Loading...
Bless the heart of Bill Redding, who stood up at the public hearing on rezoning lots for parking spaces east of ECU...

Best friend from college has turned into a mean wife

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax

Loading…

Carolyn Hax

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Q My best friend from college is one of the most honest and loyal people you could ever meet. She’s an amazing attorney, a devoted mom, a very good friend and a really mean wife. She and her husband are visiting me right now and it’s painful to hear the scathing tone she uses with her husband and the constant stream of criticism and orders she directs at him. It seems to be all about control and putting him down, right in front of me and my partner. Her husband is annoying and has his own faults, but no one deserves to be treated this way.

I love my friend but this has concerned me for a long time; they’ve been married four years. I’m convinced that if I bring it up I will hurt her and risk the relationship. But it also feels wrong to be a silent witness — and if I can’t talk to her about this, who will? What should I do, and how should I do it? — Conflict-Averse but Concerned Friend

A You’ve answered half of your own question (thank you, by the way):

If you can’t say something, then who will?

“Best” friend means you voice your concern — and you make it about her. Take a walk with her alone and get to it: “I’m worried about you. You’re one of the best people I know, yet you’re so openly rough on Husband that it’s almost like you’re possessed by someone else. Are you OK? Is there anything I can do?”

If she’s under stress and dumping it all on him, which is what your description suggests and is also quite common — though it’s abuse, make no mistake — then compassion is your best chance of coaxing her out of this angry, defensive place.

You may still hurt her and the friendship, of course. However, turning a blind eye to abuse just to preserve your comfort zone is not a choice that withstands moral scrutiny.

Even if you weren’t close but still haven’t distanced yourself — if, say, you were a colleague or neighbor or some other acquaintance of proximity with limited options for walking away, or if you believed there was enough good in her to give her a chance — then you’d still have a bystander’s obligation to come forward. Saying something light in the moment, like, “Wow, tell us how you really feel,” can both break the tension and send the message that her tone has crossed a line.

It can help just to be openly nice to a victim, too (especially true with kids). “Here, let me help you with that,” or, “Tell me about your new job.” Cast your lot with humanity.

If this all seems frustratingly careful, that’s because it is. Abusers use isolation to their advantage, so while there’s always a point where principle demands cutting ties, there’s value in walking a line until then, one that keeps you involved without enabling.

Plus, people in the gray area between mensch and monster — the ones with histories of warmth and decency who have lately veered into anger — need more loving people in their lives, not fewer. More people to help carry what’s weighing them down. At least give her this chance to recall the person you’ve known her to be.

Email Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

August 13, 2018

Library events

Sheppard Memorial Library, 530 Evans St., will host the following events. Call Call 329-458.

■ Movie matinee, 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

■ Board games family program, 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

■ Bedtime story hour, 7 p.m. Thursday.

■ Baby and Me Story Hour, ages 18 months and younger,…

August 13, 2018

Pitt County Schools

Pitt County Schools' first day of school is Aug. 27. An open house will be held Aug. 23.

The schedule for open house is:

Elementary schools, 4-6:30 p.m.

K-8 schools and middle schools, 5-7:30 p.m.

High schools, 6-8:30 p.m.

St. Peter

A pre-kindergarten and kindergarten open house…

August 13, 2018

Several Pitt County 4-Her’s were among students honored during last month's State 4-H Congress in Raleigh.

This year’s 4-H Congress had more than 500 youth and their adult leaders participating in activities including oral presentations, leadership and citizenship workshops, state and…

081318rc4h

August 13, 2018

Chicod School’s Fiona Hollard was recognized by the Pitt County Board of Education at its Aug. 6 meeting for her selection to the Junior Eastern Regional Orchestra.

This is the highest honor for middle school orchestra, Daniel Walker, Chicod’s band and orchestra director, told the…

0808-SchBrd1.JPG

August 12, 2018

Q I am stepfather to my wife’s only child, age 8, from her first marriage. My wife always and in every way puts her son before our marriage. We went through counseling several years ago and things got better for a while, but then began slipping back into child-comes-first mode. Believe me, we…

JohnRosemondGDR_177.jpg

August 12, 2018

Q I am a white atheist (raised Catholic), long-term dating a Pakistani-American agnostic (raised Muslim). In general, there is cultural pressure for Pakistani people to marry other Pakistanis, or at least within the faith, with no American-style dating allowed. Many mixed-faith relationships take…

Carolyn Hax

August 12, 2018

Bobby Dixon considers it a compliment when he takes one of his boats to the coast or to the Pamlico River and someone asks, “What year is it?”

A misguided compliment, but still flattering.

A better question would be “What years?” That’s because, for Dixon, boats are…

080518dixonboat-2.jpg

August 12, 2018

IT’S NOT YOUR PARTY

Dear Short Answers: A very good friend is getting married in September. I just had a baby in June and she has said very clearly “no babies” at the wedding. My baby will be only 3 months old, and I don’t think this is fair! (I’m nursing.) What…

Short Answers

August 11, 2018

Botanists tend to be rather easy-going people, usually. They enjoy being outdoors on field trips and seeing interesting plants … and some botanists are known for an occasional and perhaps unusual sense of humor. My own long-suffering students, over the years, have been subjected, by me, to a…

081118mysteryplant

August 10, 2018

TODAY

‘Title of Show’

Whirligig Stage, 628 S. Pitt St., will present “Title of Show” at 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday and Aug. 17-18. Additional performances will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, and matinee performances will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 19. Tony…

081417DoggiePoolParty-1.jpg
262 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 27
        Next Page»   Last Page»