Dear Annie: I have been married for more than 15 years and have two children. Our son has a severe disability, and I stay home to care for him. Annie, I think my husband is a sociopath. People think everything is wonderful, but behind closed doors, he is physically and emotionally abusive to my daughter and me.
Every problem in his life is someone else’s fault – usually mine. His main problem is that I don’t satisfy his sexual desires. He is addicted to Internet porn and expects me to act out his sexual fantasies, which involve bondage and torture. I had no idea he was like this when I married him, and I have no interest in participating in such sick and revolting fetishes.
I don’t have family support, and counseling is out of the question because I don’t have the money. My husband has no respect for me or our family, but he’s so charming, I doubt anyone would believe our situation. From outward appearances, he seems like a dream husband. What should I do? – Married to an Invisible Monster
Dear Married: No one should live with an abuser, especially when children are at risk. Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (ndvh.org) at (800) 799-SAFE (800-799-7233) and ask for help. You also can receive free or low-cost counseling through your clergyperson, university psychology departments, United Way, the YMCA, local hospitals, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (aapc.org) and the American Counseling Association (counseling.org) at (800) 347-6647. Don’t wait.
Dear Annie: Last week I was told by our office manager that the director “doesn’t like your hairstyle and you need to do something with it.” Annie, my hair is growing back from chemo. I was extremely upset by this and went home in tears.
Annie, I could understand if my hair was green or in dreadlocks, but it’s not. Now I’m being told I may lose my job. What do you think? – Trying My Best
Dear Trying: We think your director may be in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act since your hairstyle is a result of chemotherapy treatment. Check with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (eeoc.gov) at 1-800-669-4000. The director’s reaction to your hair seems peculiar and punitive. If she has a boss, we strongly urge you to take this to a higher authority.
Dear Readers: We are carrying on the tradition that April 2 be set aside as Reconciliation Day, a time to make the first move toward mending broken relationships. It also could be the day on which we agree to accept the olive branch extended by a former friend or estranged family member, and do our best to start over.
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