Sherri Mandell has a Master's degree in Creative Writing and has taught writing at the University of Maryland and Penn State University. She is the author of the book Writers of the Holocaust. She has written articles for the Washington Post. She is married with four children
Lia: You're not a happy person.
Robert (Popping the tab off a can of beer): I'd be happy if you'd leave me alone.
Julie: All of a sudden you have to have a PhD. Isn't a master's degree enough?
I'm afraid you're going to move ahead of me intellectually and professionally.
Daphne: You're never home. You realize that. Your kids are growing up. And you hardly see them.
I miss you. I feel abandoned and alone. I didn't get married to be a widow. I want you to care about me as much as you care about your job.
My wife is angry with me because she thinks that I am too harsh with the kids when I discipline them. When my four year old is out of control, I will hit his behind. If my eight year old is shouting and won't shut up, I might swipe his bottom.
I want the kids to know that I am in charge. I don't think it harms them to be lightly spanked.
But my wife acts like I'm a Nazi war criminal. She says that I need to talk to the kids or send them to time-out. I do send them to time-out, but if they dawdle, I'll hit them. Then they go to time-out.
Please advise me if you think my behavior is out of bounds. And what can I tell my wife so that she will be with me instead of against me?
I never thought I would be a wife who didn't know what her husband was doing. But my husband Alan (we've been married for 11 years) hardly talks to me. Lots of times I only know what's up with him because I hear him talking on the phone to somebody else -- or a friend of his mentions to me something that Alan is doing.
Amy: Take off your boots.
(Tom goes outside and vigorously wipes his boots.) "Satisfied?" (Shows the bottom of his boots)
Amy: Did you pick up the garlic and ginger?
Tom: Oh no. I forgot.
In this classic family triangle, the roles shift between the two people as they take on three different roles: victim, rescuer, and persecutor. In this drama, the couple compete for the preferred status of victim.
Marriage often becomes routine. As the couple raises children, they may feel exhausted, and be less willing to give to each other, support each other and listen to each other with deep caring.
I used to fall in love. It's something I did a lot when I was single. Then I got married. Sure I loved my husband. But I wasn't falling in love. I'd already fallen. I was standing straight up. I could see the sky and the floor and my husband. And you know what? I wasn't too crazy about what I saw. Because what I saw reflected me. If he talked with egg salad in his mouth, I worried that people would think I was a slob too.
Toby and Michael
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