Annie’s Mailbox for Jan. 12, 2011: Scared by husband’s anger
Dear Annie: I am disturbed by my husband’s behavior. We were married in June, and I knew that “Clark” had a short temper. But an incident happened last night that frightened me. He became upset over a silly matter and screamed profanities, called me a horrible name and threw one of our couch pillows at my face.
Clark knows he has anger issues. I usually let these outbursts slide because I understand he doesn’t mean the things he says, but last night changed that. I truly believe that had I been standing next to him, he would have physically harmed me.
Clark is a kind and wonderful man, my prince charming, until he gets upset. Then he becomes a completely different person. I know people can lose their temper, but this is more than typical anger. If I talk to my family or friends, they would jump to conclusions about his personality. Do you think he has the potential to hurt me?
— Disturbed in W.V.
Dear Disturbed: You bet. Someone who cannot control his anger could just as easily throw his fist instead of a pillow. Even if he doesn’t intend to hurt you, it would be too late to stop. We’re glad he realizes he has an anger problem, but that’s only the first step. He needs to get help — for his sake as well as yours.
Ask him to talk to his doctor about a referral to someone who deals with anger management, and insist that he make an appointment immediately. If he won’t go, or if you see no improvement within a specified time, you may need to leave the marriage until he can control himself.
Dear Annie: I’m 30 years old, married with two boys. My mother-in-law and I don’t get along. Even if I ask her, she does not want to watch our kids. She makes a big fuss about it and acts like it’s a huge burden. However, she will watch her daughter’s child any time, and this upsets me.
Her favoritism is bad enough, but in the past month, she seems to think it is my responsibility to find a babysitter for her daughter’s child. That’s the last straw. I’ve talked to my husband about it, but he refuses to say anything to his mother.
Should I stand up to her and tell her how I feel, or keep my mouth shut? I’m afraid if I speak up, it will ruin my husband’s relationship with his parents.
— Confused in Pennsylvania
Dear Confused: Parents who treat the grandchildren unequally usually reap what they sow. And it is possible that, no matter how delightful your sons are, two of them may be more than Mom can handle.
Try approaching her with reconciliation in mind. Explain sweetly that your children would like to spend more time with their grandmother (baby-sitting or not). It could lead to a closer relationship. But either way, you are not obligated to find baby-sitters for your sister-in-law — although you might give her the names of some local teens who would appreciate the extra income and then let her handle her own arrangements.
Dear Annie: I read with interest the letter from “Pam,” who hasn’t seen her mother since she went into a nursing home. She said she wanted to remember Mom as she used to be. She said Mom would not know who she was.
My mother also had Alzheimer’s. She may not have known who I was, but I knew who she was. I also knew how much I meant to her in earlier days, and how much she still meant to me. Both my sister and I visited frequently, even though I lived far away.
When Mom died, we had no regrets. To the best of our ability, each of us had done what we could to care, provide and love the mother who loved us through good and bad times in our lives. I echo your advice: “Go see your mother.”
— No Regrets
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