Resorting to physical violence never ‘in fashion’
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Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I lost it when my 19-year-old son started cursing me out, and called me a “big loser!” I slugged him, and he deserved that black eye.
Then he ran to his grandmother’s a few blocks away, big cry-baby. That’s my wife’s mom, who’s more than happy to “keep him forever.” She actually threatened to call the cops, if I came near him.
My wife is not talking to me, all because I disciplined her smart-ass boy. She called it “beating him!” What’s that all about? I only hit him once, and he deserved a real beating, for talking back to his father.
It wasn’t much of a black eye. Call me old-fashioned but I got worse from my old man when I lived at home, for free, and ate all the groceries. Obviously, my wife doesn’t respect me as head of the household.
This family is not acting like the family I knew. I grew up in a Christian home in the country, where we respected our parents, right or wrong.
My wife is a modern woman with her own job and money. What does she need me for? At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if she ran to her mother too.
Should I just let her go? I have no family in town and I hate the city. I don’t think anybody would miss me anyway.
— Old-Fashioned Husband and Father, East Kildonan
Dear Old-Fashioned: This major family row isn’t about “old-fashioned versus modern” disciplinary beliefs. It’s about disrespect expressed verbally by your son, and violent anger physically expressed by you “slugging” him and blackening his eye.
So where does all this leave you? Feeling righteous, but rejected by your wife and son.
Grandma’s place is actually the ideal spot for your son right now. It beats going to a bar for warmth, with little money and no place to safely stay at night.
January is called the “dead“ of winter for a reason. Couch-surfing safely at different friends’ places, but not knowing where you’ll stay the next night is also a scary experience.
You have a big decision to make. First, you’ll need to face the fact this row was a total game-changer, and isn’t simply going to blow over.
Do you want to get counselling around this incident and your family’s destructive way of relating? If so, maybe something good can begin to grow with your son and your wife.
If not, you might want to go back to your home in the country, providing you can find a reasonable job there. You’d feel more at home with the culture, and in time you might be able to find a new relationship that feels more comfortable — after you develop some anger-management skills through counselling.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My new wife has made me her new-year project. She’s younger by 12 years, and not my first wife.
One of her resolutions was to get me wearing proper black socks for work, by buying me a dozen pairs in the same brand. I was born at night, but not last night!
I went out and bought six pairs of bright red socks — not easy to find — and have been wearing them with my suits instead. It’s driving her crazy.
I also have a “spare tire” to lose this year, so my wife put me on a health-food diet and started cooking all these dinners that leave me hungry. So I’ve been stopping at my favourite drive-through for cheeseburgers to eat on the way home, and then I eat her starvation dinners on top of that.
She can’t figure out why I’m not losing am ounce! At what point do I call a halt to her silly campaigns to perfect me?
— Experienced Bridegroom, downtown Winnipeg
Dear Bridegroom: Jokes like this are only funny if they don’t carry on too long. Tell her you love her like crazy and appreciate she’s trying to fine-tune your life to make things better for you, but you don’t want that parental-type dynamic between you.
She won’t like being told this, but if you fess up to your fast-food subterfuge in a lighthearted way (“Ya caught me!”), and pledge to working on healthier eating habits in a less-regimented way, you may ease the tension somewhat.
Please send your questions and comments to email@example.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.
Maureen Scurfield writes the Miss Lonelyhearts advice column.
Updated on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 8:01 AM CST: Fixes byline