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Annie’s Mailbox: Isolation by spouse a form of abuse

Mon., Oct. 8, 2012

Dear Annie: My niece, “Anna,” is married to “Andy.” He is a real loser. Andy was in the military and was discharged early with a supposed disability from a pain in his hip. He refuses to get a job, because he’s “disabled.” Yet he plays football and basketball, roughhouses with his cousins, and spends the rest of his time playing video games and watching TV.

Andy has Anna brainwashed. She is not allowed to have friends or contact her family. He also doesn’t want her to work. Consequently, they don’t pay their bills. His parents do. They give Andy money and enable this behavior. Worse, they put on airs to impress others and trash talk Anna’s family. Meanwhile, Anna’s family provided a home for them with the understanding that the couple would reimburse them down the road. They did this because Anna was expecting, but she subsequently miscarried.

Andy’s family is very dysfunctional. They’ve always cleaned up his messes and made excuses for his behavior. Anna was reared in a loving, normal family atmosphere. I fear that Andy has her so emotionally cowed that she has forgotten her own potential. Do we continue to keep our distance and not interfere, hoping Anna will come to her senses? – Watching Through Tears

Dear Watching: If Andy prevents Anna from getting a job and keeps her isolated from friends and family, it is abuse. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Give Anna the number for the Domestic Violence Hotline ( at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233). You also could call and find out what you can do. But please don’t keep your distance. Anna needs to know she can count on her family to be there when she needs them.

Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@

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