My husband of 23 years has always been stern, but never physically abusive.
He’s also very smart, well-spoken, and loves to brag about his children’s smarts and abilities (daughter, 20 and son, 16).
But his issues with our son, building over five years, have now reached a crisis.
He’s controlling, using put-downs and bullying plus his size, to scare my son who decided to not play football.
His father’s in a rage and has texted mean and hateful things to him.
He’ll give us both the silent treatment if I decide anything related to our son without discussing with him. It’s his way or the highway.
It causes us distress and anxiety, and created an unhealthy dynamic between the three of us.
Any breaking of his perceived rules means, to him, that he’s disrespected.
His anger issues started to escalate 10 years ago over a family/business matter. He’s stopped speaking with seven family members due to perceived slights.
I’m concerned that he’ll do the same to us if I ask for a temporary separation.
I also worry that if things worsen, it’ll set up a bad adult relationship with his son.
I saw a counsellor (one visit) but haven’t told him yet, worried it’ll make matters worse. I want to stand up for my son.
You must protect your son and yourself from the irrational behaviour and severe bullying of his father.
Even if your daughter’s being spared, she’s negatively affected by the stress in the home.
The father-son relationship is already at risk
See your counsellor privately, on a crisis basis, so you can make a decision very soon.
Discuss how to alert your husband that he must attend counselling/anger management, too.
And how to help him understand that rage over the boy leaving football isn’t worth destroying his son’s self-worth and inner confidence.
Otherwise, a separation from you and both children may well be your only way for him to realize the seriousness of the situation.
HOWEVER, if you fear he’ll become physically abusive, make a safe plan to leave – perhaps phrased as a vacation for a few weeks with the children.
If it becomes necessary to just get away fast to a safe place, do so privately (use a library’s computer to make arrangements) and leave when he’s out. Be prepared to call police for help.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man’s anger about his “sexless marriage” (June 7):
Reader – “I considered the arithmetic involved between the couple.
“A woman managing a family of three children, plus two parents, would be required to do cooking for five and possible school lunches, cleaning of dishes, floors, furniture, shopping for food, clothing, etc.
“Add minor maintenance, clothing repairs, possible gardening chores, helping with homework, and likely also working – thus also needing to maintain/upgrade job skills. She might also have work tasks to do at home.
“Finances will be needed for future studies after high school for three children.
“I’m wondering about her age and whether menopause might also be a factor in her “shutting down” sex.
“Yet she evidently wanted to lie together with husband – a very low-energy activity. During their initial affair, her energy was higher.
“She wouldn’t then have been involved with heavy domestic chores/household-related tasks.
“We don’t know the husband’s contribution to the household and family maintenance.
“This woman may simply be almost burned out.”
Ellie – A very good mathematical assessment! Unfortunately, the letter-writer omitted his wife’s side, so those details are unknown.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman, 65, and her fiancé, 52, who bought a home together (June 25):
Reader – “This lady should seriously see a lawyer regarding a pre-nuptial agreement.
“In 2007, my common-law spouse and I purchased a home together, with deed and mortgage in both names.
“I gave a $30,000 deposit. My partner contributed nothing.
“When the relationship ended, we both decided to sell the house. When my ex-partner came after me for spousal support (which she was not eligible for as she made more money than me), I saw a good lawyer.
“The first thing I was asked: "Did your real-estate lawyer mention a pre-nuptial agreement to you?"
“I couldn't remember. She said, "That's too bad! For approximately $1,000.00, I could’ve protected your down payment".
“Live and learn! My ex got half of my down payment plus half the equity in the sale of the house.
Tip of the day:
Mental health abuse plus bullying by a parent, can harm a child for life.