reserving "I'm just like" binges for girls' nights out. At the same time, BMV/GHE, you should work on making a distinction between drinking and the abuse you suffered. Your abusive father drank, drink didn't make your father abusive. Three vodkas will not turn your girlfriend into your father.

One caveat: your girlfriend aces just two out of the three the questions. How often does she drink? Rarely. How does she treat you when she drinks? Good! How much does she drink? Only to excess. Hm. Either she's using booze as a means to an end (she after the feeling of being drunk) or she's one of those people who has one drink and then can't stop boozing until she's absolutely plastered. If "I'm just like" nights start coming closer together, well, her drinking will become a problem. I think it'll be a bigger problem for her than it will for you, BMV/GHE, because you can leave her while she's stuck with herself.

Finally, BMV/GHE, you're awfully young to be getting married. Unless you must get married to get away from your father (who is still alive and still living at home), you and your girlfriend should have a nice, long engagement—say, one that lasts ten year.

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