Dear Auntie Linda, I am a fourteen year-old girl with parents in a miserable relationship. My father is verbally and emotionally abusive to my mom and us kids. She can’t stand up to him. Frankly, even if she tried, he’d out out-shout and out-argue and overwhelm her with cruel remarks about her family, her habits, any old wrongs, imagined or real. She has no more power in the relationship than the kids do. I’ve begged her to leave him, but she says she can’t take care of us. She even said she’d feel guilty knowing He couldn’t take care of himself. I am not an idiot. I know it would not help me to run away or rebel against him. My mother uses self-pity and self-denigration to keep me under her thumb. “You can’t leave. I wouldn’t have anybody. I can’t get a job. Who would take care of the younger children? Nobody would hire me anyway. I don’t have any skills. I don’t have the clothes to go to work.” Her wailing and misery goes on and on.
I know I have no choice except to tolerate a miserable situation until I graduate high school. I am working like a maniac in school so I can get away from this unhappy situation. Do you have any advice for me. Caught
Dear Caught, This is awful, but it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and understand the situation thoroughly. I don’t know that there is any recourse against being hateful or verbally abusive, but should your father become physically abusive, you could contact the police. As for your mother, you need to shut the conversation down when she starts manipulating you with self-pity. It won’t help her or you. I am glad you have a plan. It sounds like a smart one. Auntie Linda
Dear Auntie, I love my wife dearly. She is an excellent cook but a horrible housekeeper. I love her, but hate having total responsibility for cleaning the house, yard, and doing the laundry. She says it doesn’t bother her living in a mess and refuses to help at all. How can I get her to do better? Messy House
Dear Messy, You may not be able to. If that is your major complaint, maybe you should take over the housework yourself. Maybe you would feel better if she took over another responsibility that you are handling now. Perhaps she could do all the cooking, shopping and bill paying, or some other job you can reallocate. Unfortunately, millions of people are in the situation of getting stuck with all the housework. Auntie Linda