DEAR ABBY: My husband inherited a nasty habit from his mother. He calls people “crazy” to discredit them so he can win arguments and stifle discussion. I have told him it’s lazy to pass judgment on someone that way. It also shows the world how ignorant he is, because he thinks he’ll win every argument by playing the crazy card – a personal attack.
I think it’s immature and immoral to take advantage of others’ bias against mental health issues. He has done it to me in front of people. I have said, “You wish!” right back at him. It has reached the point that I think he’s character deficient.
His misogyny is exhausting to fight. His mother is even worse. She throws in her armchair diagnosis, which is always “schizophrenia.” My husband’s argument is an emotional one and too pervasive to enjoy time with him. Any idea how I can fight these below-the-belt punches? – Definitely Not “Crazy”
DEAR DEFINITELY NOT: That shouldn’t be too hard. When your husband acts this way, don’t engage with him. Ignore his comments, leave the room or the house. Spend less time with him and no time with his mother. And while you’re doing that, ask yourself why you tolerate the disrespect you’re receiving from both of them.
DEAR ABBY: My brother is old enough to work on the farm, but he refuses. He goes to school, comes back angry and doesn’t like to be told what to do. Everyone has to work except him. We have tried time and time again to get him to help out. We appease him, but he only gets worse. How can we get him to develop good work ethics? It hurts when we ask him to do something and he gets angry and starts swearing. All we want is for him to help out. – Good Worker in Minnesota
DEAR WORKER: I wish you had been clearer about who “we” is. If it’s you and your siblings, there isn’t much you can do to teach your brother the lessons he needs to learn. However, if it’s your parents you are referring to, there is plenty they can do to set rules and enforce them while their son lives under their roof. Hint: It involves rewards for good behavior and consequences if he is disrespectful and noncompliant.
DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I were dating, he introduced me to the sport of cycling. Before that, it had just been a means of transportation. A few years of training later, it turns out I’m actually pretty good at it. I have been on the podium three times this year, but he has not. He is definitely jealous. Should I stop competing? – Bicycle Gal in Michigan
DEAR BICYCLE GAL: A man who loves his wife wants to be the wind beneath her wings, not an anchor around her ankles. You should not have to give up something at which you excel in order to salve your husband’s childish ego. Rather than give you heartburn for your success, he should be praising you for your progress. Shame on him.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.