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Bride Might Take a Cue from Her Brother and Boycott the Wedding

Comment

Dear Annie: I am getting married in May. My fiance, "Stan," didn't like his last job, so my brother hired him. Stan has been working there for a year.

I recently found out that Stan has been pulling nasty pranks on my brother. He never mentioned it to me. My brother works alone during the busiest part of the day, with the pressures from sales people, supervisors, repair people, etc. Stan works the evening shift and has a helper, but they are the only two in the building. Still, Stan is apparently upset by things my brother doesn't get to during the day.

I have seen the pictures of the pranks: cutting the fingertips off the gloves my brother uses for his work; putting spray powder and piles of wood on the chair my brother sits in. He hides tools and rags. The list is endless.

I think Stan is being disrespectful and childish. I have never treated his family members with such disrespect. I am upset and disappointed. These pranks are ridiculous and uncalled for, and I am stuck in the middle. My brother is under enough stress. He hasn't said anything to Stan, but his wife told me it takes him an additional 40 minutes every morning to find the tools that are missing and get things ready for his day.

Stan is a 39-year-old man. Should I intervene or let them work this out on their own? My brother has said he doesn't want to come to our wedding. I know he wouldn't miss it, but I'm sad he feels this way. — Disappointed in Pittsburgh

Dear Pittsburgh: If it were up to us, there would be no wedding for your brother to miss. Stan is an immature idiot. He may think these pranks are funny, but we suspect the only reason your brother hasn't fired him is because he is engaged to you. Tell Stan to knock it off immediately and grow up. If he has a problem with management, he should discuss it like an adult.

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 20 years.

He is in the military reserves and could be called up for active duty at any time.

Six months ago, he did a 180-degree turn. Now I feel like I am living with an alien in my home. He has totally detached himself from me. He is an excellent father to the children, but won't speak to me. He says if I ask him how his workday was, he will lie. His reasoning is that he does not want to put more stress on me, because I suffer from anxiety. He sees the anxiety as a weakness. He will not hug or kiss me, and intimacy is out of the question. He says he is happy "coexisting."

He refuses counseling and won't discuss it with his family. He will not go to the doctor for a physical. I finally broke down and gave him 30 days to change. He said he wants six months. My question is: How much can a person take? We are both in our 40s. I would love to know whether other military spouses understand this. — Lost in the USA

Dear Lost: We have no idea what's going on with your husband. Is he stressed from the possibility of being deployed? Is he seeing someone else? Is he punishing you for some reason? If he won't address it and you are miserable, get counseling without him, and chart the best path for yourself and your children.

Dear Annie: I am sorry that "Amazed in Honolulu" receives unwanted advances and inappropriate comments from male business associates. However, my gripe is about when she says the advances invariably come from "a short, older, heavyset, balding guy." How rude to slam individuals based on physical characteristics. Shame on her.

When we are born, we aren't given the option of being short or tall, getting bald or having thick hair, etc. She's missing out on a lot by having such a judgmental and shallow attitude. — D.S.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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Comments

61 Comments | Post Comment
LW1 - I'm with the Annie's. At a minimum, call off the wedding until you figure this out. Stan might think he's funny - which he's not - or this might be the way he works out his frustrations when he's not happy. Either way, be prepared for his passive aggressive 'pranks' to be turned against you after you're married. I can't tell how the LW discovered the situation or if she's talked to Stan about it. She should talk to Stan but be prepared for him to deny it or downplay the seriousness or act like it's her brother's fault for not being able to take a joke. I recommend dumping this guy.
Comment: #1
Posted by: kai archie
Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:28 PM
LW1: Your brother did this idiot a solid and he thanks him by bullying him at work and you're going to marry this idiot? Wow, I hope you two don't breed.

LW2: Maybe the pressure of having to constantly worry about you has changed his view of you. If I were married to someone I had to mother I wouldn't have sex with them either - that's gross. If you don't act like a woman you can't expect him to find you desirable.

LW3: There is nothing more gross than being sexually harrassed by ugly people who should know better.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Diana
Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:31 PM
LW1-
Stan is not being disrespectful and childish. He is being hateful and vicious.

I have seen people like him. The more you do for them, the more they hate your guts. There is something evil in their rotten little hearts.

Honey, I have bad news for you: it's not his last job that Stan hated, it's the whole world and everybody in it. That includes you. ESPECIALLY you - I HAVE seen men like him: men who hate the whole world hate everybody SECOND, women FIRST. Who do you think he'll start pulling "pranks" on the minute the two of you are under the same roof? And trust me, the ones on you will be worse, and will keep getting badder. Marry this man at your own risk.

Your brother should fire Stan and YOU, you should cancel the wedding and run as far away as possible from Stan. He's pure poison.

P.S.: If your brother has such certainly that the pranks come from Stan, it is obvious that Stan doesn't even bother to cover his tracks. Such vindictive rage and all-out, open war goes way beyond being an immature idiot. Do NOT marry this man. You'll live to regret it if you do - if you live.

LW2-
Pretty much what the Annies said. That's about the options she has.

Comment: #3
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:39 PM
LW1, Stan is a HUGE loser. He didn't like his last job, so he's determined to make your brother's life hell? Stan will never like his jobs, sweetie, and he will always be a 13 year old boy. I would runrunRUN away from this guy, let your brother fire him (send him the photos of the pranks so he can have a good reason to fire the little weasel). Stan has huge emotional problems that marriage--and you--cannot fix. I cannot imagine what you saw in this jerk, unless you are just the biggest rescuer ever.

LW2, you can stick a fork in your marriage, 'cause it's done. If he won't go to counseling but he thinks he's entitled to six months in which to change, he really IS out of his mind. If he were working his arse off in therapy and wanted six months to improve, that would make sense. He does not sound too well wrapped, and without counseling, nothing is going to improve. He won't speak to you and you're not thinking about dumping him tomorrow? Either he's having an affair and cannot bring himself to be a spouse to you any longer (a lot of cheating mates will stop sleeping with their spouses during their affairs), or he is so mentally ill that time alone can't fix this problem. Nothing is going to improve for you at all, but I actually wonder about your safety, given how strange he sounds. See a lawyer, and maybe an investigator, if only to learn some things that would put this all in perspective.
Comment: #4
Posted by: angoradeb
Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:41 PM
LW1, Stan is a HUGE loser. He didn't like his last job, so he's determined to make your brother's life hell? Stan will never like his jobs, sweetie, and he will always be a 13 year old boy. I would runrunRUN away from this guy, let your brother fire him (send him the photos of the pranks so he can have a good reason to fire the little weasel). Stan has huge emotional problems that marriage--and you--cannot fix. I cannot imagine what you saw in this jerk, unless you are just the biggest rescuer ever.

LW2, you can stick a fork in your marriage, 'cause it's done. If he won't go to counseling but he thinks he's entitled to six months in which to change, he really IS out of his mind. If he were working his arse off in therapy and wanted six months to improve, that would make sense. He does not sound too well wrapped, and without counseling, nothing is going to improve. He won't speak to you and you're not thinking about dumping him tomorrow? Either he's having an affair and cannot bring himself to be a spouse to you any longer (a lot of cheating mates will stop sleeping with their spouses during their affairs), or he is so mentally ill that time alone can't fix this problem. Nothing is going to improve for you at all, but I actually wonder about your safety, given how strange he sounds. See a lawyer, and maybe an investigator, if only to learn some things that would put this all in perspective.
Comment: #5
Posted by: angoradeb
Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:41 PM
I'm really sorry about the double post. Grrr.
Comment: #6
Posted by: angoradeb
Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:43 PM
LW1: I'm with all the others -- Stan is trouble and will make your life miserable. You know he's nasty, but you minimize his aggression as "pranks" -- they are not. Maybe if done once, in a truly cheerful and positive spirit, with a desire to provoke laughter and camaraderie, we can call it a prank. But routinely sabotaging your brother's business is cruel and mean and sounds like a form of bullying. I don't know how your brother puts up with it. You are in for a degrading and unhappy marriage. Wake up and jettison Stan. He's no "man."
Comment: #7
Posted by: Claude
Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:40 PM
LW1: This is beyond "disrespectful and childish." Stan is a flaming narcissist. He thinks he's too good for _any_ job, and he's taking his hostility out on your brother because he doesn't dare take it out on you until you're married. Lise is right: The more you do for this loser, the more he will resent you. You will end up supporting his lazy ass, guaranteed, and yet he will still think he's too good for you.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Baldrz
Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:42 PM
LW1 - I agree with everyone's opinions regarding Stan, he is BAD NEWS. Please, please, please be careful! You and your brother need to make a plan together about his firing and dumping because Stan sounds like the type of guy who would kill you then go kill your brother and anyone else who gets in his way. Then he would burn down your brothers business. It seems like this sort of crazy is becoming more and more prevalent in the news lately. Protect yourself and your brother, really.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Claudia
Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:34 PM
* * * * PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT * * * *

LW3 refers to the second letter on 1 February 2012, and was also discussed on 5 March 2012.

Comment: #10
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:35 PM
LW1: Don't walk ... RUN as fast as you can from Stan. This is not childishness your seeing -- it is barely-veiled, passive-aggressive resentment. I've seen this before, in my own family. Have you ever loaned someone money, and then THEY start avoiding YOU? Like YOU did something wrong? You helped them out, but they're embarrassed and resentful that they needed to be helped in the first place. They feel indebted to you, but in a bad way -- as if you have the upper hand. This is EXACTLY what's going on here, and there is no "talking therapy" fix for it. Your brother is a daily living, breathing reminder to Stan of his inadequacies. So, Stan evens the field by sabotaging your brother. Don't kid yourself, that's what he's doing -- these aren't "pranks", they are sabotage. Get rid of him, NOW, and DO NOT feel as if you owe him any explanation beyond "This doesn't work for me anymore, and we don't have a future together."
Comment: #11
Posted by: Nancy
Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:15 AM
LW1 - I can only reiterate what the other posters have said. Do NOT marry Stan. What he is doing to your brother are NOT "pranks", but aggressive behavior which will be turned on you once you're married. He's a loser and possibly an abuser. Run, don't walk, away from this guy. You do not owe him an explanation. He wouldn't comprehend it anyway. Once your ties to Stan are severed, hopefully your brother will fire him.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Kitty
Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:02 AM
LW1 - Please listen to everyone here. They are right...Stan is no good and you should not marry him. You'll be his next target soon after. He is not pulling pranks on your brother. He is trying to sabotage him. And you will be next.

I have mentioned him before, but I worked with a "Stan." He was pushing 40 but was 12 years old emotionally. He was angry at the world because he had a bad childhood. He hated women because he hated his mother for the way she "raised" him. Although on the surface, he pretended to love her to pieces. To him, you were only a "good woman" if you were subservient to men and a tramp. He also hated authority figures and had no problem admitting it. He constantly gave our boss a problem and aruged with him all the time, which ultimately got him fired. He also pulled "pranks" on co-workers, including me. I found out he was taking work out of my "In" bin and tossing it so I would get in trouble. I could go on for days about that idiot.

Do yourself a favor and get rid of Stan. If you marry him, you will be his next target and probably a victim a abuse.

LW2 - I don't know if he's really hiding things from you because of your anxiety or if he's using that as a excuse. Either way, get counseling for yourself. Good luck.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Michelle
Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:31 AM
LW1--This is an instance where I agree with the Annies assessment wholeheartedly. 'Stan' is an immature idiot! At 39 years old, Stan has, in on fell swoop, demonstrated that he's irresponsible, unsophisticated, inconsiderate, and downright mean. He's willing to gamble with your brother's reputation and safety at work...for his entertainment? This isn't husband or father material. Not only would I dump this loser yesterday (honey, nobody is that good in bed) but I would gather the photographic evidence you have with regards to the the little "pranks" Stan has been subjecting your brother to and submit them anonymously to your brother's employer. Then go find yourself a real man.

LW2--It seems like your husband is a few licks away from reaching the center of his tootsie pop! Whether it's PTSD or the constant pressure of waiting for the guillotine to fall, your husband simply isn't right anymore and he's checked himself out of your marriage. While it's possible he's seeing someone else, my guess is that the military has managed to transform your husband from a warm loving man with feelings into an indifferent cyborg. Stick to your guns. Inform your husband that he's got 30 days to see a professional and make some changes or you and the children are going AWOL.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Chris
Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:48 AM
LW2: It sounds very much like PTSD. Try the VA for help.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Anne Warren
Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:28 AM
LW1: Do not even think about going through with the wedding. This behavior is completely unacceptable and inappropriate and it says a LOT about your intended -- and none of it good.

LW2: Our military men and women are under a lot of stress, and unfortunately don't always get the support or therapy they need. Six months is too long, and you should insist he gets help immediately. There are resources available to him and to you as a military spouse -- use them, right away.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:37 AM
LW1: Do your future self a HUGE favor and dump this guy now, before you're legally shackled to someone who repays kindness with meanness, who will never be able to hold a job and who turns your family against him -- and you.

LW2: What was happening in your life 6 months ago? Did a parent or other beloved relative die, or get diagnosed with terminal illness? Was there a job change for either of you? Were you diagnosed with anxiety? Did you move? Did you get new neighbors? A kid start having trouble in school?

There may be nothing you can see. And if he doesn't know why he's doing this (entirely possible if he's not an analytical sort), then 30 days is not going to be enough for him to change the way you need him to, especially if he's doing this without help of a therapist. But the 6 months sounds like a time distant enough in the future that he can tell himself he'll change "tomorrow".

Get counseling yourself, as the Annies advised. You'll get the help you need to sort out your various options, including the possible fallout from each, to make your best decision possible.
Comment: #17
Posted by: hedgehog
Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:38 AM
My first husband thought it was funny to pick up the phone at my mom's house and call 911, then hang up. They called back, of course, and my mom told them a "kid" was playing with the phone. After my brother told him firmly not to do it again, guess what happened?

I'm happy to say my second husband has a better grip on maturity.

I agree with the Annies and the comments regarding LW#1. And if Stan complains again about her brother not getting things done during the day, she might comment, "Maybe he would get more done if he didn't have to search for his tools every morning."
Comment: #18
Posted by: Wordsworth
Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:03 AM
Tell us, exactly, what qualifies Stan as a life partner? Your brother generously gives him a job and he pisses on it?! What kind of man is this? Time to flush this guy, and give your brother the freedom to give him a pink slip.
Comment: #19
Posted by: happymom
Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:45 AM
I don't see what being a military spouse has to do with LW2. She mentions the change was six months ago and that he has the possibility of being called to AD at any time, but she doesn't mention a recent deployment - or any deployment for that matter. The change doesn't seem to be obviously related to any type of military event, so what caused it? Or is she just assuming that because he's in the military, this personality change must be related? Seems like she left out some important information... so no, this fellow military spouse does not understand it.
Comment: #20
Posted by: Agnes
Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:17 AM
LW1 - So. Stan has a problem with things that aren't being done durring the day. Instead of addressing it like an adult with your brother (seeing what he can do to help, finding out why things aren't getting done or working with your brother towards some sort of resolution), he passive aggressively plays tricks on your brother.... that further detract from your brother's work time.

First, he can't behave like an adult and effectively communicate. He is not willing to work towards an adult resolution.

Second, he's pissing in the cheerios of a guy who did him AND YOU a favor. Your brother went out on a limb to basically help YOU by helping your boyfriend. Your brother won't be much inclined to help either of you in the future if this behavior continues. What if one of your friends does Stan a favor? You're not going to have friends long.

Third, is this what you want to live with? Do you think his communication skills are going to get better if you have children? Do you want potential children to learn this behavior?

Is this how Stan is going to communicate his displeasure with you?

Send Stan hiking and don't look back. Stan's character flaws are too big for you to fix.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Shannon
Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:26 AM
@Chris, 14:

No, the military did not transform her husband "from a warm loving man with feelings into an indifferent cyborg." Her husband is an adult man who is willfully allowing the state of their marriage to decline by refusing treatment. He is personally responsible for his own behavior.
Comment: #22
Posted by: Shannon
Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:32 AM
Re: Shannon #22

Right on!

LW1 - At 39, this is as mature as he's going to get. Do you want to live with someone like this in 10, 20, 30 years? Would you be proud of having a husband who behaves this way? You can do better, and the sooner you dump this guy the sooner you can start looking for Mr. Right. And have some respect for your brother.

LW2 - See my response to LW1 as much of it applies.

LW3 - Right on! None of these things is a deal breaker for me. Not even all four at once. DH is about 5'5 and I'm 5.6. Makes me feel tall! His mother is about 4'11 though which is really weird. I feel like I need to bend my knees to talk to her.
Comment: #23
Posted by: Zoe
Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:50 AM
LW1 – Run, don't walk away from “Stan”…what do you think he's going to do to you and any children you have if you don't do what he wants. He's a passive aggressive moron who, if he worked anywhere else he'd have been fired as soon as the first “pranks” happened. What “prank” is going to happen if he decides you don't pull your own weight cleaning or cooking…cut holes in the sheets? Cut small holes in your socks? Leave piles of whatever under the rug, hide your car keys? All sounds like fun right? How about cutting off your hair while you sleep? That's just a harmless prank right?

LW2- Take a serious look at how you've been communicating your “anxiety” to your husband…it sounds like you've whined yourself into a corner with him. He's tuning you out and is probably with you right now because he is a good father. It also sounds like you've been dragging his family into the fray so sweetie, back off. Put your big girl panties on, shut up and accept the fact that yes, he has 20 years in the National Guard and he isn't going to quit this soon to retirement. (He'd be crazy to) You should also apologize to him for the whiney nagging you've subjected him to. (I can read it between the lines!) If someone else is in the picture, you created the crack to let them in.
Comment: #24
Posted by: commentator
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:01 AM
"Stan is apparently upset by things my brother doesn't get to during the day."

Since when is Stan the boss of the outfit? Whatever gets done, doesn't get done, how it gets done it none of his business. Communication, schmommunication, it's not even his place to discuss the brother's performance. The ARROGANCE of the man, coupled with this mean, vicious vindictiveness. Yrrrrch, yrrrrch, yrrrrch.

I shudder to think what he's gonna do to HER the minute supper is not to his liking.
Comment: #25
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:08 AM
To LW #1: Run for your life! What you are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg. Someone else mentioned passive-aggressive - that occurred to me too, but I'm thinking it's probably more than that.

To LW#2: I'm going to go out on a limb her and say that your husband is having an affair or is about to, and that's why he's distancing himself from you. He's making excuses, but that's what is going on. Why do I think this? Because it happened to me. My husband of 10 years started distancing himself (became a totally different person) so he could ultimately walk away from the marriage to pursue a woman he worked with. He did leave, pursued her, married her and then divorced her three years later.

Try getting him into counseling, but if that doesn't work, and possibly even prior to that, start making plans to be able to support yourself should it come to that. No one is going to look out for you, but you, and you deserve to be loved, cherished and treated with respect.
Comment: #26
Posted by: j
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:09 AM
@Agnes, I think the thing to remember here is that, if he's been on active duty before, then PTSD or other related stress-disorders could crop up at any time. It's not always neat and orderly and happening right after a deployment. It sometimes happens years later. So if he was deployed at any point in his past, and the possibility of a new deployment is becoming more "real" (thereby increasing his anxiety level), then something innocent could have triggered a change in personality 6 months ago that is in fact related to his military service.
Comment: #27
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:14 AM
I've chided Diane in the past for the constant "don't breed" remarks, but I gotta say, I have to agree with her on this one. At least not with Stan.
Comment: #28
Posted by: C Meier
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:18 AM
Diana, not Diane. Sorry.
Comment: #29
Posted by: C Meier
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:20 AM
Re: commentator
How can you heap the blame on her like you just did? Tbe man doesn't become a saint because he's in the National Guard, and he doesn't become entitled to behave like a complete jerk, with his wife not allowed a peep of complaint.

All your "reading between the line" comes with zero evidence. You're assuming big-time, and filling in the blanks to your liking so you can blame HER. I don't care what she could have done, nobody deserves to be treated this way, and for him to shut her out and totally refuse any discussion or any kind of help is inexcusable, and not much better than Stan's behaviour.

For anyone to be subjected to this constant rejection day in and day out is actually mental cruelty. Let him pack up and leave, if he has a serious complaint with his wife he's not man enough to address (for all that he's such a macho soldier). His present behaviour is cowardly and sadistic.

Comment: #30
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:24 AM
"LW2--It seems like your husband is a few licks away from reaching the center of his tootsie pop! Whether it's PTSD or the constant pressure of waiting for the guillotine to fall, your husband simply isn't right anymore and he's checked himself out of your marriage. While it's possible he's seeing someone else, my guess is that the military has managed to transform your husband from a warm loving man with feelings into an indifferent cyborg. Stick to your guns. Inform your husband that he's got 30 days to see a professional and make some changes or you and the children are going AWOL.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Chris"
No, the military didn't do this to him. If they're in their 40's, he's been in the military for quite some time. The military likely has nothing at all to do with the personality change.
Comment: #31
Posted by: toypixie
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:42 AM
The brother needs some nannycam footage of what's going on. He should tell all the employees that who ever is doing it needs to cut it out or someone is getting fired. Then when he has evidence he can fire the guy for it. The LW can then dump the guy and tell him to hit the road. Have his bags packed and out on the lawn.
Comment: #32
Posted by: nonegiven
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:55 AM
@toypixie, #31, don't be so quick to dismiss the possibility. I know I said it above, but PTSD and other stress-related disorders can lay dormant for quite some time before being "triggered" unexpectedly. So it's definitely not outside the realm of possibility that the personality change is in fact VERY MUCH related to his military service. It's at least worth serious investigation with appropriate medical and therapeutic services.
Comment: #33
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:58 AM
@MikeH As a military spouse as well as someone with academic and personal experience with PTSD, I'm very familiar with how PTSD works and I'm aware it doesn't always happen right after the event. The fact remains that she made no mentions of any past deployments or any upcoming deployments (or even an increased likelihood of an upcoming deployment). She didn't mention any kind of triggering event or even any anxiety on HIS part - she only talks about her anxiety. She just says that he's in the reserve and six months ago, his personality changed.

My pet peeve is the fact that anytime someone in the military starts acting strangely, people start beating the PTSD drum. PTSD is a very real problem, certainly, but it's definitely not to blame every time someone affiliated with the military starts acting out of the ordinary. She didn't provide enough information to make a definitive claim one way or the other.
Comment: #34
Posted by: Agnes
Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:43 AM
@MikeH That said, it definitely wouldn't hurt for them to make use of the counseling services provided for military families! They're there for a reason, and regardless of whether he has PTSD, it sounds like she needs help with her anxiety.
Comment: #35
Posted by: Agnes
Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:52 AM
re LW 1: This guy will not stop with ignorant "pranks" (I loathe that word; it should be "vicious acts") if this moron of a woman marries him. He'll go from the VA's to smacking her around, and laughing at her, and then calling her "a bad sport" because when he hits her it will be "love taps" (I'd love to tap this fricking gasbag).
How do I know? I know because my father taught me that NO ONE has the right to lay one single finger on me
if I don't want it there, and he taught me a few pretty stunning defense moves that I have had to use. Twice. Only twice. First time it was a boyfriend who made the INCREDIBLE mistake of grabbing my arm when I wanted to walk away from him: I bent in the opposite direction and slammed my right foot into his gut. Never saw him again.

The second time was in an underground parking garage on LA's west side; at night, I was alone, 17, wallking to my car when a man stepped out from behind a concrete pillar and asked me for the time, all the while walking closer, and walking faster. I let him get about a foot from me, then put another of my dad's techniques into play (Bend you pointer finger, and cover it with your middle finger: it's a weapon of great strength and you will NEVER leave it at home!): I jabbed this moron in the neck, and he hit the ground, hard, gasping for air.

I walked to my car and drove away.

More free self-defense lessons and tool recommendations will be cheerfully offered to anyone! Just email me at skimmel666@comcast.net

(I also keep a broom handle [just the stick, four feet long] by the front door; it's an amazingly effective jabber: go for the eyes, throat, midsection, groin; it's an all purpose weapon]: even if the person you're fending off grabs it, just pull back and it'll slide right through their hands 95 per cent of the time.)

Anywho, this woman would be a train wreck and I give her no sympathy if she marries this stupid, evil, soon-to-be vicious monster.
Comment: #36
Posted by: Samantha Kimmel
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:12 AM
@MikeH #33

You're absolutely right on that point, however, the military does not turn its soldiers, marines, seamen, etc. into the brainwashed, personality-less zombies that Chris seems to imply. It is my opinion that boot camp and military training can...shall we say, "ramp up" inherent personality traits and make them more prominent than they may have been otherwise (such as a naturally neat person becoming an utter neat freak, or a bossy person bossier, or someone who likes to hide their feelings more emotionally crippled, or someone who has a cruel streak more cruel), but I don't think it CREATES any of these things. Case in point - my fiance is still an utter slob despite his 6 years of reserve duty. Again, this is just my opinion and I don't have any facts or data - something like that is certainly hard to prove one way or another.

However, the fact that her husband is in the military reserves (which is different than the National Guard) almost seems to be incidental information, as if she's saying "Oh, BTW, my husband is in the military." It doesn't seem to be any more relevant, IN THIS CASE, than if he were a doctor, lawyer, factory worker, burger flipper, or so on.

That being said, making use of the services that they're entitled to as a military family is excellent advice; whether it's a PTSD problem or otherwise makes very little difference if he refuses these services, and the LW will have to decide whether she can live like this or if leaving might be the wake-up call her husband needs. "For better or worse" does not apply when one partner in the marriage has emotionally abandoned it.
Comment: #37
Posted by: toypixie
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:37 AM
Also, to clarify - the LW's behavior is certainly contributing far more to her anxiety than just simply telling her about his day would. Puhlease. Unless the husband is in active training for deployment, the reserves in generally a one-weekend a month plus two weeks in the summer sort of commitment.
Comment: #38
Posted by: toypixie
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:41 AM
LW1: You are getting the benefit of vast experience from all of us, so please take heed. Everyone's telling you the same thing -- Stan is a dead end -- but we haven't told you how to back out of a toxic relationship. Breaking up, even amicably, can be emotionally wrenching, and it's easy to backslide. You have to prepare yourself and put a support system in place. If you are living with Stan, arrange to stay with someone else or get another place. Tell your brother and other trusted people that you will need them. Rehearse what you are going to say until you have a short, strong break-up statement for Stan. Watch out for your own safety -- have people nearby when you talk to Stan. Recognize that leaving someone you are tied to is very hard for a while, like withdrawing from a drug. Expect to cry and second-guess yourself. Lean on girlfriends. Get busy with work and activities that make you happy. Do not give in when Stan sweet-talks you and cries -- grief is only his first reaction, soon he will be furious and insulting and dangerous to you. Don't go back.
Comment: #39
Posted by: Claude
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:43 AM
@toypixie, most of my understanding of this comes through conversations with my stepdad, a marine/Vietnam vet who has done a lot of work counseling his fellow veterans. So I'm not necessarily arguing from facts or data either, necessarily.

Some reservists have seen active duty in the past 10 years, so if LW's husband has had any kind of deployment in the past, then that's what I think could be the foundation of this current problem -- not the actual experience of just the training itself.

Although I suppose there have been some occasions where boot camp went too far, or where there was extreme hazing -- however, most of the time the military is pretty careful to make sure that stuff doesn't go out of control. So I agree that the training itself isn't likely the problem, even if it can be intense. However, if the LW's husband has seen any kind of "real action", even 10 years ago, that really could be the root of the current problem.

On the flip side, though, I'm not unsympathetic to parts of Chris' view, either. The training is intense, obedience and loyalty are stressed to an extreme, and putting human beings into situations where they might be killed or might have to kill, day after day, is not a normal situation (to say the least). It puts incredible stressors onto the human psyche, and can result in all sorts of cognitive dissonances and unusual coping mechanisms that most civilians can't ever truly understand. It's an artificial pressure cooker and every member of our military deserves the highest level of support during and after their service.

(This is also why I believe the decision to deploy troops should be an absolute last resort after every other option has failed AND the situation is serious enough to warrant the insertion of troops.)
Comment: #40
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:50 AM
@Agnes, indeed, and that's why I qualified my comment #27 -- IF he has a deployment in his past. And PTSD isn't the only problem troops returning from combat zones face, but it's just the one that's gotten the most press, so I know that most people will recognize and understand it.

We also know from past experience that a lot is cut out of these letters, so I don't necessarily want to assume LW's husband has never been deployed just because she didn't mention it OR because the Annies' editors left it out.

But I agree with you -- it's not that this definitely IS the problem, I'm just saying that without knowing for sure he'd never been deployed, we shouldn't rule it out, either, as it could explain a lot.
Comment: #41
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:55 AM
RE Lise
Here are my “flags” and why I commented as I did.
1)He is in the military reserves and could be called up at any time
There is no mention of his ever being sent into combat or overseas, and it's in her opening statement just the possibility of his being called up.
2) Because I suffer from “anxiety” he sees anxiety as a weakness
Knowing other women who are needy and suffer “anxiety”, they are usually a drag on anyone who is tied to them. They have a tendency to use that anxiety to stay dependant on their spouses and use it as a control lever in their relationships.
3) He refuses counseling and won't discuss it with his family
This is telling me that she going to his family and trying to get them to intercede on her behalf, or to take her side. Again this is a controlling issue that anxiety ridden people do. Since the tactic used before isn't working the next logical step is to get the family involved to force the wanted reaction.
Also with the fact that they've been together 20 years and coupled that she suffers from anxiety for the possibility of his being sent into combat tells me that he's fed up with her and her behavior. He may have easily met someone else on the weekend bivouacs and he's mentally cut her out. Again these are “cracks” that she and her anxiety have created, not his.
It's not that I'm heartless however her letter is pretty one sided and unfortunatly I can picture her way to easily in other women I've known that sound like her.
Comment: #42
Posted by: commentator
Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:21 AM
As for LW 2, sounds to me like the guy is having an affair and is trying to decide if it's worthwhile to stay or leave depending on how the affair goes. Which is why he needs 6 months to figure out what he wants to do. He is in the reserves, there is no indication at all in the letter that he has ever been deployed or that he will be any time soon, just that he might be. So his day must consist of a regular civilian job. If he can't talk about his regular day, it's probably because it involves fomenting a relationship with a woman. Unless he has a particularly stressful job. And it sounds like he's done a pretty good job at blaming his wife for his actions and his refusal to go to counseling and his refusal to actively work on the marriage. It's not unusual to talk to family members about issues one is having in a marriage. Depending on the family, it can be extremely helpful. So I don't blame her for that or think that that's overstepping. As well, I would bet that it's the husband just blaming the woman's anxiety instead of her anxiety being a true issue.
Comment: #43
Posted by: Su
Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:03 AM
RE Lise
Here are my “flags” and why I commented as I did.
1)He is in the military reserves and could be called up at any time
There is no mention of his ever being sent into combat or overseas, and it's in her opening statement just the possibility of his being called up.

2) Because I suffer from “anxiety” he sees anxiety as a weakness
Based on past experience and knowing other women who are needy and suffer from “anxiety” are usually a drag on anyone who is tied to them. They have a tendency to use that anxiety to stay dependant on their spouses and use it as a control lever in their relationships. They try to make someone else responsible for their happiness and lives.

3) He refuses counseling and won't discuss it with his family
This is telling me that she going to his family and trying to get them to intercede on her behalf, or to take her side. Again this is a controlling issue that anxiety ridden people do. Since the tactic used before isn't working the next logical step is to get the family involved to force the wanted reaction.
Also with the fact that they've been together 20 years and coupled that she suffers from anxiety for the possibility of his being sent into combat tells me that he's fed up with her and her behavior. He may have easily met someone else on the weekend bivouacs and he's mentally cut her out. Again these are “cracks” that she and her anxiety have created, not his.
You are totally correct that his behavior is inexcusable and sadistic. If his is not happy with the situation than he needs to suck it up and leave. However she needs to accept some guilt in the situation, it's not all him as she is portraying.
Comment: #44
Posted by: commentator
Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:25 AM
Sorry, didn't mean to double post
Comment: #45
Posted by: commentator
Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:26 AM
@commentator, although IF he *was* deployed sometime in the past, then increasing anxiety about being called up in the future becomes more understandable.

But based on all the different scenarios possible, it seems that counseling/therapy/a visit to the doctor is called for, no matter which scenario is right.
Comment: #46
Posted by: Mike H
Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:58 AM
Re: Samantha Kimmel ~~ You are scaring Bitey Fish.
Comment: #47
Posted by: Piranha in Pajamas
Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:58 PM
LW1
Stan may feel that his pranks are nugatory to your brother, who has not yet made it clear to him. Now that you know the truth about the person you are engaged to marry, you can help Stan understand that his job is on the line and so is your wedding.
```
Comment: #48
Posted by: Word A Day Mate
Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:31 PM
LW2 - Sorry for your husband, but you can offer a compromise. Tell him yes, he might be able to have six months, but emphasize that "six months" does not mean 5 months and 29 days of doing nothing and then calling to make a counseling appointment the day before you kick him out. Tell him that he has one week to actually take step one of some positive action to fix your troubled marriage...be that consulting references, finding a counselor, or checking into military resources that might be available, and actually making an appointment. If he doesn't take that first step, within a week, tell him he's gone.

If he does take that first step, then tell him he then has 3 more weeks to demonstrate that he's really committed to staying with a program to make the long-term changes needed to save your marriage. One appointment and then nothing doesn't count. And then, after 30 days, you will evaluate his progress and then decide whether he's earned it or not, whether he deserves to stay or should go. Tell him you will allow slip-ups, but at the end of six months you'll be evaluating again, and if there's no progress in getting your marriage fixed, then you'll be leaving.

LW3 - D.S., sorry you're so resentful of what life has obviously handed you. News flash though: Physical bodies are only a small part of what makes people attractive. If you're emanating such bitter "I hate myself and my life" energy everywhere you go, it's no wonder you can't get a date.
Comment: #49
Posted by: Paul W
Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:55 PM
Commentator: You are being very harsh. Someone who is overly anxious all of the time is NOT trying to be anxious! It is a disorder, just as depression is. In fact these disorders often go hand in hand. Perhaps she is trying to deal with this and her husband's possible deployment is adding to her anxieties. As a loving spouse, he should be either used to dealing with it after 20 years or urging her to get counseling. He sounds particularly unfeeling if he views anxiety as a weakness.

I vote with the others who suspect an affair. If he suddenly became aloof 6 months ago, that is a red flag. Blaming it on her anxiety is a bit of a stretch since it happened so suddenly.
Comment: #50
Posted by: CB
Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:01 PM
RE: Samantha # 36

A big thank you for the great defense tips, hope I never have to use them. Do you need a job as a bodyguard?


LW 1 - Stan has a loose screw. At 39 yrs. old, he should know better. If he's doing these childish pranks, it could lead into bigger and much more dangerous so called pranks. Since your brother hired him, he should have a talk to him about these childish acts, then put on probation. If Stan keeps this up, then your brother should fire him. As for marrying him, forget it. Run, don't walk, out of his life. This guy is not for you.
Comment: #51
Posted by: Gwen
Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:48 PM
@Toypixie, Mike H, Agnes
Whether or not it's possibly PTSD and how he should avail himself to services available to servicemen is irrelevant, since he won't go to counselling and won't go to the doctor.

That's the real problem here, because if he was willing to get himself assessed by SOMEONE, then that someone could possibly get to the bottom of the problem. My personal guess is that he knows perfectly well what the bottom of the problem is, and why the doctor or the counsellor are both unnecessary.

You wanna know what this looks like? He met someone new, he doesn't yet know if it will pan out and he wants to cover his ass, and thus not burn his bridges before he knows for sure where he's going.

@Commentator
About your "red flags":
"1) There is no mention of his ever being sent into combat or overseas, and it's in her opening statement just the possibility of his being called up."
Where does this put any blame on her? I don't see any fault of hers anywhere in there.

"Based on past experience and knowing other women who are needy and suffer from “anxiety”"
I always say that my own personal experience doesn't constitute a Gallup poll. The same things goes for yours. You are taking for granted that she will be as much a pain in the boum-boum as all the ones YOU have seen, and it's not necessarily the case.

"This is telling me that she going to his family and trying to get them to intercede on her behalf"
Not, it doesn't. Again, you're assuming. For all we know, they could have witnessed some incidents that they themselves questioned. Or she could have suggested that he goes to a cherished, favourite brother/parent/uncle/grandparent/etc for advice.

"He's fed up with her and her behavior. He may have easily met someone else on the weekend bivouacs and he's mentally cut her out. Again these are “cracks” that she and her anxiety have created, not his."
In other words, oh well, he met someone else, but she was such a whining, nagging bitch that she got what she deserved.

Well, for openers, if he met someone he would rather be with, then, instead of keeping her on the back burner as a back-up plan like he's presently doing, he should be the brave defender of freedom he is supposed to be and pack up and leave. Second, the "fed up with her behaviour" part is all based solely on assumptions on your part, none of us including you has any evidence that it happened that way, as there are many other possible scenarios.

Comment: #52
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:57 PM
@LW1: Lise and Samantha Kimmel both used the word “vicious”. This is accurate. I would add “malicious”. Stan is *punishing* your brother for being a decent, generous, hard-working, self-reliant, upstanding gentleman, because Stan knows he does not measure up in comparison. Are you a decent, generous, hard-working, self-reliant, upstanding woman? Guess who is next on Stan's hit list.

Seriously, is Stan the kind of person you have always dreamed of being the father to your children?

My first impulse is to say: Immediately phone your brother and apologize for putting him into this miserable situation, and say, “If you want to fire this contemptible creep to whom I am no longer engaged and whose clothes have just been pitched out my window onto the sidewalk, feel free. I have photographic evidence in my possession that will support your firing him for cause.”

But Claude (# 39) is correct; safe extrication will take prep work. Also see comment #32 from Nonegiven. So, instead, call your brother, apologize, describe the photos you have seen, and ask for his help and advice. Work with him to construct a campaign that will secure evidence of Stan's malfeasance so that your brother *can* safely fire him for cause. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for further advice on how to divest yourself of this worthless fool. (Stan hasn't hit you--yet--but he is exactly the kind of controlling, abusive jerk who comes into their purview; they know all about him and will be able to give you some good tips.)

Did your parents bring up both you and your brother to be meek and passive, incapable of standing up for yourselves? It looks a bit like a family trait, from here. You might want to get that looked at.

@ C. Meier: Yeah, Diana is mean, harsh, and snotty--but every time she says “Don't breed!” I find myself in reluctant but fervent agreement! LOL.

@ Samantha Kimmel: How can you *bend* your index finger *and* cover it with your attitude finger?! The middle finger can't cross over the index finger if the index finger is bent. Are you a mutant or am I arthritic?

@ Bitey: There, there. Do not be afraid of Samantha Kimmel. She has never attacked a single piranha in her entire life.

Comment: #53
Posted by: Khlovia
Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:09 AM
Re: Khlovia
I find that I can slightly cross my index over my attitude finger on one of my hands (not the other), but it helps that I then cross over my thumb over them both to hold them into position. Samantha, does that defeat the purpose?

Comment: #54
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:31 AM
To PIP, Gwen, Khlovia and, of course, Lise:
PIP: Tee hee!! I no like scare bitey fish, only scary big men fish. I good at it, too!
Gwen: Again, Tee Hee!! Alas, my working days are over (try telling the Gubmint, despite two letters from
MD's telling them to give me Medicaid already!) because I had ex-ZTREEMremely physical jobs as a youngster and
work injuries and owies but I never leave those fingers at home. I can still use them.
As for bending the pointer finger, I neglected to say "slightly bend" then put your slightly bent "attitude" (again, tee and hee!) finger over the pointer, and you've got one hell of a weapon.
One caveat: NEVER go for anyone's forehead in a defensive way (if you're using the finger method): the cranium on the forehead is the second hardest bone in the body and you might slip, your steadying middle finger leaving the pointer and then you have, most probably, a broken finger, pain and are now at the mercy of the bad guy.
However, if you're presented with a forehead and happen to have that four foot piece of broom handle, jab away. Hurts the bad guy muchly, and facial lacerations bleed like mad to bad guy will be the one in pain AND blinded by the blood flowing in the eyeballs. (And if you happen to cart around a tire iron or baseball bat, also quite effective against just about any part of the baddie, as well.)
Comment: #55
Posted by: Samantha Kimmel
Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:17 AM
I'd leave the thumb out of this equation, Lise. Might bust it, and with pain on your end, this tends to take your attention off the baddie. But you cottoned onto my neglecting to say the both the pointer and middle to cover the pointer should be slightly bent was a great catch. Thanks!

Happy poking!
Comment: #56
Posted by: Samantha Kimmel
Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:20 AM
Thanks for splainy. I still can't do it. (pouts)
Comment: #57
Posted by: Khlovia
Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:52 AM
Re: Khlovia
Poor Khlovia!! I will try to explain it more Khoherently (!! :) ) - Put your pointer (p) finger straight out, and a little under the middle (m) finger: Now, bend them both into a small arch position with the m finger on top of p finger. You can even hear/feel the pad of your m finger slide across the nail of the p finger; that is good. The pad of the m finger should rest on the nail of the p. The arch of both fingers will be slight, but still noticeable (to you). Now, you can practice using this weapon: on pillows, jabbing at them, working up to more resilient items, like foam pillows or mattresses. When you need to use the weapon, you'll be prepared. It is truly a great defensive item, and even when you "assume the position" I assure you the baddie will not know the effectiveness of what you're carrying around ALL THE TIME: your seemingly frail and useless fingers.
Whenever I feel that trouble might be brewing, anywhere, anytime, I still curl those fingers into the defensive position. With me, though, it's usually my mouth that chases away danger, especially since we moved here to the Big Red Midwest. Nobody here argues!! Nobody here stands up for their rights!! Why is that? Even my hubs, who was born and raised here before meeting me in LA and our being there for 30 years (I was obviously a child when we met. Ahem cough cough) has reverted to a cringing "I'm not worthy!" individual who lets people run roughshod over him. I have to keep reminding him about things like "Tell her to fuck off!!" or "Stand up and let them know you're a human being, for christ sake!!"
I am a mama bear; just ask anyone who knew me through the stroke phase of my husband's and my life 5 1/2 years ago (chas v'chalilah another 30 years we get) and still to this day. One time, I went toe to toe with some mouthbreather in a doctor's waiting room, just before the '08 elections- a news program was on, talking about Obama and his chances for election. The mouth breather said, loudly, "If this country votes for some N-word, I's moving to Canada". I got RIGHT in his ugly mug and said, "Well, start packin', you racist shit, because even if he doesn't win, we don't need disgusting slobs like you in the USA!"
Got a round of polite applause from the audience, I did. Anyway, before hubs was d/c'd from his too long stint in rehab (physical) I caught another glimpse of his chart, and one of the current RN notes read "Do NOT anger wife!" I was hoping it would also say "She's 1/4 Egyptian Venomous Spitting Cobra!" but it didn't. Just said, in essence, don't fuck with me.
Comment: #58
Posted by: Samantha Kimmel
Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:10 AM
Re: Samantha Kimmel
""If this country votes for some N-word, I's moving to Canada"."
And what makes him think WE here want beautiful, pristine Canada to be polluted yet further with toxic garbage like him? If I had been there, I would have gotten MY mouth into gear right after yours was closed and told him exactly that. Yrrrrch.

Comment: #59
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sat Mar 17, 2012 12:37 PM
Yay! Can do now. So very slight an arch, it seems mostly straight; but, yep, been practicing. Just practiced on my leg and I think I left a bruise. Yippie!

I sez ship ‘em back to Europe where they came from. >:-(

“Do not anger scary crazy lady.” An accolade to be treasured.

Comment: #60
Posted by: Khlovia
Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:33 PM
Sorry, Canadianites!! Just reporting what the mouthbreating racist brickhead brayed.
I have NO idea why he'd move to a country with FREE GUBMINT MEDSIN, cuz that there's
socialist-commie-neo-purple-soccermom-homocratic!

Right??

And YAY Khlovia!! And good for you, practicing on yourself! That's is something i never thought
of: it sure tells you how strong that finger thing is, tho. Well done!
Comment: #61
Posted by: Samantha Kimmel
Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:44 AM
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