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ANNIE’S MAILBOX: Husband won’t let go of grudges

Monday, May 31, 2010

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: I have been married for 35 years to a man who, at any moment, will bring up things from our past that are very hurtful to me. And he knows exactly what he is doing.

Two weeks ago, he threw something in my face that goes back to before we were married. He had loaned me a small amount of money — less than $100. I guess I never paid him back. I had totally forgotten about it and couldn’t believe he remembered — and apparently is still upset about it.

His continual badgering has left me feeling like a knife is being stuck in my heart. He knows how I feel about this. The only time he stops is if I start to cry.

Hurt in the Midwest

Dear Hurt: Has your husband always been like this, or is it a fairly recent development? The fact that he hangs on to these grudges and uses them to make you cry is a form of bullying and an effort to exert control. If this reflects a change in his personality within the past few years, he may have a neurological problem that requires medical attention. Unfortunately, if it goes back 35 years, it will be difficult to modify his behavior, especially if he isn’t willing. It is not, however, impossible. Get some counseling — on your own if he won’t go with you — and learn how to respond in a more productive way.

Dear Annie: Why do people feel the need to offer advice that is unsolicited and unwanted? Isn’t that completely out of line?

A friend of mine sends me e-mails telling me that nearly everything I do is wrong. I have not asked this person for their opinion. I am not hurting or offending anyone, and I do not welcome the criticism or want her input.

If someone asks for advice or an opinion, it is OK to give it. Otherwise, please tell people to tread lightly.

Fort Wayne, Ind.

Dear Indiana: Being in the advice business, we know how useless it is to direct our suggestions to someone who hasn’t asked for our help. Unsolicited advice often is resented. There is no reason you cannot delete this person’s e-mails unread or, at the very least, not respond to the parts that are insulting.

Dear Annie: You were way off base in your response to “Devastated and Frustrated,” whose son and daughter-in-law didn’t invite her to her grandchild’s birthday party because the ex-husband and his fifth wife were there.

That woman has a right to see her blood-related offspring. That daughter-in-law needs to learn her place, and that is to respect her son’s grandmother. That fifth wife has no business being at a birthday party. You should have told her how to access her grandparents’ rights.

Angry in Connecticut

Dear Angry: Grandparents’ rights are not recognized in every state, and there are often restrictions. The fact that “Devastated” ought to be able to see her grandchildren doesn’t mean she will. We’ll say it again: The best way to resolve the problem is for Mom to find a way to get along with her daughter-in-law.

E-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

Creators Syndicate

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