Wife of hypercritical husband must create her own space

DEAR ABBY: My husband is extremely critical of others. He almost never has anything nice to say about anyone. He badmouths his co-workers, friends, family members and strangers. We don’t have friends anymore because he doesn’t want to be around them. I don’t understand his type of personality.

He thinks his way of thinking and doing things is the only right way and everyone else is wrong. He’s always quick to shift the blame when something goes awry. If he accidentally bumps into someone or breaks something, it’s never his fault — the person was in his way, or the broken object was junk, etc.

What makes people this way? Is there any hope that he can change? We are nearing retirement age, and I need my space. I cannot be his everything. — REACHED THE LIMIT IN INDIANA

DEAR REACHED: It appears you married a self-entitled misanthrope. Not knowing him, I can’t guess why your husband is this way. Change is possible in anyone, IF the person recognizes the need for it and wants to change. From your description, he must be a heavy load to carry, and I doubt he will admit the need.

If you want to continue this marriage and save your sanity after he retires, you must create separate time, hobbies and relationships for yourself apart from him, and be prepared in advance for the fact that he won’t like it one bit.

******

DEAR ABBY: Kudos to you for your advice to “Willing to Do It in West Virginia” (Dec. 10), who asked for advice regarding temporarily adopting her son “Kevin’s” dog while he was away on deployment, which her husband did not want to do. The husband felt that Kevin getting the dog in the first place was a mistake and her son should “learn his lesson.” You advised that they should temporarily take the dog, since there was no way of knowing what might happen during his deployment.

Giving the dog to a shelter would have a high probability of being a death sentence. That’s not humane when there are viable alternatives, and the situation is no fault of the dog’s. An alternative would be to contact Dogs on Deployment (dogsondeployment.org), a national nonprofit that provides an online network that connects service members with volunteers willing to board their pets during their service commitments.

Dogs on Deployment promotes responsible, lifelong pet ownership by advocating for military pet owner rights, providing educational resources, and granting financial assistance for military pet owners during times of emergency. — JENNIFER IN SAN DIEGO

DEAR JENNIFER: Thank you for the information. Other Dear Abby readers mentioned that returning soldiers may have witnessed traumatic things during deployment and, once they return home, need the unconditional love an animal companion provides. Along with Dogs on Deployment, other organizations that may be helpful to military families include PACT for Animals, Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet or the local SPCA.

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