Everybody praises my “nice” husband. However, my mother hates him; she thinks he’s mean and bad.
She’s very controlling; never wanted my brother or me to get married. So I never share my feelings with her.
My husband’s different at home - very demanding, critical of everything I do or say. He criticizes the kids so much, too.
I love him, but he only cares about how others see him. He treats his friends and his own family with tact, politeness, and forgiveness.
But he treats me and our kids like we’re always making mistakes, or too ignorant to express our opinions, though he undoubtedly loves us.
I have no one to tell the truth. I’ve tried therapy and taken depression drugs, all useless. When my mother annoys me, I think about how lonely I am.
You’re muddling together two painful but separate issues, obstructing your ability to deal with either one.
Your husband is the present life that you need to focus on. For your sake and that of your kids, you need to straighten your spine and speak up.
His constant criticism is insulting and demeaning to all and feeds his children discouragement when they need the opposite.
Your mother is your past. If contact with her is too difficult, limit it to what’s only necessary. When she badmouths your husband, tell her she’s crossing the line, and change the subject. Hang up or ask her to leave if she persists.
Then get to counselling. This time, probe why you let her carry on, and why you let him treat you the same way. His criticism is as “controlling” as your mother’s.
Turn to yourself and a professional therapist as your support. These are deep hurts from past and present. Therapy can help you, if you let that happen.
We have three children, all single in their 30s (two sons, one daughter).
Our sons live together, but one, aged 32, is our only unemployed child. He’s become increasingly quiet, and shy.
Most of his friends are busy in relationships or married. He has no girlfriend or job.
He doesn’t admit that he’s depressed and hasn't consulted a doctor. He says a doctor will think he’s crazy.
I think he lacks the courage and social skills to move himself forward.
I sent him to another country to complete his high school degree. In university, he wasted two years. He changed schools on my threat to end his education, and completed his degree.
In two years, he found one job, but quit. He thinks people are watching him.
He created a “home office,” then didn’t go outside for a whole week.
He’s studying for some examination but he’s not good at academics, and should spend his time seeking work.
We want him to stand up on his own feet and enjoy life. His sense of hopelessness makes us feel sick. His doctor has said he’ll talk with him and me.
He urgently needs a health check and doctor’s diagnosis.
Tell him that he’s not at all “crazy” but that chemical or other internal changes are isolating him, making him anxious, even fearful.
If necessary, intervene with his brother’s help and insist together that you both accompany him to his doctor (one who’s experienced with potential mental health issues).
Getting a job is NOT the priority; getting him healthy is, and then – with medication or other treatment - helping him get career counselling and motivation.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who started dating someone who likes to drink and only socialized with her along with his drinking friends in bars (Oct. 30):
Reader – “I also met someone online who initially seemed okay. We were very attracted to one another.
“We had a one-year relationship, in which he introduced me to his entire family after only two months.
“However, I saw a pattern of his staying home and drinking, with no outside activities except going to restaurants or bars to meet up with his family, or the few friends that he had.
“He liked to stay home every night, and wouldn’t see me because he didn’t want to drive. And, he was also hooked on porn.
“The breakthrough came when I noticed he was having beer for breakfast. When questioned, he replied it was his protein. I ran.
“No one changes, unless they want to.”
Tip of the day:
When you keep getting the same shabby treatment, talk to a professional about why you accept it.