Dear Amy: My husband has always had a creative and witty sense of humor, and we have spent many hours in our decade-long marriage laughing until our eyes water. I love the fact that he has the ability to make people laugh.
Over the past few years, he has gone from poking fun at me in an actual funny way to him just being creatively mean.
One example of his humor: He will pretend he’s limping, dragging his foot behind him and groaning. This started more than two years ago when I was briefly hobbled by a broken foot. Honestly, at this point I don’t think it’s funny.
Another example started when we were playing a trivia game with friends. I blanked on the name of one of my favorite actresses, and ever since then he has called me “Movie Buff [followed by a slur used to insult mentally challenged people].”
Those and other comments he makes about me feel like an attack on my values and personality, and they persist daily, to the point where our children (all under the age of 10) mirror this behavior. Now they seem to feel it is appropriate to joke in the same manner.
He knows this bothers me and continues to poke fun, regardless.
How do I address this issue?
And where does this behavior come from? True teasing fun, or deep-down insecurity?
Not Laughing Anymore
Dear Not Laughing: Nothing about these comments is creative, witty or even classifiable as humor.
I can almost imagine how your husband impersonating you hobbling on your broken foot might have been sort of “cute” at one point, but that point has long passed.
And using a slur directed at you or anyone else is nothing but low-brow cruel bullying. This is not teasing – it is using a verbal taser to disrespect others, wound you and to put you down.
I could speculate that at one point he had been the victim of cruelty, but honestly your self-esteem is more of a concern than his.
You should calmly and privately explain to him that you regret letting this disrespect go on for so long, but that it needs to end. Tell him that this is hurting your feelings, disrespecting you and the children, and setting a terrible example that they are starting to follow. (Always stop and correct the children if they do this.)
Your husband will accuse you of being too sensitive, and may weaponize this sensitivity for another round of his hilarity.
If he doesn’t change the way he treats you on his own, you should pull him into marriage counseling.
I hesitate suggesting that this behavior is a marriage-ender, but you should ask yourself if you want to live with this level of arrogant disrespect long into the future.
Dear Amy: My middle-aged daughter jumps from job to job and asks me at least two to three times a week for money.
I feel sorry for her and give her what she wants, but recently I wasn’t able to send her any money, as I had sent her about $1,100 over the past six weeks. She harassed me to the point that I had to block her from all forms of communication.
She said terrible things about me and my husband on Facebook. And her messages to me were so mean and manipulative.
If this was anybody else, I would have filed a restraining order with the police.
This has affected my health mentally and physically, not to mention the financial hardship.
I now realize that she is only nice to me if I am giving her money.
Is it OK to take a break from your own daughter temporarily or maybe forever if the situation seems hopeless?
Desperate in Florida
Dear Desperate: Yes, it is OK to take a break. This relationship is actually harming you, and so you need to protect yourself by removing access.
Your daughter might have a gambling or drug problem. If you hear from her, other than urging her to get professional help, you should keep your distance.
Dear Amy: I was concerned that one of your recommendations to “Devastated,” who was dealing with his wife’s drunken rages, was to record video when she was at her worst. I think this is very risky, and could lead to more serious problems.
Dear Concerned: This recommendation was passed along by readers, and I agree that it carries risks. But Devastated’s wife did not recognize her own behavior, and seeing herself might be a wake-up call.
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