Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
When my husband  and I married, we said  our  vows  that included  "for  richer or poorer, in sickness  and in health, until death do us part." I am now  65  and my husband and I are both retired. We have money  but my husband does not want to give me any  for any reason, including  gas and groceries. I recieve Social Security benefits, but my monthly insurance  payments eat most of  it . My husband  also has accounts at different banks in his name only . If something  happens to him, I couldn't use these accounts  for our household bills . 
My husband is facing  major surgery  soon . Here's the real problem; He wants some distant lady  friend  to be at his surgery. I've never met her. He only contacted  her a couple of months ago  and refuses  to tell me her last name . I don't want this woman here  . She is a stranger to me  and I would be uncomfortable having her around . What should I do ? 
Very Upset Wife 

Dear Wife ,
It sounds  as if  your husband  met this  woman online  and wants a little romance . There is no reason for this woman to be present  during  your husband's surgery . But worse  than  a fling  is the fact that he is keeping income from  you, setting up different accounts  to which you have no access and denying  you money  for  groceries  and gas. Controlling  the money is a form of abuse. Please call Domestic Violence Hotline ( at (800) 799-7233  for information  and resources .

 Dear Maxy,
When my husband  and I recently  visited  his sister, her husband said something  very racist . He recounted  how he had interviewed  a black woman  for a job  for which she  was prefectly qualified, but had declined  to hire her because  he "didn't want to work with black people."
I was shocked  and disgusted by his racist
attitude. I didn't speak up  because I didn't want to be  confrontational, but the incident  has been on my mind  ever since . I wished I had  pointed out  that his attitude is not only racist but also illegal .
I love my sister-in-law, but I am reluctant  to bring my children  into a household  where such bigotry  is acceptable . How do I stand  up against racism without  damaging my relationship  with my sister-in-law?
Principles or Family
Dear Principles,
You don't have  to avoid  your sieter-in-law. You only need  to stand  up for  what's right  in a way that  doesn't alienate her . Should her husband  say  anything  racist  in your  presence, reply calmly "I strongly disagree with your position  and would appreciate it if  you didn't  say such things." Then change the subject . Later  when you have a private  moment with your children, express your views  on the subject and explain why you disagree with "uncle Bob." 
You canot  protect  your  children  from every reprehensible  thing they will see or hear . The best  inoculation  is to  teach them  your values  in a way  that makes sense to them  and will stick.

 Dear Maxy ,
I am a psychologist  and my husband  is a psychiatrist . You give  excellent advice, but there is one area where you could be more helpful .
When people  seek low-cost mental health services  you often print  a list of places  where they may get help . Unfortunately, that list  might not be helpful  in a smaller, more  rural  area. While we have  several  colleges, none have graduate departments  that offer counseling . The YWCA  and YMCA  closed  with the recession  and the local churches  offer pastoral counseling only to their  own congregants .
The main low-cost  mental  health  services  offered in our  community  are through  the  county . This includes individual and family counseling, psychiatry and crisis intervention . We also  have a 24-hour  phone hotline to access  emergency  services . They can  also direct  people  to an outpatient  clinic  at the local hospital .
In addition  , Mental Health America (formerly the Mental Health Association) offers  referrals, classes  and support  groups . If people  are seeking  low-cost  help, please  recommend that they connect  their  local  county  government .
K .J. Goodman , Ph.D.

Dear Dr.  Goodman ,
Consider it  done .
I appreciate  the information   and will  definitely add county services  to the  list .

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