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Dear Abby: I’m 14 and for as long as I can remember, my family has never really been “together.” We exist with each other physically, but have never connected in a loving way. There seems to be an undercurrent of hostility or resentment in our relationships with each other.

The lack of love in our house is palpable. I wonder sometimes what it’s like to eat dinner together at night, and what it’s like to see parents kiss because they love each other – not a stressed, distant, obligated contact.

I finally asked my mother, “Why don’t you ever hug me?” Her answer was, “Because I can’t remember the last time you tried to hug ME.” Why doesn’t my mother understand that kindness is necessary and should not be conditional?

– Troubled Girl in Florida

Dear Troubled Girl: Your mother may have been raised in a loveless home and not know how to easily demonstrate affection. Or her marriage to your father could be so unhappy that she has shut down.

You are a perceptive girl, and it is understandable that you are “troubled.” But the only person who can answer the question you have asked me is your mother, who appears to need to receive kindness and affection before she will be able to give it. Make an effort to hug her more and the situation may improve. How very sad.

Give performing a try

Dear Abby: I am a 23-year-old gay male who is interested in doing drag. Due to being unable to find work, I am hoping I can turn performing in drag into a source of income.

– Potential Superstar in Philadelphia

Dear Potential Superstar: Audition to see if you have the ability and the looks to succeed. While drag is a narrow niche of show business, some performers have had successful careers in that area, and you might, too. You’ll never know if you don’t give it a try.