Man uses wife’s problems at work against her at home

My husband tends to fight dirty, and I don’t know how much more I can take.

Dear Abby: My husband tends to fight dirty, and I don’t know how much more I can take. If we argue about some issue between us, he’ll say something along the lines of, “This is why you have so much trouble with your colleagues at work.” He knows this is a touchy subject, and it upsets me. I have ongoing issues with two work colleagues who give me the silent treatment for months over perceived (but not intentional) slights, and it causes me a lot of social isolation and anguish.

I’m upset that he brings this up when we argue to validate his point of view. Of course, this escalates our fights and eventually he apologizes. However, I know the next disagreement we have he’ll resort to similar tactics.

We have tried counseling, but it’s tough to fit into our busy schedules, and it never stopped him from resorting to personal attacks of character during our fights. I don’t know what to do anymore. I want to forgive him, but I don’t see the point since his apologies don’t mean anything. Is there anything left for us to try before I throw in the towel?

Too Tired to Fight

Dear Too Tired: As I see it, you have two issues to deal with. You have two “colleagues” at work who have ganged up on you and are creating a hostile work environment by giving you the silent treatment. They don’t have to love you, but they do have to work cooperatively with you, which they aren’t doing. You should report it to human resources or your boss, so it can be dealt with in a professional manner.

As to your husband and what he’s been doing on the home front, tell him he has a choice — MAKE the time to work with a counselor and learn to fight fair or you will consult a lawyer about ending the marriage.

Dear Abby: I recently became friendly with a couple who lost their 40-year-old son six months ago. We have grown close over the last several months.

The issue is, as they are mourning the passing of their child, they have turned their home into a shrine. There are pictures of him in every room, etc. I know everyone handles grief differently, but this seems excessive, if not a little creepy.

I suggested they see a therapist, which they did, but only a couple of times. Believe it or not, they were told they were on the right track! Do you have any suggestions?

Finds It Depressing

In Indiana

Dear Finds: I sure do! Stop judging that couple and expecting them to get over the loss of their child on your timetable. Their therapist has told them they are on the right track, and if you are going to continue to be a supportive friend, you must abandon your preconceptions about how they should deal with their loss. Be supportive. Listen when they need to talk. And when you can, give them positive messages that may lighten their load.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.