Doctor Love

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 12            March 28, 2002

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Dr. Love is the island's and possibly the world's greatest authority on just about everything. The Doctor answers questions on almost anything except religion and politics. Persons needing additional assistance or counseling should contact the Family Services Division at 02-77451.         

    You may write to the Doctor at P.O. Box 35, San Pedro Town, Belize, fax  026-2905 or e-mail at

Dear Doctor Love,

    I read a letter to the editor a few weeks ago from a visitor complaining about how much the island has changed. It has changed a lot in the last few years but it doesn't seem so bad to me. Am I missing something?

/s/ Canada Girl

Dear Canadian,

   Many San Pedro visitors go back home thinking of it as their special little place. There is nothing wrong with this except that some of them think they discovered Paradise a decade ago and come back thinking it is going to be exactly the way they left it.

    They remember a little fishing village of sand streets, crude little thatch huts, water from cisterns, few telephones and no vehicles. They are appalled to find that we frequently have running water. We have electricity more often than not. We have telephones, albeit the most expensive in this hemisphere. We have vehicles, such as they are. We live here and we need these things.

    The first people to complain are those who would not live for two hours without these conveniences at home yet they are horrified to think that we have them here. If they were in hell and Saint Peter took them to heaven for ten years they would come back and bitch about the changes that took place in hell while they were gone.

Dear Doctor Love,

    Can you tell me a way to get out of a relationship without causing a lot of problems? I have had the same girlfriend for nearly two years without any kind of a break. When I first met her I thought she was the best thing that could ever happen to me. I was very jealous of her. I treated her bad to make sure she stayed with me.

    Now I don't want her. It is not that I want somebody else; it is just that I don't want her. She is fat and she does not take care of herself the way she used to. She used to get dressed up and would be the best looking girl in any room but now she just looks fat. I have tried to talk to her about us seeing other people but she just pretends like she does not even hear me when I say these things. I have tried to talk to her about being fat but she says she is not really fat, she just has a few extra pounds. She is only twenty years old and if she is this fat now she will be even bigger in ten years.

    We are not married and we do not live together but she will not let me be. I have tried not seeing her but she finds me and acts like nothing ever happened. If I am out with my friends she just joins us and sits down because she knows I will not make a big fuss. I am afraid to ask other girls out because I have the feeling she will just join us and act like she belongs there.

    How can I get out of this?

/s/Not Jealous Anymore

Dear Not Jealous,

    Now you know how Doctor Frankenstein felt when he built his monster and it turned on him. When you successfully change people to fit you they do not usually turn out quite the way you expect them to.

    Try explaining to her that you made a mistake. Tell her you are sorry but you cannot see a life for the two of you together. Then find someone else to start dating. Do not take the new girl anywhere the old girlfriend can find you. If you can successfully do this for a couple of months maybe she will get the idea.

Dear Doctor,

    There is a person I know that I have considered to be a friend. I have only known her for about a year and the more I know her the more she scares me. She thinks about the weirdest things you can imagine. She has some of the strangest ideas about sex and marriage that I have ever heard of. She is not religious at all and she claims she is an atheist. She got pregnant and had an abortion and she told me that she does not see anything wrong with it. She says she made a mistake and there is no reason why she should have to pay for that mistake for the rest of her life. I explained to her that abortion is wrong because it is really killing. She has all kinds of reasons why it is not.

    I talked to my husband about this and he says I should quit being friends with her because she is so different from everyone else. He says that people like her are nothing but trouble. I need to decide what to do because I really like this friend. Some of the things she says scares me but a lot of them make sense. What should I do?

/s/ Unsigned

Dear Unsigned,

    Whatever you do, do not listen to your husband about this. This is not your husband's friend. She is your friend.

    Everyone seems normal until you get to know them. What is normal though, varies from person to person and from family to family. The ideas and experiences of the people in our family shape us as we are growing up.

    Keep your friend. You might find that a lot of her ideas make more sense than yours.

Dear Doctor Love,

    I read last week's article in the San Pedro Sun about the free voice mail message service that BTL is giving to their customers. I think it is another way for them to rip off the Belizean consumer.

     If BTL really wanted to give us more "Value of voice" why don't they give us free caller ID instead of voice mail? That way if you call someone and they are not there your number is recorded with the time you called and the person could call you back when they check their box. That way consumers are only charged for completed calls instead of wasting money getting a message service and still not being able to leave a message.

/s/ Confused

Dear Confused,

    You must be new to these parts. The bottom line with this monopoly is squeezing out profits in any way possible. Common "cents" means nothing in their quest for dollars. This is just another way BTL is showing you whose interest they are serving. Also, they have not figured out how to get cellar phone numbers to show up on caller ID.

Dear Doctor Love,       

I'm dating this boy for almost three years. I don't think I love him the way he's suppose to be love. I don't even think I love him. He is more than nice to me, gives me everything and would give up everything for me. Trust me! Experience. 

Furthermore he even said "he'll kill himself if I leave him." I don't believe a word he says. I grow up thinking most men just use you to get what they want. I witness it with friends and family members. This is my first boyfriend and I don't believe in cheating or lying.        

My family and friends love him and his family loves me. If I happen to meet the man of my dreams, I'm afraid he doesn't love me the way this man does. He has all the quality I ever wanted in a man but my love for him is simply not strong enough.   

/s/ Star

Dear Star,

    Just the fact that you think about these kinds of things tells the Doctor that you deserve a better future than you will have with this man.

   He has already proven himself a manipulative liar just by threatening to kill himself if you leave him. You sense this about him because you say you don't believe a word he says. You're right. If you left him he would create great dramatic scenes but he probably would not kill himself.

    When people try to manipulate you they are trying to get something that they want. They do not have the slightest care for what you might want or what you might need. Successful manipulation is control and it takes many forms. Babies learn it at an early age by crying for what they want. If that works, then they learn that screaming and throwing fits can get what crying does not get. At some point they often discover that hitting someone can get what they want. At each step, as the parent gives in, the child's sense of control grows. It should grow. They have proved to themselves that crying, screaming and physical abuse gets what they want in a personal relationship.

    Those who are really good at it discover that withdrawing and acting distant can accomplish the same things. The parent becomes concerned with the withdrawal and gives in. Once again, manipulation wins.

    When manipulators reach pre-adolescence they discover that this kind of behavior does not work with everyone. Their friends and acquaintances laugh at them if they try this kind of thing on the football field or when they are playing together. If they strike someone to get what they want, chances are that a bigger person will make them pay by hitting them back. Yet, it still works at home. From this, the manipulator concludes that manipulation works best in personal relationships, such as boy or girlfriends and family.

    A person who marries a manipulator like this is in for a life of misery.

    When the manipulator has exhausted all of the tools in his manipulation tool chest, like crying, screaming and hitting they often go for the big gun; The Suicide Threat. This is the big manipulation tool. If you do not fall for it, they have proved that you do not really care. Suicide itself its the biggest and final manipulator's tool. After all, what is it but a way of attempting to alter the behavior of others?

    Your boyfriend has already pulled this Suicide Threat tool out for you and showed you that it is in his bag of tricks.

    Get him some help (02-77451) and then get as far away from him as you can.

Dear Doctor Love,

    Yesterday a big yellow cement truck came down the street past the freight office for Tropic Air. It was traveling at a speed that would be dangerous even for a car on this island. Because it was Sunday there were few people on the streets but if it was a weekday, my child, and very possibly yours, would have been traveling Coconut Drive by the grammar school. There is no need for this kind of speed on this island or in any town with small, narrow streets.

    As I walked on towards Barrier Reef Drive I met two policemen and I told them about it. One of them looked at me like I was from another planet and nodded his head while I told him the story. The other one stared out into space. When I finished, they walked away laughing to each other.

    I feel like this is a serious matter that deserves consideration. We are at the height of tourist season and we do not need these big, ugly trucks flying down our streets.

/s/ Truly Concerned

Dear Concerned,

    If you complain long and loud enough to the town council, they can exert pressure on the police to do something. If you just complain to a policeman, you might be talking to a young rookie who has no idea that it is actually his duty to see that these trucks do not violate safety rules. A young policeman who has been on the force for only a few months cannot possible know all there is to know about the law.

    Of course, there is a transportation department and these people are experts on transportation law but they have really important things to do, like make sure all the golf carts are parked on the right side of the street. They also have to be sure that two people at a time are not riding on those dangerous bicycles where someone could get hurt.
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