Dear Abby: My husband is a hard worker, a good provider and a good dad. But heís angry all the time. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. He is aware of it, and always promises me that when this or that settles down, things will get better; but they never do.
When he sees something on TV or reads something in the paper that upsets him, he can say really vile and violent things. Often when he thinks things the kids and I do are not good enough, he borders on being verbally abusive.
His friends say Iím a ďsaintĒ for putting up with him, but lately all I feel is tired and worn down by it. I have spoken to him about this numerous times, and it improves for a few days, then it starts all over. Iím not sure how much longer I can last.
He reads your column, and Iím hoping heíll see this and realize how bad things really are. I have asked him to go to counseling, but he hasnít been willing. Do you think thereís anything I can do besides leaving that will make him see what he is doing to me and the kids?
Ready to Leave
Dear Ready to Leave: Your husband may be a good provider and a hard worker, but I seriously question whether he is as good a dad as you would like to think. Children need their parentsí encouragement and approval, as well as their patience and counsel.
When they are given a constant barrage of angry putdowns from a parent, they begin to internalize it. They think such behavior is normal, which means they will repeat it in their relationships when they are older. Or, they may think they deserve to be treated that way and choose mates who treat them like Dad did. Kids with low self-esteem also tend to choose friends who are like themselves, which can cause even more problems.
There is something you can do besides leave right now. Make an appointment for YOURSELF with a licensed psychotherapist and take the children with you. That way, your husband can foot the bill while all of you get your heads straight and decide if youíre serious about leaving. (Also, he may finally admit he needs help with his anger issues and schedule an appointment for himself.)
Dear Abby: My husband and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this year and I have a question. Weíd love to invite a group of our friends to celebrate with us at our favorite restaurant, but we wonít be able to pick up the tab. Is there a sensitive way to ask friends to celebrate with us, but get across the message that itíll have to be dutch treat?
On a Budget in San Antonio
Dear On A Budget: If these are close or longtime friends, Iím sure they wonít be shocked that youíll be celebrating your 50th ó especially if some of them were at your wedding. I think the best way to approach this would be to be honest. Tell them that as much as youíd like to entertain everybody, you are unable to, but that you would love it if everyone could meet for dinner at your favorite restaurant and go dutch treat. And be sure to mention that although itís your anniversary, the only gift you would like would be their presence at this happy time.
To My Asian Friends: Today marks the first day of the Lunar New Year. Itís the Year of the Horse. The horse is a symbol of traveling, competition and victory. May it be a winning year!
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.