My friend’s husband is verbally abusive. I don’t think he means to be nasty because in general he’s a very nice guy. But when he talks to his wife, or any other female, he is so patronizing, loud and in your face that it’s abusive.
He knows better than anyone about anything and everything. And he needs you to know that he knows better. Sometimes he actually has something interesting to share, but you can’t hear the words through the nasty intonation.
Once I was over there, and she was making a lasagna. It was so full that it started to bubble over. He had a good idea for catching the overflow, but instead of telling her gently, he was yelling loudly at her.
I pretended to get a work call and left.
I don’t know what to do as her friend.
No abuse should be tolerated or accepted, period. But it’s rarely that cut and dried. You could try to ask her in an offhand way if everything was OK with her husband that day you were over. You could casually say he seemed upset about something. Gauge her response. You’ll know what to do.
Also, if he’s ever that rude to you, speak up.
FEEDBACK Regarding the nervous dad and his learning-to-drive daughter (Nov. 14):
Reader – “I taught my wife, my two children and am now teaching my niece to drive all on a vehicle with manual transmission. My wife and sons all got their license on the first attempt. My niece has yet to do her test. Here are a few thoughts that may be helpful:
“1. Get the daughter’s eyesight and hearing tested. If she is on the autism spectrum or has ADD or ADHD she'll not process information the same. She may need longer and possibly a professional with expertise in processing disorder instruction.
“2. The daughter may not be ready regardless of her reaching this age milestone. My sister is a very nervous driver, and this put my niece off of learning to drive. She’s much older than 16 and is only now deciding to take the test.
“3. Learning to drive is like becoming a new parent. There is so much information to process, and some has to be learned by trial and error. Classes help but every parent has learned the limitations of parenting classes. Often the best instruction occurs situationally.
“4. Not all parents are suited to be driving instructors. There is a lot to process and the daughter may be getting too much information too soon in situations she is not ready for.
“5. Nothing is said about the dad taking the daughter out for practice driving sessions. He may not be the best arbiter of how his daughter is driving based on limited observation and second-hand information. The dad may not have noticed, but maybe his wife gets 'white as a ghost nervous’ when he drives.
Experienced at hiding the white knuckles
FEEDBACK On feedback (Nov. 11) regarding the girl who came home from camp changed (Oct. 18):
Reader – “I have never responded regarding a column before but feel absolutely compelled to do so now in support of the recent retired teacher’s comment.
“My heart sank when I read this about the girl who came back from camp with a changed personality. It IS obvious to anyone with any experience in any capacity in this area that she has been sexually abused. To think otherwise is naive. Ignoring this possibility will cause a lifetime of grief for this girl.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the toxic mother-in-law (Nov. 10):
Reader No. 1 – “The daughter-in-law could do more. Every time the mother-in-law complains about the other daughter-in-law, she could make a positive comment like, ‘Oh, I find Jane very loving toward Fred, and she really works hard with her children to teach them right from wrong.'
“If she feels that her mother-in-law is also badmouthing her, she could approach the other daughter-in-law. She could explain that she is in her corner and perhaps they should align, making only positive comments about one another when their mother-in-law goes on her sour, negative rants. If they support one another, the mother-in-law might cut it out. At the very least, they will be trying to do something loving and positive. That's what I would do, anyway.”
Lisi – Great idea! Thanks!
Reader No. 2 – “Maybe investigate early-stage dementia.”
Lisi – Another possibility