Dear Amy: On Sunday, I realized clearly that my husband was emotionally abusive to me.
The next day in your column (I read you in the Los Angeles Times), you shared an “update” from “Drained and Wondering,” as well as the Domestic Violence hotline number. My mom shared this with me and I called the number and spoke with a counselor.
Now I finally understand why I didn’t divorce him long ago, as many had encouraged. I am 50 years old, married for nearly 10 years, educated, financially secure, loved by friends and family, but they didn’t understand and I didn’t understand until now.
I considered breaking up with him throughout our relationship but didn’t know what was holding me back. I went to at least four counselors and none of them suggested that I was being abused.
He was often sweet, cheerful, and kind to my elderly parents. But he never got a job or a driver’s license, and he is a binge drinker.
For the first time I am grateful that we weren’t able to have children.
On Sunday when my eyes were finally opened, he spent hours intimidating and interrogating me.
He was yelling, playing loud music in my ear, giving ultimatums, making vulgar false and jealous accusations, and blocking the doorway when I tried to leave.
He threatened to go live on the streets, trying to manipulate my kind heart to focus on him and take care of him at any price to myself.
Like the person who wrote to you, I called a friend when I snuck out of the house.
Your column was like a God wink.
I didn’t think. I just called The Hotline.
The counselor gave me lots of information and asked me questions that helped me better understand the situation.
There are things for me to watch out for now, like his recent new jealousy, potential stalking, and triangulating me and my parents.
I still have work to do to get him out of my life.
I am so grateful for your column and information. Thank you, thank you!
Dear M: This “update” was inspiring, and so is yours!
I hope you will continue on your path, understanding that you still need help to stay safe as you leave this marriage.
Any person involved in an abusive or violent relationship can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help. Go to Thehotline.org (or call 800-799-7233) for helpful information regarding the nature of abusive relationships, as well as resources, ways to protect yourself and how to safely exit. Available 24/7.
Dear Amy: I love to cook, and have been cooking for family, friends and neighbors, mostly as a way of thanking them for a favor or for extra help with an errand. (I’m handicapped and unable to get out much.)
One friend of over 50 years has been a guest in my home numerous times over the years and has taken home many leftovers.
I recently mentioned that I was making dinner for a neighbor.
She asked what was on the menu and I told her. Her response: “That sounds disgusting! Yuck!,” followed by a gagging sound!
Needless to say, I was hurt, insulted and shocked, and told her so!
She did not apologize or try to make amends for her remarks.
Since then, I have been having a hard time speaking to her.
She had the nerve to ask when we would be getting together again! I cook good, tasty and flavorful dishes and to even suggest that I would make something “disgusting” was an insult of major proportions.
She has always been outspoken, but this time she went too far.
Do I ignore her rudeness, demand an apology, or blow off a 50-year friendship?
– Good Cook with Bad Friend!
Dear Good Cook: You already served up an appropriately spicy rejoinder to your friend’s rudeness, and your honest reaction in the moment seems proportional to the offense.
The choices you offer yourself now, however, are too limited.
Don’t ignore, demand, or blow off this friendship just yet.
Consider a “follow up.” You might start by saying, “I want you to know that I’m still really bothered by your reaction to this. I’m also hurt that you haven’t apologized.”
If your friend wants to continue in a close relationship with you, she will drop whatever pose she is maintaining and dial in to your feelings.
If she acknowledges her behavior and apologizes, then you must do the work of forgiving her in order to move on.