Dear Annie: Please explain the difference between a woman who is the victim of verbal abuse and one whose behavior is so annoying that her husband can’t help criticizing her.
My husband has been yelling at me and putting me down for 50 years, but when he’s not angry, he can be quite loving. He says the proof that his bad moods are my fault is that he isn’t angry when I’m not around. I tell him that my friends and family never pick on me, and he says that’s because they’re as nutty as I am.
I’ve always believed I could control the way my husband treats me if I just tried harder, but as soon as I open my mouth, he’s on my case. If I remain silent, he accuses me of pouting. I feel as if I can’t win, no matter what I do. I want to change, but don’t know how. – Tired of Being the Whipping Girl
Dear Tired: The signs of verbal abuse include: a spouse who calls you names; who is critical, sarcastic or mocking in an effort to humiliate or embarrass you; who yells or swears at you; who uses threats to intimidate you; who blames you for his behavior; who dismisses your feelings. From your letter, we easily see three or four of those signs. We don’t know what you want to do about this after 50 years, but we strongly recommend counseling – for you, if not for both of you together. You’ve put up with this abuse much too long.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “N.D. Rose,” the 73-year-old who thought learning new computer skills was too difficult. Next month, I will be 89 years old, and if I didn’t have my computer, I’d be lost. There is only so much knitting one can do.
I use email, place online orders, do most of my banking and bill paying, watch some streaming programs, plus spend a few minutes a day on Facebook keeping in touch with friends from as far back as grade school. – Never Too Old To Learn