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Counseling may reveal reason for his tactlessness

Kathy Mitchell Marcy Sugar Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: My mother was murdered seven years ago by an abusive husband. The cause of death was strangulation.

At a recent gathering, my husband and another person were deciding what to do with some wire. My husband was sitting with my family members when he said, “Hmmm, is there someone I want to strangle?” He then held his hands up with the wire as if he were doing just that. None of us said a word.

After my mother died, it took me four years to get my husband to understand that I can’t sit through movies or TV shows where women are murdered. It seems to me he ought to know I am sensitive about this sort of thing, but he tells me he had no idea his little strangulation joke would upset me.

Annie, how hard can it be to remember not to joke about these things in front of me or my family members? It’s not as if he knows dozens of people who have been strangled. And although it doesn’t happen often, this wasn’t the first time he’s made cracks about how to get rid of one’s wife.

I don’t expect the world to tiptoe around me, but this is the man I married, and I am hurt and angry that he makes such jokes. He says I am oversensitive. Is he right? Give your opinion, because mine doesn’t seem to have much impact. – Please Stop It

Dear Stop: People do not routinely make jokes about strangulation, and knowing your history, a considerate person would hesitate if the subject came up. Either your husband is incredibly thoughtless or he purposely is pushing your buttons because he feels hostility toward you or your family. Get some counseling, so the two of you can work out the reasons behind his behavior and see if it can be remedied.

Dear Annie: Please help me climb out of a hole that keeps getting deeper. I am a put-together, dependable, professional guy – except when it comes to my finances. I secretly hold my head in shame because I am in so much debt.

I am in my 40s and barely make ends meet because I’m paying off car and student loans. I feel anxious and depressed, and literally shake when I know a bill or a loan payment is due. I’ll do anything to postpone thinking about my financial situation. This has gotten me into trouble in the past (I filed for bankruptcy and have defaulted on a couple of loans), so my credit rating is poor.

I’m so rich in many areas of my life, but my bank statements don’t show it. Is there anywhere I can get help? – Richly Poor

Dear Richly: Yes. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to pay off student loans and various other debts. The important thing is you are willing to do the work necessary to get out from under. Contact the National Foundation for Consumer Credit ( at (800) 388-2227 for help and information.

Dear Annie: You printed a letter from “City Girl,” who was concerned that her husband and sons weren’t properly putting away ammunition and guns. You told her to insist these things be kept locked up before a tragic accident occurred.

Not long ago, such a tragic accident occurred in my community. A student at my school was shot by his friend. He was just 16. His friend, 17, had gotten his dad’s gun out of a locked safe. Now, a popular, well-liked young man is dead, and the other could spend years in prison.

Annie, it isn’t enough that the cabinets are locked. The keys must be kept with the parents. It is out of pain and desperation that I urge your adult readers to keep their gun cabinet keys in their possession at all times. – High School Student

Dear Student: Thank you for the tragic reminder that accidents happen, and that those who own guns must fully appreciate the dangers.

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