DEAR ABBY: "Harold" and I have been married for more than 20 years and have three children ranging in age from teen to toddler. We are both college graduates and held middle-management jobs until recently.
Two years ago, Harold was offered a temporary job in an exotic location in another country. We jumped at the chance. I can't work due to the regulations here, but the money is good.
Now that I'm not working, Harold suddenly believes he has the right to tell me what to do, how to manage daily activities, how to care for the children, etc. When we explore our host country, he loses his temper if I take a photo of something he has already photographed.
At Halloween, we invited some local friends over to share the American tradition of pumpkin carving. He literally took the knife out of my hand and shouldered me out of the way so he could do it. In previous years, he had no interest in this activity -- the children and I carved the pumpkins.
These are just two examples, but the scrutiny is daily and relentless. I am instructed how to do the laundry, wash dishes, clean the stove, on and on.
How do I deal with this new controlling behavior? If I address it when it happens, he becomes nasty. I have tried discussing his overall change in attitude, but he says I am "imagining" it. If I ignore his "suggestions," it results in angry outbursts.
I don't know how to get through to him that I'm the same competent individual I was before we made this change and that I do not need micromanaging. Any advice is welcome. -- JUST ABOUT HAD IT
DEAR JUST ABOUT HAD IT: Your husband may be stressed in his new job and no longer feel in control, which is why he is attempting to control you. Or, because he is now the sole wage earner, he may feel "entitled" to dictate your every move. If you are now living in a male-dominated culture where women have no rights, his thinking may be influenced by the men around him.
If marriage counseling is available, I urge you to get some. If that's not possible, perhaps a long vacation for you and the children with your family would defuse the tension.
DEAR ABBY: My son recently committed suicide. He was only 24. Two weeks before his death, he confided to a family member that he had been molested by his uncle when he was between the ages of 4 and 7.
I want this uncle to be exposed, but the family wants to keep it "quiet and in the family." I am very much of the opinion that this molestation could be behind my son's suicide. The uncle is now in his 30s and would have been in his teens when this happened. Please tell me what I should do. -- SUFFERING IN OHIO
DEAR SUFFERING: Because you are suffering, it is important that you talk with a therapist if you haven't already. While early trauma may have played a part in your son's death, suicide is a complex act that is not completely understood.
What is clear is that what this uncle did while in his teens was predatory. Others in the family -- and the community -- should be made aware so their children can be protected, because they may be at risk. The therapist can help you decide how to deal with this, so please don't wait.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
- Family & Relationships
- DEAR ABBY