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Bad childhood no license to abuse

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: I’ve known my husband for 16 years, and we have been married for the past seven. He is basically a good man, but he has an awful temper and is also an addict.

I’ve been patient with him because of the terrible childhood he had (his mom died when he was a toddler), so the problem with addiction is understandable. He cleaned up a few years ago, and things were great until he relapsed. With his temper on top of the addiction, he can be verbally abusive. He says the most awful things about my family and me, and sometimes he does it in front of my children.

If I even mention that he has a problem, we end up arguing. He’s often in a bad mood. My youngest son has health problems, and I had to quit my job a couple of years ago, so now there is also the stress of financial hardship. I try not to fight in front of the kids and sometimes end up crying myself to sleep. I want to keep my family together but don’t know how much more I can take. – Hurt and Confused

Dear Hurt: You need to stop making excuses for your husband’s temper and his inability to remain sober. A lot of people have had rotten childhoods, but they don’t end up as addicts and abusers. Tell your husband the marriage is in trouble. You can find low-cost or free counseling through your clergyperson, United Way, the YMCA, local hospitals, university psychology departments and graduate school counseling departments, the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (, 9504A Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031-2303, and the American Counseling Association ( at (800) 347-6647. Get going.

Happy Kwanzaa to all our readers.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailboxcomcast .net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
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