Dear Feelings Doctor: I was at the grocery store yesterday and a mother was being abusive to her young child to such an extreme it made me very upset! I didn’t know what to do in this situation. When I got home I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Give me some advice on this, please.

— Cece, Marina Del Rey

Dear Cece: It is a tricky situation to know when to step in and when to call 9-1-1.

If the parent is at their wits’ end, offer to take the child for a stroll around a few aisles while they finish their grocery list; that would be great. Add, “It looks like you’re having a rough day.” If on the other hand the parent is physically hurting the child, you have the right to take action and call 9-1-1. Your positive attention to the child will perhaps plant a seed of patience for the next time. Well done.

Dear Feelings Doctor: My husband and I have been going through a really rough time lately, and he promised he would never threaten to leave. We have a young daughter and lately he has been saying we should just end it right now. What do I do, and how do I go on with my day?

— Carla, Los Angeles

Dear Carla: Relationships are complicated to begin with, and adding uncertainty on a daily basis increases the insecurity you may be feeling, in addition to the energy in the home your daughter can sense from her parents.

Find a time when the two of you are not arguing to bring up the things that you are feeling about the situation, how it disturbs your day when the two of you aren’t getting along. Perhaps your husband was brought up in a family where arguing was not allowed. You need to ask, are the two of you in this relationship with both feet or not? If so, seek out help and guidance.

Threatening to leave needs to be a forbidden place to go. Discussing feelings around the issues that show up for the two of you is the best thing to do. Good luck to you both.

Dear Feelings Doctor: I have a great life with lots of things and people around me. I am extremely lonely and feel like I have no right to complain. What is going on, and how do I get past this? Thank you for helping me. I have read your column, and I really appreciate the care you take with your answers.

— Sandi, Minneapolis

Dear Sandi: You have mentioned the material things that you have around you. Please share with me the possessions in your spirit that shine for you, the moments in your day that make your heart dance! Things and “stuff” are really nice to have and fun to share, but they cannot take the place of your mission here — they only add to it.

What is that secret something that you have been longing to do? The time is now, Sandi. Go do it! Bliss and blessings …

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— Psychotherapist Randi Rabin, M.A., MFTI, answers reader questions in her weekly Noozhawk column, The Feelings Doctor, and can be contacted at She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara and completed her master’s degree in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute under the guidance of renowned psychologist Stephen Aizenstat, Pacifica’s chancellor and founding president. She has worked as a counselor with a number of local nonprofit organizations and schools. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.