maarmie's musings

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Dear maarmie #2

Dear maarmie,

You criticize's creator for not taking her readers seriously enough, but I didn't see you taking that guy from South Dakota very seriously at all. While his letter to you was ridiculous and he came off like a moronic jerk, you could have taken the time to talk to him about verbal abuse and why he shouldn't be making his wife cry. Your reply to "All Tuckered Out" was no better than Heather telling a critical reader to get laid. Quit being such a hypocrite.

Carlsbad, California

Dear Serious,

You have an excellent point, my friend, and I am not afraid to admit my weakness where moronic jerks from Sturgis are concerned. I wasn't sure if "All Tuckered Out" was expressing a genuine concern or if the letter was, indeed, a hoax. Just as law enforcement officers should treat every complaint as valid, I should treat every letter as valid and respond to it as such - however pissed off it might make me. It might have felt good to rant and rave like a lunatic, but it didn't do my reputation or a crying wife in Sturgis any good if, indeed, the letter is genuine. I also almost passed up a prime opportunity to teach my readers about verbal abuse. Shame on me!

All Tuckered Out: To pinpoint exactly what's going wrong in your marriage, I would need additional information on other aspects of your relationship. Do you both have friendships and interests outside the marriage? Do you both contribute positively to the marriage? Do you both value each others' positive contributions? How do you each contribute negatively? How does the other respond to that negative contribution?

From the little you have shared with me, it seems you have a need to control the relationship and that you seem to insist on treating your wife, a full-grown woman, I'm assuming, like a child. She might not handle situations the way you would handle them, but it's not your place to tell her how to run her life. The two of you are separate people with separate ways of looking at and responding to the world. Those differences should be accepted. I'm not saying offering advice about friends or work is a bad thing. It's ok as long as she asks for it or you ask permission to give it. But ramming advice down your wife's throat, yelling at her for failing to listen to or take your advice and making your wife cry are unacceptable. You might feel immediate gratification, but, in the long run, all your behavior does is drive a wedge between you and your wife and crumble any foundation there was for a good marriage. Your behavior will only breed fear and resentment, not gratitude or love.

Yelling at, nagging, putting down, judging or criticizing someone or talking to that person as if that person is a child are all ways of verbally abusing someone. Verbal abuse is a means of establishing control in a relationship and erodes the self esteem of the person being abused. Over time, it can cause long-term emotional and psychological damage to the person being abused. Verbal abuse in a household can also negatively affect any children who may be witnessing the abuse. I recommend that you and your wife seek counseling as a couple, "All Tuckered Out." A little individual counseling for both of you wouldn't hurt, either.

1 comment:

Annie said...

Verbal and emotional abuse, according to many experts, is, in the long run, more devastating to the welfare of the abused than is physical abuse. Any abuse is devastating to the welfare of the abuser. And for the abuser, even though they feel power in the short term, they come to learn they can't achieve what they really want - respect and appreciation.