Q: My husband is a kind person – or so I’ve always thought – but when he’s frustrated, he says things that are rude, bossy and demeaning. He has a stressful job and I think that at the end of the day he wants to take it out on me or treat me like an employee. I’ve tried to talk to him about it, but he says I should just ignore him if I can tell that he’s in one of his rants. I can’t ignore it, and I don’t think I should have to.
I know that the last thing someone in a demanding job wants to hear is that they need to take on another demanding job – doing some psychological work. But “Let me mistreat you, and you just pretend that I don’t” is simply not an acceptable modus operandi for husband-wife relations.
His behavior has to change, and it will take effort. Pick a quiet time when he’s in a good mood to tell him that the pattern is unsustainable, and you want to work with him to change it. It could be anything from a list of coping strategies (meditation, a walk, working out) to self-help books to a new job to counseling, but he’s got to start somewhere.
Q: A good friend of mine and I both have 10-year-old daughters. We’ve had gatherings and play dates since they were little, about once every other month. The past few times it’s become painfully obvious that our girls don’t connect much anymore. My daughter is into sports and the outdoors, whereas my friend’s daughter is into TV and boys and fashion. I’d rather nip this in the bud before things get awkward, but I don’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings. I value our friendship, but just don’t need it to involve our daughters anymore.
Might she feel the same, or does she just not seem to notice that your daughter is out climbing trees while hers is salivating over Justin Bieber?
A good first step in making your friendship not about your daughters is to, well, make it not about your daughters. Invite your friend out just the two of you, and try to do those outings for a while. If she brings up the change, you can simply say that lately it’s seemed the girls have different interests, and you rather enjoy the one-on-one time without having to worry about everyone else’s compatibility.
Andrea Bonior, a clinical psychologist, is the author of “The Friendship Fix.” www.drandreabonior.com.
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