Dear Amy: I have been married for nearly 41 years.
From Day One, my husband decided it was OK to criticize my looks and every move I made. According to him, I have never done anything right in my entire life.
I am so sick and tired of the constant abuse. Nothing I do even makes him slow down — he just goes on and on.
He doesn't physically beat me, but emotionally he has beaten me down to nothing.
At one point, he agreed to go to counseling. I made the appointments, but he conveniently stayed late at work.
I don't know how much more of this I can stand. He attacks me, and now I respond by screaming about all the mean things he's done.
There's nothing but anger in me now. I'm ready to blow, and I feel as if I'm losing my mind.
He attacks what I do at home and even what I do at work, although he really knows nothing about my job.
I've been told I'm inept, incompetent, worthless and a burden. The list goes on and on.
Our children are grown and gone, but we do have grandchildren who would be affected if we got a divorce.
And I really don't want a divorce; I just want him to stop constantly belittling me.
Any advice for me?
Dear Worthless: I realize that getting a divorce seems like a painful process, but given what you're going through and what you say you have been through for the entirety of your marriage, leaving your husband will be the only thing to bring you peace.
You must realize by now that you simply cannot make someone change. You cannot make your husband stop belittling you, and the process of trying to get him to stop has transformed you into a screaming, nasty, unhappy person.
If you can't afford a place of your own, stay with a friend or family member for now. Get counseling and legal advice.
Do not use your grandchildren as an excuse to stay in this abusive marriage. Scores of letters to this column have shown me that when lengthy abusive marriages finally end, other family members (including the kids and grandkids) are extremely relieved.
Dear Amy: My single, childless sister-in-law, "Betty," is in her mid-40s.
She stopped talking to my 16-year-old daughter, "Diane," three years ago.
Diane's crime was that after spending a couple of hours talking to her "Aunt Betty," she asked me if she could go do her homework. Betty felt that Diane was being disrespectful in not spending the rest of the visit with her aunt.
Betty is used to holding court during family gatherings. Since then, Betty has given my daughter the silent treatment, including not greeting her when she arrives or leaves.
I have tried to reason with Betty that she is the adult and should rise above it.
My husband shrugs off his sister's behavior because she "has issues" and has always been the family prima donna.
The rest of the family continues to cater to her.
Betty's birthday is coming up, and a family gathering is planned.
I don't feel like making my daughter, who has been hurt by her aunt, attend. How can I mitigate this situation to repair the relationship between Diane and her aunt?
— No Respect
Dear No: If you are attending this family event, you should expect your daughter to go with you. In her life, she will often face uncomfortable situations, and the best she can do is to hold her head up and rise above the discomfort.
"Aunt Betty" sounds like a pill. Even if your daughter really was at fault in some way, three years of shunning is completely ridiculous.
You should also stop trying to repair this relationship. Your daughter has felt her aunt's sting early in life. Your sister-in-law has poisoned what might have been a nice friendship.
You should be polite, neutral and feel sorry for a woman who must be very alone in her manipulations.
Dear Amy: I am a nurse practitioner, and recently a favorite patient gave me a thank-you gift.
The gift was thoughtful and very generous, and she included a card with touching thoughts. Should I send a thank-you note for the thank-you gift?
I'm sorry, but I don't know the rules of etiquette here.
Dear Sarah: A note or a phone call to say you received and appreciate the gift would be nice. This isn't about rules but about expressing your sincere feelings.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun