My siblings and I are concerned for our younger sister, married 10 years to a controlling man.
She’s the main breadwinner, expected to do all the housework though he doesn’t work.
He answers their phone and decides if she can or cannot speak. Our conversations are always on speakerphone and he makes comments.
He controls who her friends are.
He’s told lies pitting siblings, spouses, nieces, and nephews against one another. She believes everything he says, even if the “lie” is revealed.
Lately, she’s refused to discuss problems with her husband and instead is now not talking to us.
If at all possible, one of you – perhaps whomever she’s been closest to at some time – should meet her unexpectedly, away from the house and him.
There may have to be an excuse – e.g. being “in the neighbourhood” (or her city if she lives elsewhere) – and wanted to connect.
That may be the only chance for a real conversation. Someone needs to see how she looks, behaves, and reacts to considering a safe plan to get away from his controls and isolation.
But if there’s no other way to reach her, then be clear in all conversations that her siblings care about her, want to know that she’s okay, and will be there for her if needed.
I've been doing some research, am reasonably certain of my sexuality and until recently was certain of my gender, too.
I've always been pretty tomboyish, but then last week I started thinking that mentally, I'm gender-fluid.
I’m more comfortable with certain aspects of being a woman one day, then other times I hate all of it.
I'm not sure if that's gender fluidity, but I think I'd be so much more comfortable if I could choose which gender I wanted to be at any given time.
The problem is, my body is very female (wide hips, large rack for my age) and I don't know how to help that.
My voice is very high-pitched, as well. I don’t want voice lessons, but I can't see any other way. Can you help?
We need to start with a common definition of gender fluidity:
The Urban Dictionary version - “Gender Fluid is a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl.
“A person who is Gender Fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more boy some days, and more girl other days.
“Being Gender Fluid has nothing to do with which set of genitalia one has, nor their sexual orientation.”
And the Merriam-Webster Dictionary version - “…of, relating to, or being a person whose gender identity is not fixed.”
Your considerations about yourself seem normally curious in a time of greater awareness of gender diversity.
Doing research and asking questions expands your knowledge of others as well as yourself, but doesn’t mean you have to make a firm and dramatic choice immediately.
Since you sound young, know that many females find, like you, that some approaches to “being a woman” become less suited to the full scope of their personalities and interests.
Yet, as self-confidence grows, your own definition of what you can do, learn, work at, wear, etc. also grows and changes, whether within a female or male identity.
However, if a male identity emerges stronger over time, that’s when to consider whether physical changes are desired/needed.
Don’t let healthy curiosity overwhelm you. Consider getting counselling if depression persists.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man, early-60s, wanting to date a woman ten years younger (August 8):
Reader – “He should date someone his own age!
“Why do men think all woman want a guy ten years older than them? Some women are stuck doing it, or some decide they want to for financial reasons.
“But, given a choice, we want someone our own age, not an old guy who's looking for "a nurse or a purse."
“Women live longer.
“For the most part we take better care of ourselves.
“I go on a website and see a guy who’s 65 (my age). He has absolutely no redeeming qualities yet his list of what he wants is long, and includes a maximum age of 45!
“I'm not bitter. I’ve met some lovely men and I'm happily dating. I just avoid these frogs who think they're princes.”
Ellie – They know each other and already chat. He’s not choosing her “age.”
Tip of the day:
When someone’s being controlled and isolated, offer support and help to plan a safe solution.