Ask Amy: My hypercritical husband treats me like a child

Ask Amy: My hypercritical husband treats me like a child

DEAR AMY: I have been with my husband for 30 years. We are both in our 70s and this is a second marriage for both of us. I was widowed, and he was divorced.

Amy Dickinson Amy Dickinson 

My husband is not an easy person to be with. He treats me like a child and I can’t make any decisions without having to give an “accounting,” whether buying items at the grocery store, reading a certain book or magazine or purchasing personal wear.

He is so hypercritical about everything, none of his siblings talk to him; his adult children don’t talk to him and his grandchildren only call him a couple times a year.

He was an educator and he is always correcting people, even in social gatherings. If a person makes a mistake about something, he will make it his business to correct them.

He also does this with me; it is like I’m always in a classroom.

We don’t do anything for fun and don’t go anywhere. We just stay at home and I am miserable.

I am a “people person” and if I get a phone call, he questions why that person is calling, or he’ll tell me if and when I can call them back.

He doesn’t have any outside activities. I try to get him involved with the neighbors and he criticizes them.

I need some peace of mind.


DEAR TRAPPED: The behavior you describe is extremely controlling. If someone you cared about described being locked into this sort of dynamic, what would you tell them? Would you tell them to stick it out?

You’ve invested a huge chunk of your life in this relationship, but must you stay in it?

Just because your husband treats everyone the way he treats you, it doesn’t make it any more acceptable. You paint a picture of someone who is intent on controlling every aspect of your life, including your friendships.

You are a “people person,” and yet you describe sitting at home and never going out.

Realistically, your husband is unlikely to change. And so — if his attitude and behavior never changes, you need to think about what changes you can make.

You can try to push back, by simply going where you want to go and being active and happy outside of your home.

However, if you find that you being you makes your home life untenable, then you should liberate yourself from your home life.

Counseling could help you to clarify your marriage’s dynamic, as well as your options now.

DEAR AMY: I used to be annoyed about noisy babies on planes.

Then I flew back from China on a plane full of newly adopted orphans.

There were probably 75 babies on that plane, and I’m sure some of them cried, but I didn’t mind a bit.

One of them was my new granddaughter.

Proud Grandma

DEAR PROUD: Now I’m crying.

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Send questions to or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.

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Published at Thu, 03 Nov 2016 13:04:01 +0000

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