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Husband Needs to Express Frustration with Wife's Constant Criticism

Comment

Dear Annie: I am in my late 40s, have a good career, am well-respected and well-educated, and have many friends and acquaintances. I keep in reasonable shape. I love my son, my siblings and my mother, and always want to do the best I can.

The problem is "Janice," my 41-year-old wife of two years. She criticizes me constantly. I can't wash the dishes, empty the trash, drive a car, eat my food, buy the groceries, sleep or blow my nose without her berating me for doing it wrong or irritating her in the process.

Her criticism extends to my 11-year-old son from my first marriage. He is a great kid who does as he is told without talking back or giving any attitude. He gets good grades and is never in trouble. He stays with us every other weekend. When he is here, I know my wife will be moody and unfriendly toward him.

Janice also gossips negatively about my friends and their wives, and then wonders why she isn't invited to their social events. My wife has a terrific career, but whines constantly about her job. Other than her sister, she doesn't have close friends.

Janice and I argue a lot, mostly because I have grown tired of her knocking everything I do. The only reason I stay is because I do not want to be labeled a two-time loser in the marriage department. I have threatened to walk out more than once, but each time she claims she will be nicer and I believe it.

Janice seemed warm and fun when we first began dating. Now I wonder how our relationship evolved into this mess. I have thought about counseling, but when she barks at me, I can only think of running away. What do I do? — Tired of Walking on Eggshells

Dear Tired: You must first protect your son from Janice's criticism. Insist she treat him with kindness and decency. Otherwise, quite frankly, you'd be better off if she left the house on those weekends so you can spend time with your son.

Counseling is still a good idea. It can help you verbalize your frustration instead of becoming too angry to be effective. It also can help Janice understand how her constant negativity and criticism undermine your relationship. Please try it.

Dear Annie: A few months ago, I had an infected tooth extracted. It had a gold crown. When I told the dentist that I would like to have the tooth, he told me that I couldn't because it was infected. I accepted that because I was too overwhelmed from going through this lengthy, uncomfortable procedure.

Now, I am getting more and more upset. It was my tooth. At least I should have gotten back the gold crown. I paid quite a bit for it. What do you think? — The Tooth Fairy

Dear Tooth: According to our dentists, an infected tooth is considered biohazardous material and needs to be incinerated along with other medical waste. To extricate the gold from the crown would be time consuming and not worth the effort for the small amount of gold involved. If this explanation doesn't help, the American Dental Association recommends contacting your state or local dental association to resolve the dispute.

Dear Annie: I laughed when I read your answer to "My Two Cents' Worth," saying some newlyweds combine their names to form a new one, giving genealogists fits. If you try to track down a French-Canadian family, you will find out how hard it is. They use what are called "dit" names, meaning "called" or "said."

In my family, for example, I have discovered that Cyr is also known as Crock; Corbin was LaCroix; Gagnon has about a dozen variants, including Savage. Don't even get me started on the Scots side of my family. My mother's maiden name has so many variants it would drive you up a wall. — West Haven, Conn.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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

48 Comments | Post Comment
LW1 -
Which one is worse, to be a "two-time loser", or a "forever loser" because you're unendingly miserable? Counseling is a must if anything is to be salvaged out of this mess. And if she starts barking at the boy, then that's it. It's bad enough that you can be absolutely certain he knows damn well he's not welcome in your house by her (been there, done that, have the T-shirt, and even the sweat :-).

LW2 -
Unless you possess the professional equipment to extract the gold, I fail to see what you wanted to do with the tooth, unless you planned to drill a hole in it and wear it as a pendant? I admit I haven't checked, but I doubt that jewellers buy gold-crowned teeth.

LW3 -
The "dit" tradition actually harks back to the ancient French society. As far as I'm concerned, all this mumble-jumble about names is just one more argument in favour of keeping maiden names. It's complicated enough as it is without changing the woman's name every time she marries. Let's hope I didn't just start another polemic.

Comment: #1
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun Jan 2, 2011 9:24 PM
Dear Walking on Eggshells, I do hope you're reading this:
Your instincts are correct. RUN -- don't walk -- to the nearest divorce lawyer and dissolve this travesty of a marriage as soon as possible. If your wife seemed warm and fun when you were dating and you can't put your finger on anything that went wrong, then the most likely explanation is this: "Jancice" put on quite a show to get that ring on her finger. In other words, she pretended to be what she wasn't in order to secure the marriage.
She has all the earmarks of a person who "settled" for someone she wasn't in love with because she wanted to get married. There she was, approaching 40 at the speed of light, and wanted a husband. Not only is she not in love with you, it sounds as though she doesn't even like you very much. You could take it even a step further and say she is oozing with comtempt for you and before long, she'll hate your guts.
So please get out now. Striking out twice at marriage is no crime, so forget about the two-time loser label. And
forget about that milquetoast advice to get counseling! Counseling can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear nor can it make someone like you who doesn't.
* * *
To the posting community: Think of the field day Ben would have on his one!
Comment: #2
Posted by: Janey
Sun Jan 2, 2011 10:07 PM
To LW1: for your sake, and your son's, I would encourage you to consider ending your marriage. There's no magic number of relationships that makes you a loser, or a success. Some people get on well with the first person they marry; others hit it lucky on the sixth. As Lise put it, there are worse things than being a two-time loser. Your fear of being considered one is keeping you in a horrific relationship and undermining your future.

Please realize that two people are stuck in a bad marriage: you and your wife. You're both stuck in behavior patterns that are almost impossible to break, short of severing the relationship. Your wife is critical and insulting, and from the sound of it, gets some kind of charge or satisfaction out behaving that way; you seem to have fallen into a pattern of trying to "be good" and please her, defining yourself as the long suffering loyal spouse, and clinging fearfully to a terrible marriage which you would likely be better off without.

Both roles are rigid, and the best way out of them is probably to walk away. You'll be doing yourself a favor, because you'll get a break from her criticism, and doing her a favor, because she may finally have to face what she's become.

Comment: #3
Posted by: sarah morrow
Sun Jan 2, 2011 10:29 PM
LW1 - Let people call you whatever names they want to, you have to do what's best for your child. And for your sanity. I would get the heck out of that relationship. And then I'd find a counselor who would help me figure out why I kept choosing mates who were bad for me. From what I've witnessed with my friends, most of the signs of a doomed relationship were there in the beginning. People either ignored them, didn't pay enough attention, or got married too soon after meeting someone without getting to know them well enough.
Comment: #4
Posted by: FAW
Mon Jan 3, 2011 12:27 AM
LW1, expressing frustration is hard for me. I tend to shout or raise my voice, and I can often send stinging words at my mother or anyone who is "annoying" me, because my dad raised me in his perfectionist role model. I've had many write-ups at work over this problem of mine. Now I'm permanently disabled so I don't have regular jobs any longer. I'm going to umpire again this spring, and if you think that parents and coaches don't express their disapproval of "bad calls" to the one in the blue shirt, they are experts at it!
My best advice is to recommend that instead of "walking on eggshells", pad your feet with soft slippers and try to be positive and encouraging to your wife. She must be like the kid who had to be held strongly to get the cough syrup down her throat; give her doses "gently" and maybe she will finally learn that "a soft answer turns away wrath."
Comment: #5
Posted by: Jean
Mon Jan 3, 2011 12:48 AM
I lived with a constant complainer for 12 years, until the day I finally realized I had the right to live without the constant criticism. When I finally left her to her own misery, all my friends and family stepped up and gave me the encouragement I needed, and finally told me they were amazed I stayed with her as long as I did. Didn't take me long to gain my self confidence back, and while she made the divorce expensive and stretched out for as long as possible, it was definitely worth it in the long run. Today, I have a wonderful wife and no regrets I did what I had to do.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Tncastaway
Mon Jan 3, 2011 1:46 AM
LW1 - I think Janey is right. I think your wife pretended to be someone she wasn't to get herself a husband. I have seen it with my own two eyes. I have a family member who is always nagging at people, criticizing them and barking at them, too. She turned into Susie Sweetheart when she was around her then boyfriend/now husband. She also was so nice to her family when he was around. When he wasn't around, she was herself. She married him and began instantly critizing him and treating him like garbage...her true colors! He's still married to her, but looks so miserable every time I see him. Nobody would blame him if he left her. Don't worry about being a two time divorcee. You won't be the first nor will you be the last. For your son's sake and your's, too, do what makes you happy.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Michelle
Mon Jan 3, 2011 2:47 AM
To LW 1, I stayed with my husband for 12 years. My 2 sons suffered greatly from their stepfather's criticism and moods. I regret putting my children (his stepchildren) through this for so many years. I should have left once it became clear that he was such a critical man. I understand how you feel about being a 2 time loser because I felt the same way. But don't let that keep you from getting your children away from her. Best wishes.
Poppysmom
Comment: #8
Posted by: Leigh Little
Mon Jan 3, 2011 3:03 AM
LW1 - I would admit I made a mistake if I were you, as Lise and other posters have noted, being a two time loser at marriage isn't the worst thing that could happen to someone. That said, perhaps you are drawn to women like your first two wives. While your current wife does not sound like a walk in the park, does she share similiar traits to your first wife? You would be surprised how many people end up marrying the same type of person: the spouse changes but they are almost interchangeable. Good luck and I hope you get it right the next time around.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Kitty O'Shea
Mon Jan 3, 2011 3:20 AM
LW1, unless your wife has some kind of medical condition (hormonal imbalance?) what you are experiencing is verbal abuse, and you should not tolerate it, nor should you permit her to verbally abuse your son. I give you a lot of credit that you've tried to be accommodating, but the two of you are practically still newlyweds, and this is how she's treating you already? I think the lack of friends is a telltale sign that other people can't stand to be around her, either. Do the best thing for yourself and your son and get out now, and don't sweat the 'two-time loser' moniker...you sound like a decent man who will have no trouble finding love again.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Jane
Mon Jan 3, 2011 3:26 AM
I'm not sure why LW1 and his wife are married. They both sound as though they can't stand each other. She criticizes everything he does, all of which apparently irritates her. He finds her to be cold and unfriendly to practically everyone including his son. I'm guessing this marriage was based on a few romps in the hay following the breakup of the LW's first marriage. I highly doubt counseling is gong to help since everything seems to be broken in this relationship. I also wouldn't worry about being a "two time" loser in the marriage department. Young people these days seem to marry and divorce like they change their underwear. Chalk this one up to a grave error in judgment and be more careful in the future.

I disagree with the Annies with regards to LW2. I don't care how an infected tooth is classified, the LW paid good money for her gold crown and it should have been returned to her one way or another. I would have insisted that the dentist place the tooth in an alcohol filled vial or otherwise arrange for me to collect the gold crown after the tooth was properly sterilized. We're talking about some common bacteria, not a mutant plague. Gold is priced extremely high at the moment and even a small amount has significant value. While it's probably already too late to do anything about this particular gold crown, the LW should contact the governing body of her dentist and find out what her options are for future reference.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Chris
Mon Jan 3, 2011 4:51 AM
I agree with all the other posters here--mostly women, I'd like to point out: consider this a trial marriage or a rebound mistake and just move on. You may detour through a marriage counselor if you want to be "fair" to your new bride but nothing obligates you to stay in a marriage mistake. You seem to dislike her as much as she criticizes you--what's really in it for either of you? Take a hard look at your finances and your situation and then run, don't walk, out the door. You are really very young and can easily take some time to find someone you really love and who really loves you and your son. There's no excuse for making yourself miserable. If you are as good a person as you say you will very easily replace her.
aimai
Comment: #12
Posted by: aimai
Mon Jan 3, 2011 6:08 AM
I work in a lab where we get all sorts of human tissue, including teeth. If a person want his/her tissue back they have a 30 day window to come get it. You can sign a release form and you can have it. We don't have a right to it, its your tissue. But since we have so much tissue to deal with, we destroy it after 30 days. Alot of labs are like this and hold on to tissue for further tests if needed. Find the lab where you tooth went and get it back.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Kcabana4
Mon Jan 3, 2011 6:31 AM
LW1 - The only thing that makes you a loser is that you are continuing with this travesty of a marriage and forcing your son to be an unwilling participant. Leave this insufferable hag and get on with your life. Epic win!


Comment: #14
Posted by: Rick
Mon Jan 3, 2011 6:54 AM
LW1, you mention a list of things you excel at including loving you son and family. You mention you successes, career, body and friends. The only thing you don't mention is your wife. Woman are *itches for no reason. There is usually something underlying. Perhaps hormonal, 41 would be the right age for pre-menopausal symptoms. Or perhaps you are so focused on everything except your wife that she is tired of playing second fiddle to your "perfection". Oh, and and another thing. People rarely look at how they themselves have changed in a relationship. I doubt you are still wooing your lovely wife the same way as when you were dating. Perhaps adding her on to your lists of successes will help things along a bit.

LW2, Gold may be selling high on the market but there isn't much gold to be had in a crown especially considering that it is an alloy not pure gold. If the crown's gold alloy is 10 karat, the precious metal value of the crown is about $30 minus buyers fees so LW2 *might* get $23 for his troubles. How hard up are you that you want an infected tooth back now? Oh and remember the price you paid for the original procedure wasn't only for the crown but the dentists time, biohazard, disposable sterile supplies, X rays, etc.
Comment: #15
Posted by: It's me
Mon Jan 3, 2011 7:53 AM
Re: Chris

I work in a dental office and when we remove someone's gold crown, if the tooth isn't infected, we give the gold back to them with an envelope that is pre-addressed to a dental refinery that removes the biological tissue from the gold, then pays you what the gold is worth. It's usually under $25, even with gold being worth as much as it is lately. The high cost of a crown isn't because of the gold; it's because it takes a technician a long time to create that gold crown by hand and the dentist's time to prepare the area and put the crown in.

If LW2's dentist is otherwise a good dentist, it's not worth $25 to leave them.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Lucy
Mon Jan 3, 2011 7:55 AM
I worked at a nice jewelry store for several years, and we made our own jewelry there. People would bring in and sell all kinds of gold, including gold teeth (sometimes with tooth part still attached). When people die, the morticians pull them and give them to the families (I don't know whether this is optional or not). Other things we got: rings cut off at the morgue, ring eaten by a dog (with tooth marks), a blood covered gold watch. You can add small amounts of gold to the fresh gold when casting without ruining the final product. Too much old gold= discoloration and air bubbles.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Jackie
Mon Jan 3, 2011 8:06 AM
it's me:

I don't think LW1 is really at fault; I'm in a similar marriage myself; I admit we didn't take long enough to know each other but right after the wedding he turned into major critic and a know it all and I was the target. I was stunned, he didn't do that before, some call it bait and switch. It does happen.

In my case, in recent columns, we've discussed narcissism, and I believe he is one, or at least has several traits of it (there seems to be a difference between having the full blown syndrome and just having some traits). And there is next to nothing you can do about it short of leaving, which I am still planning to do when the finances work out. I have a test scheduled for a state job next Sat. so I hope that will turn into a job offer soon. And I'm seeing Soc Sec today to finish an app for disability for my son, so that may pan out too.

Anyway, please realize that the LW may not be at fault whatsoever, my husband has no friends to speak of either, and I've often wondered if it's because of him that we have a hard time getting people over here for fun. It's happened a few times, but I hardly even try. I just go to other's anniv. parties, and what not, and that's fine with me. I keep wondering if my and my son's social life will improve a lot when we're on our own.

Although for now, I think I just don't need much socializing cause I've had so much to deal with at home, I've had all the interaction I need for a long time!


Comment: #18
Posted by: jar8818
Mon Jan 3, 2011 8:14 AM
Re: jar8818

I too, was confronted with a mate who turned into a freak the minute he moved in - in the stairs as he was moving in, in fact. I didn't put up with that yurunda for very long - it's true that we didn't have any children.

I'm reading between the lines that you're staying with your Mr. Good Advice for the sake of your son. You haven't asked for advice, so I won't offer any, but do keep in mind that children learn how to relate from example.

Comment: #19
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Mon Jan 3, 2011 8:34 AM
Lise:

Actually, I've stayed this long because partly, my middle son had big emo. problems since 2007, and I was consumed with that (or by that) for quite a while, and my oldest son got married, the one nice thing during all this, my husband had back surgery, and I lost my job last spring. As I've said before, it takes a while, maybe years, for a wife like me to see how she's being used and abused and to start considering leaving. And to really believe she can do it.

I've never lived on my own before and I deeply regret that, that is a good idea for all young women to know how to support themselves; even if you have a great marriage, the husband often goes before the wife and she does well to already have experience in supporting herself. (I remember Joan Lunden saying once that her mom told her, you be sure you can always take care of yourself. I wish very much I had done that.)

But, I think it's getting closer to the time when I can put my plan into action; I started realizing about a year ago that somewhere down the line my son was playing games with me with his outbursts. I've done reading about narcissism over the weekend, and I can't diagnose either of them, but it sure explains a lot. AND IT'S NOT MY FAULT, I GET THE LAST LAUGH!!

And I don't know why I should stick around indefinitely; it's not gotten better and it won't get better. My son is 21, so it's not like I'm abandoning him, thank goodness. I'm not gonna go into the details again, but there's nothing else to do and there's no response from the husband, he doesn't seem to see a problem with himself, one red flag for narcissism.

It's not that I didn't want to leave a long time ago, I just didn't have the wherewithall to do it.

Comment: #20
Posted by: jar8818
Mon Jan 3, 2011 8:53 AM
To Jean
It is your job to work on changing your behavior. Your perfectionist parent may have modeled the behavior but you continue it. Get thee to an AA site and start the 12 steps. Addicts ( of substances or BEHAVIOR) can only change if they commit to it daily. If you pad your feet and treat abusers kindly they think their behavior is acceptable. It is not. I stopped accepting a siblings behavior and avoid contact. At family gatherings I arrange to be on the other side of the room. My husband and adult children support this way to deal with the situation. She is YOU.
Comment: #21
Posted by:
Mon Jan 3, 2011 9:16 AM
Re: jar8818

It took me four years to realise that my husband's treatment of me was not my fault, AND to fall out of love enough so that the idea of leaving him didn't break my heart. Emotional attachment can be a powerful restrainer. I had a toddler daughter, and the harm that his little mind games and fits of screaming were doing to her was actually what got me packing, once I realised he would never change.

But I admit I don't know what I would have done without the fact that I was able to place my daughter with my father and stepmother while I was at work - at least they did that for me, or should I say, they did that for my baby, because the price exacted from me was steep.

I too had never lived on my own before, actually the main reason I let myself be coralled into marriage at 19. Living all alone and having to take care of everything was very difficult at first, but I learned and then, I was also very young. In some ways, it gets harder with age as we get more intractable, but it also gets easier since we've developed more skills and resources. You can do it.

Your son's emotional problem may have in part to do with the general situation and yes, it is perfectly possible that he is learning from the source how to manipulate you. The fact that your husband had back surgery and that you lost your job doesn't help of course, it's so easy to get stuck in a cogwheel and, once that happens, it's very difficult to get out of it.

I don't know what you've started to do as part of your plan to get out of it, but getting another job seems the first priority, and I'm sure you're on it already. If it may be of any help, the way I proceeded is that I got the job, then a place to live, then I took care of my daughter's care and then I started packing.

You've got the emotional support of your friends here and don't be afraid to reach out if you need to - to us and/or to a professional therapist. I'll add you to my prayers!

Comment: #22
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Mon Jan 3, 2011 9:29 AM
If the wife seemed fun and easygoing two years ago, it's possible she needs to be evaluated for something. I have heard of women who were famous cast-iron b*tches who were given lithium (or whatever the miracle drug of the moment was) who had a 180 degree turnaround. Worth looking into.
Comment: #23
Posted by: trinx
Mon Jan 3, 2011 9:58 AM
Lise:

Thanks so much, I appreciate your support.

Yes, I've got that job test Sat. and another PT job I'm gonna ask about today, I have my name on the waiting list for a low income apt., but who knows when one will open up? I guess I can email all my friends after I get a job and see if they know of any place I could stay, at least for a while.

My youngest is 16, so that's not such a worry; he is a teenager, but I've got a married male friend my age who has taken him under his wing, so he has a good role model there, and someone to talk about "man" stuff with him when necessary, and he and all my friends have similar values, so that's a big help. And thankfully, he isn't the wild and wooly type, he's real laid back like me, so we've avoided a lot of worry and hospital bills, nutty behavior, etc.

My friend's wife and I had a talk once, her first husband was too strict, they got divorced, etc., and now two of their three daughters have bolted, so to speak, and rebelled against the values they were raised with, so I sure feel for her. Her oldest daughter is married and lives here, but she's having some problems of her own, so my friend's been thru the wringer too.

Mostly, I've been looking into what all my options are, I do have a counselor that has helped a lot to keep me seeing things clearly, and I talked to a lawyer once about the legal stuff. I never did this before, so I've had to learn how things work before I jump into something.

My next counseling appt. isn't till the 20th, but I'm eager to tell her about the narcissist stuff and see what she says; my 21 yr. old is a patient of hers too, so she knows him, so she can't discuss any of his stuff with me, but we can sure talk about the husband!!


Comment: #24
Posted by: jar8818
Mon Jan 3, 2011 9:58 AM
LW1, let me get this straight, you will stay in a marriage that doesn't work because you don't want others to call you a two-time loser? Besides, do people you want in your life call others names like that? Would you rather call yourself unhappy and unfulfilled? When your now 11 year old son is twenty-five, do you want him to say, "why did you stay?" and worse, what about the interactions between your wife and son that you don't know about? My sister was engaged to a man who when alone with her 6 year old daughter would say things like, "when I first met your mom, I thought you were normal". My sister did not marry that man, but when she got engaged again, her daughter rejected the new husband right off the bat. My mother figured out that her granddaughter was rejecting HIM before he could reject HER. And my sister had no idea the comments that her former fiance had been making to her daughter. My sister is a loving and savvy mother and she figured out how to make her new family work. She and her husband have been married for four years now and while the road has been bumpy, it has not been abusive.
And just so you know, I am forty-one and the hormones take me hostage every once in a while. The weight gain, mood swings, and sleep disturbances are no picnic. Throw in the innocent comments children make (like my five year old asking me if her bum is going to be huge like mine) and it's a recipe for no fun. I used to be a size 5 to a 7, and now I am a 8-10, and while my bum is bigger, I never thought it was HUGE. Make one last effort to help your wife get her act together and work for a happy togetherness, if she won't, run to an attorney and don't look back.
Comment: #25
Posted by: Chelle
Mon Jan 3, 2011 10:07 AM
Re: jar8818
I can sympathize with LW1. Many people can be totally different when dating, in front of select friends/relations, in front of the marriage counselor or pastor, etc. I think some people are just plain negative, maybe it's learned, maybe inborn, maybe both. My kids used to say that for some people the glass is half-full, for some half-empty, and for dad it is going to tip over and totally spill at any moment. At 20, I would recommend counseling. A good counselor could recommend changes in how you respond that might change her to a degree. At 40, she is probably too set in her ways so it would be harder. You cannot change another person, you can only change yourself. Decide what you can handle, what you can ignore, and what is best for your son.
LW3 Once upon a time, all our ancestors got together and decided, we have to do something to preserve our privacy from those future geneologists. That is why you have name problems with your French, Scottish, and all other ancestors you try to track down.
"My family tree must have been used for firewood."
"Genealogy: Search long enough and EVERYONE connects somehow."
Comment: #26
Posted by: Elizabeth
Mon Jan 3, 2011 10:25 AM
You gals need to get a facebook page so you can discuss your multitude of problems there. TMI means TOO MUCH INFORMATION, which you inflect upon us everyday. Enough already! It would be shorter to tell us what problems you haven't experienced. If you want to offer you opinion, fine but leave the rest of the "oh, poor me I've had it worse than you" complaints at home.
Comment: #27
Posted by: Penny
Mon Jan 3, 2011 1:05 PM
Re: Chelle

Aw, Chelle, while your bum can't be that big at a size 8-10, think how large anything looks like from the perspective of a tiny little five year-old...! :-)))))

Comment: #28
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Mon Jan 3, 2011 1:13 PM
Re: Penny

Frankly, I don't see anyone doing this here... What I do see is people using examples from their personal experience to make a point. And there is nothing wrong with that.

If you don't like the comments, don't read the ones you don't like or stick to the letters and the Annies' response.

Comment: #29
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Mon Jan 3, 2011 1:16 PM
Anyway - I'll be away for two days, I'll get back on Wednesday. Be back soon!
Comment: #30
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Mon Jan 3, 2011 2:09 PM
I feel strongly that abusive behavior should not be tolerated. But that's not quite what I saw in this letter. Except for the bit about the stepson, I wondered if my own husband had written this letter. Please let me explain.

"I can't wash the dishes": my husband says that, too, but what he means is that I feel sad when his peculiar dishwashing methods (e.g., throwing- yes, throwing- dishes into the nearest recepticle) result in dozens of broken dishes (several per week). In our case, these dishes were purchased by me prior to the marriage and many are handmade items from craftsman and artists- expensive and irreplaceacble. "I can't buy the groceries": indeed. My husband has come home insisting that the entire grocery store was out of milk, all the while insisting that milk must be provided for his many visiting family members who have surprised us this afternoon. This same guy will call me into the kitchen from whatever I may be doing because he can't find milk (in its usual spot on the top shelf of the fridge) in his own refrigerator. "Drive a car": a particular sore spot, given that my husband has 2 DWIs, cannot abide to the legal speed limit and has "accidentally" killed a dog and two cats in our neighborhood within the last 6 months.

I must tell you, dear reader, that my husband would claim a similar level of criticism. He is often explosive with me, for example, when I insist that he slow down to the legally posted speed limit. He becomes quite upset when I kindly and gently suggest that he handle handmade articles with care. He is not interested in slowing the speed of his vehicle when a neighborhood pet appears on the side of the road.

It would be exceedingly easy for my husband to stop all incidence of what he claims to be criticism. He could change his behavior and address my legitimate concerns. Until then, although I very carefully choose my battles, he is subject to feedback regarding his illegal and destructive behavior.

I urge the writer to consider whether he should address his wife's concerns before writing her off. Is it possible that she is only asking for consideration of her feelings? Take the critique off the table by honoring her wishes and see what happens next. She is an equal member of the household; her feelings carry equal weight to your own.

As a side note, I am distressed to discover that readers have all assumed the wife to be abusive rather than the husband to be insensitive and dismissive of her feelings.

That is not my situation, folks. Hear me.

Comment: #31
Posted by: Dawn
Mon Jan 3, 2011 3:10 PM
It sounds as though the wife could be emotionally abusive but knows how to hide it when she has to, or as Dawn aptly pointed out, the husband could be so dysfunctional that anything the wife says will be construed as "abuse."

BTDT. There is no discussing anything with people like that, they enjoy abusing others too much to quit doing it. If it's the wife that's the problem, it's time for LW1 to take his son and get out, like, yesterday!
Comment: #32
Posted by: pinetree
Mon Jan 3, 2011 3:29 PM
re: Dawn--When his wife writes in, then we'll see how we feel. Till then, his is the only information we have.

I posted a comment a couple of hours ago, and it's still not here, so I'm going to risk a double post.

LW1--you're already a loser because you're willing to put up with somebody who treats you like this. Nobody wants somebody they can run over, whether man or woman.

I vote with the people who are saying "GET OUT!" But, if you're still determined to give this marriage a chance, for gosh sakes, stand up to her. Tell her you won't tolerate this any longer and if she does it again, one of you is leaving.

I know there's a lot said nowadays about unconditional love, and I believe in it. However, while my husband knows that I will always love him unconditionally, he also knows that if he were to stop treating me with respect, I wouldn't live with him unconditionally.

We both probably drive each other crazy at times. I never want him to feel like he has to tiptoe around me and not live in his own house. I hate that his office looks like a cyclone hit it, but I don't have to look at it. And I'm sure as heck not going to tiptoe around him in my own house, either.

When people ask me how we've stayed happily married almost 36 years, (why that makes me an expert, I don't know), I just say, "Be nice to each other."
Comment: #33
Posted by: Joannakathryn
Mon Jan 3, 2011 3:30 PM
I, personally, like all the additional stories by commenters. I learn a lot from their histories. It's nice to have an anonymous forum because people tell you personal things, honest things, that they wouldn't tell you face to face, in a crowd, at a social gathering. I like reading the different points of view and opinions and it helps me to hear the back stories so I can understand why they think like they do. It helps me understand if they're giving an opinion on a topic that is uniformed because they are not that age, have never been in that situation and have never known someone in that situation, or if they've been there, can read between the lines, truly understand, have tried various ways to fix that issue and can help with advice for what is the best course of action.

And if what a commenter says is way off topic, I can either read it and learn from it and be entertained, or I can just skip over it. Luckily, we're not using paper/trees or print here so if people ramble on, online, it's not very wasteful (ok, a little bandwidth and server space, but it's negligible).
Comment: #34
Posted by: FAW
Mon Jan 3, 2011 3:32 PM
@Lise Brouillette

Re: Penny - "Frankly, I don't see anyone doing this here... What I do see is people using examples from their personal experience to make a point. And there is nothing wrong with that."

Are you sure about that Lise? I seem to recall a day (or two) just recently where your personal housing woes absolutely dominated the comment section. Some of your posts alone were several pages long, contained copious personal information and drew the response of 90% of the commenters. I sure hope none of the LWs expected any advice about their problems from the readers that day...

"Anyway - I'll be away for two days, I'll get back on Wednesday. Be back soon!"

Oops, you just did it again! How is your whereabouts relevant to the letter writers, your advice to them or THEIR problems?

I'm not trying to be a prick but I agree with Penny that perhaps FaceBook or Twitter might be a more appropriate forum for you and those here who wish to follow you and the goings on in your personal life.
Comment: #35
Posted by: Chris
Mon Jan 3, 2011 3:42 PM
Dawn, I know my advice is totally unsolicited, and I try to not be someone who advises the end of a relationship, but this really scares me for you "has 'accidentally' killed a dog and two cats in our neighborhood." That tells me that he has no qualms about wastefully extinguishing a life, and he has a desire to seriously trample on people's feelings (the owners of the pets - let's argue that the adult owners are negligent for letting their pets roam, but what about the feelings of the children who must love those pets?). Combine this with his violence for your belongings. I'm scared for your safety and I see huge red flags all over the place. I hope you've considered how to hide some of your most beloved possessions off your property, and how to extract yourself from that abusive situation.
Comment: #36
Posted by: FAW
Mon Jan 3, 2011 3:43 PM
@Retired
Are you Jean's sister? As it is we know more than we want to know about the Adams family. Don't make this message board a place to air your family's dirty laundry.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Kitty O'Shea
Mon Jan 3, 2011 4:05 PM
Apology in advance - the first comments I have are to previous posts
I didn't post this one until now because I didn't think of it at the time.
To the discussion about jeans and going commando - how do you prevent "body hair" from getting caught in the zipper?
About heels and hardwood floors -
to Joyce in MN - your system for footwear and various areas inside/outside the house is elaborate and impressive. I'm glad it works for your family - made me think that the people who sell footwear in your area must be happy to see you. (grin)
to JoannaKathryn and the related discussion about cats - I was po'd some years ago when the cats chased a chipmunk into the house and cornered it against a blanket box. I rescued it in a towel and released it outside - can't imagine having anything more aggressive like scorpions in the house. That must be a southern experience.
to today's discussion - I disagree with Penny post 27 - I have no problem with posters using personal experience to make a point. It's not TMI, it's sharing and trying to help others going through the same thing you've been through - all of us benefitting from each others experience - sharing issues and problems you might need to know about.
to jar8818 - Good luck with your plan. You have my support. One thing you may not have thought about specifically is bank accounts. You should open one only in your name if you don't have one already and try to divert as much as possible into it to use after you leave - whatever he won't miss. If you have money in joint account(s) now, your husband will block your access to it after you leave.
Comment: #38
Posted by: Westender
Mon Jan 3, 2011 4:35 PM
Re: Westender--I have to respond to a few of your comments.

As far as body hair, a lot has changed among the young in the last few years. It's my understanding that they don't believe in it anymore and get it waxed or shaved away. (OUCH!)

Cats:
We used to live in a place where our cats could go outside, through a pet door. More than once, I woke up to find a bird flying around in our house. I learned to catch them by throwing a towel over them. The cats thought they were bringing us gifts and probably didn't understand why I went ballistic every time. Now, since our cats don't go out, one of them picks up pens and other small items and brings them into our bathroom. I've found my cell phone, markers from my husband's office upstairs, and some tiny figurines. He loves to chase foil balls, and my husband finds them in his shoes.

Scorpions are nasty little creatures. I've killed dozens of them, but I haven't been stung since I was about 4. My husband got stung and one of my son's old girlfriends, but nobody else so far. I think one of the kitties may have been, poor baby.
Comment: #39
Posted by: Joannakathryn
Mon Jan 3, 2011 5:05 PM
Re: Chris

I see where you're coming from, but please, try not to be so hard on Lise for the thread where she posted her 'housing woes'. It was fairly obvious that she was blindsided by the bad news and emotionally distraught, and was just pouring out her feelings. I don't think she was consciously thinking, "Well, I'll just talk about my problems because they're so much more important than anything else on this forum."

It's true that the posting about personal experiences can get a bit much at times. But until this forum becomes more chat room than comments section I'm not going to complain about it. FAW is right; these are people who have dealt with situations like the ones in the columns and can often give good advice. And it's certainly good to have more perspective on the problem than just that of the Annies.

I've also noticed that if someone posts almost every day and then suddenly doesn't post, people notice. Maybe that's why Lise said she would be gone for a few days. I've heard people mention it when you are absent from the forum, as well as Matt. That's not such a bad thing. We are, after all, real people on this forum, not just a bunch of blips on a computer screen.
Comment: #40
Posted by: JMG
Mon Jan 3, 2011 5:14 PM
LW1 seems to be telling an improbable tale. For no apparent reason, his wife just snipes at him all the time. I have a few narcissists in my family, and this is the kind of story they tell, over and over. I suspect there's more to it than what he's saying.
Comment: #41
Posted by:
Mon Jan 3, 2011 5:29 PM
Westender:
I do have a couple of accounts now; one is joint and one is not. Was thinking of taking his name off the one and putting my oldest son's name on instead as a precaution. Also wish I had some money to divert! But I will have some one of these days.
Chris:
I guess some of us get carried away sometimes, but I don't think it's that often. Lise did talk about her facebook page one day, but I couldn't find the picture of her she described. And she doesn't look at it very often, so I don't know.
I wonder too, if any of the LWs read the comments below? I know that one or two have posted comments not too long ago, but I hope they do read them, it can give them several other viewpoints that they maybe didn't think of.
And some days, the Annies are just koo koo with their advice.
Comment: #42
Posted by: jar8818
Mon Jan 3, 2011 6:02 PM
Re: joannakathryn
off topic continued...........
Going commando - I need to stay out of discussions where I have no knowledge of the subject. Somebody did say it was girl talk.
cats - we have two and we used to let them come and go through a partially open, sliding patio door. They lost that privilege when more warm bodies came in than went out. Yes we've had birds in the house. I managed to catch one of the visitors when I found one of the cats incubating it at the top of the stairs. I released it in a blanket outside. I've had cats since I was ten and can't imagine life without them. I'm not a dad - the cats are our family!
Now back to today's discussion.............
FAW post 34 - exactly!
Here's something else about LW1 - LW says his wife has a terrific career but whines constantly about her job and has no close friends except her sister. Sounds like a very bland, uninteresting existence. Does she have any outside hobbies - if not she needs some. Some people are chronically negative but the wife sounds like someone with time on her hands or is perhaps jealous of his friends and/or insecure and putting down other people somehow builds her up.
Comment: #43
Posted by: Westender
Mon Jan 3, 2011 7:57 PM
Penny and Chris, don't read what you don't want to. Personally, I look forward to reading the histories, hopes, opinions and TMI stories from the other posters.

Truth can be stranger than fiction at times. I had a university professor ask me, "how many lives have you had?" because I'd had so many life experiences that seemed strange. My father was a military man and we traveled a great deal. My parents used to marvel at how I would explore new neighborhoods and meet darn near everyone in the first week and be able to tell my family all about our neighbors. They are so surprised now that I don't write for the tabloids, given the freaky stuff I have been exposed to over the years. And when I say "freaky" I am not implying anything of a sexual nature.

And this is supposed to be an open, supportive and informative forum. It stops being these things when someone questions/attacks the posters on this site.

There were some Matt-bashing days, there were some trolls visiting from time to time, and there were snipes about the Annies, other posters and letters being reused. But something about this site must feed us because we keep coming back. I will miss Lise's postings and there are times when I am short on time and I will scan the comments for my favorite posters.

In the meantime, have a peachy day. Really.
Comment: #44
Posted by: Chelle
Tue Jan 4, 2011 10:00 AM
A little late on the discussion about posters going off topic and sharing unrelated personal info, and personal notes back and forth to each other - yeah, that gets a little old for the rest of us. And yes, of course you can skip reading the posts that aren't related to anything, but sometimes it gets dull reading the first sentence of tons of posts and skipping to the next. I actually do feel for the posters when they air their personal problems, but seems more suited to an online support group, rather than a public board perused by thousands of readers (maybe hundreds of thousands?)
Comment: #45
Posted by: Steve
Tue Jan 4, 2011 9:19 PM
@Chelle. "Matt bashing?" Har har har. Yeah, there are times I'm not too popular around here. I've made it abundantly clear that I don't care much if what I say ruffles someone's feathers. I do appreciate your periodic comments of support.

@Steve. I'm with you. Anecdotes relevant to the subject at hand are one thing; using the forums to "keep in touch" with other regulars is another. It's silly, especially in the age of social networking websites.

Comment: #46
Posted by: Matt
Wed Jan 5, 2011 1:04 AM
@Dawn Post #31
You're perfectly right, of course.

P.S.: You haven't asked for advice, but the burning question remains: why are you staying with a man who appears to be extremely angry, hostile and potentially dangerous to you? I'm with FAW on this, I hope you're making plans to protect your treasured heirlooms as well as your own skin.

A@FAW Post #34
Exactly my sentiment, you summed it up in a nutshell.

@Chris Post #35
Yes, I did post at length on my housing crisis, and very glad I was for all the constructive suggestions and offers of support. Kindly take into account that I'm hardly the only one who has ever asked for help, and that I'm always happy to reciprocate the advice and support - to you also, should you ever need and request it. The post you're specifically referring to a couple of days ago was in response to several people asking for an update. The time when my personal situation dominated 90% of the posts, like you said, was not two days ago but originally when it happened several weeks ago, and may I add that, if it dominated this forum so much it must have been because some people cared. And I return the favour.

When I said, 'Be back soon' I was not addressing the letter writers but the posters, as I'm sure you well know, which I did because I have noticed that, when one of the regulars stops posting for a while, others (me being one of them) will express concern, as JMG mentioned.

Personally, for the reasons FAW stated so well, I'm very interested in the bits and pieces of personal history the others offer - that's how you accumulate perspective and understanding. Ann Landers' and Dear Abby's columns have been essential pioneers in that domain and, now that the feature is interactive, it has the bonus of additional perspectives and points of view for the LWs. And I don't mind it in the least if someone needs help and support - you will have noticed that, occasionally, someone who is not a regular poster simply skips the Annies and goes directly to the posters; it's faster and they're sure of getting an answer - more than one, in fact.

But, as others have mentioned, you don't have to read what you don't like. I at least take the trouble of separating my 'long posts' into manageable paragraphs, which makes it easy to skip whatever you're not interested in - all of it, if you want. And besides, there have been many others who mentioned their personal situations here, either using them as a case in point or to ask for help. I do not know why you are so miffed by my situation in particular.

@jar8818
We've had proof once, since I started posting, that at least some LWs read the comments. Remember the Bully Problem letter, from the mother of the bullied girl in school? That was before Christmas, if I remember well. And no, I rarely if ever go on FaceBook even if I have a page there, set up at my daughter's instigation because she wanted to add me as a "friend" in one of the online games she likes to play. I so don't understand how it works that I can't even tell you how to find my page! It's just not a happy medium for me.

@Matt
"Matt bashing?" Har har har"
I laughed at that one too, and at your reaction too! Isure hope you don't count me as one of those who ever bashed you, even though we sure had our disagreements in the past... and will again, I'm sure, seeing that you're much more conservative than I am on some subjects. But just the same, I like you and I respect your opinion, precisely because your posts express an opinion and never an attack.

Do keep in mind that it can be very easy to miscontrue one's words' intentions when you only see them in print, without intonation, facial expressions, hand gestures and body language. I have no doubt that many of the tiffs we've seen here are due at least in part to that. Not to mention that, even with words...well, we may all be writing the same language, but there are times when the words don't mean the same thing, as I've had many times the occasion to find out with the LOML.

Comment: #47
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Wed Jan 5, 2011 11:17 AM
I didn't mention that I don't like the Matt bashing days.

You and Aimai are on opposite ends of the spectrum most of the time. When you two agree on something, I want to go out and buy a lottery ticket. The planets must all be in alignment or something. And I don't even believe in that astrology malarkey.

Trolls show up from time to time, but for me, I tend to see through their jabs and it can clear up an issue for me quickly. Where an issue can be gray, a troll then writes something inflammatory and then whoa! Due to their caustic comments I can see where I stand more clearly.

I prefer the postings of the regulars here, but to each his own.
Comment: #48
Posted by: Chelle
Fri Jan 7, 2011 11:26 AM
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