"He Says I'm a Hypochondriac"

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His Turn

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"Gwen is probably right," says Alan, 35, a tall, lanky man who spoke slowly and chose his words carefully. "I haven't been very supportive of her. After two years of listening to one complaint after another, even a saint would lose patience. She's a hypochondriac, and I can't deal with it anymore.

"Gwen calls the doctor for any ailment--just in case. I think that's ridiculous. Minor ailments are things you put up with. She must have twenty-five prescription bottles in her side of the medicine cabinet.

"I suppose it all has to do with the way I was brought up. I come from a large family -- six kids, including two sets of twins. My father was the town doctor, but neither he nor my mom was very caring. If you were sick, you were considered weak. If I fell off my bike, I would never mention it to my parents. We learned to tough it out. Dad's standard response to any injury was, "Well, if that's the worst that ever happens to you, consider yourself lucky."

"On the other hand, as the oldest boy I was his favorite, and I knew it. I adored him, too, even though, like Gwen's father, he was an alcoholic. Of course, we never said that in so many words, but we all knew. Dad was never physically abusive, but he was verbally abusive to Mother. We could hear them yelling at each other long after we'd gone to bed.

Continued on page 4:  His Turn, continued


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