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This article was published 20/6/2012 (1771 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My husband is a good guy underneath but he has a tendency to cut people off thinking they will smarten up and then he can allow them back into his life later. This has worked on a couple of siblings. But, then he pulled it with his best friend and his buddy said "Right, I won't be back." My husband is now distraught because his best friend won't come crawling back like his two sisters did, promising to be nice. My husband is 28 and has a lot to learn about human behaviour. His dad's side are cutter-offers too. Some of the brothers don't speak to each other for years, and then it's on again, no explanation. They meet up at a family gathering and start talking again. My guy has seen his dad and uncles all do this. I tried to explain to him that not everyone thinks that way. He keeps trying different bribes to this friend -- email offers of tickets to games and concerts, golf tournaments he'll pay for. It's pathetic to watch. This guy is not biting. What should I advise my husband? -- Watching Him Hurt, St. James
Dear Watching: Tell him his only chance is to apologize and to explain where he got this behaviour and how he has now learned it is the wrong thing to do. The friend may soften, but not if there is no apology, no recognition of the hurt caused and a promise not to do it again. Perhaps you could work on your husband by explaining how he should behave when people close to him disappoint or hurt his feelings. He needs new information desperately. Most people can't get rid of an old belief or behaviour until they can replace it with something that makes better sense or could work for them. They just can't bear to have an empty pigeon hole, no matter how bad the old stuffing is.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I was out driving in the rush hour traffic, worrying about my marriage which is going down the crapper, when this woman pulled out in front of me and I crashed into her bumper. We both got out of our cars and she said, "How stupid can you be? Why don't you look where you're going?" and I went into severe road rage. Another man came along and said I'd have to simmer down or he was calling the police on ME to take me away. I have had enough trouble with the cops, thank you. I threw my information at her and she gave hers to the other guy to hand to me, and we went our separate ways. When I told my wife, all she said was "Too bad he didn't call the cops on you." Isn't she supposed to be on my side?!! Then I blew up at her and she said. "You blow up one more time and I WILL leave you and take the kids. I went to the bar and got hammered. When she got home she was crying and she said, "I love you but you scare me and I am leaving you in a month." What can I do to stop her? -- Love Her So Much, Elmwood
Dear Love Her: Forcefulness and anger isn't working for you, and it's certainly not going to work on your wife. Instead of negotiation or persuasion or sweet talk, you try to force everyone to do what you say or accept your nasty insults. They get their backs up and YOU lose every time. The end result is no one is doing your will or even listening to your words because they are verbal assaults. Promise your wife you will get anger management happening right now. You wrote me on a computer so type in "anger management counselling Winnipeg" and look for several appropriate counselling services and start phoning around. Your work may even pay for a portion or all of it. The counseling will help you in all your relationships -- work, home, children, strangers in traffic. It is the best investment a rage-aholic can make. Don't tell your wife until you have an appointment, and try to make an emergency one for this week.
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