i know what you mean!

the advantage of reading too many “dear Abby” columns

Posted on: January 4, 2007

I passed by vnexpress.net today and saw this letter. The reader responses that this poor woman got made me wanted to climb onto my pedestal and start preaching.

Me backtrack.
1) The letter is about this educated career woman who wants advise on how to handle her post-grad educated husband who is a serious emotional abuser. My understanding of her lettter is that the emotional abuse emerged one day after 4 years of marriage. The man has shown signs of his volatile temper in the past, but one day it seemed like the egg hatched and a monster crawled out. The woman is not used to being treated with disrespect because she comes from an uppermiddle class family and is generally praised among her peers, so the verbal abuse came as a shock to her. From the tone of her letter, she sounds reasonable enough – she does name all the possitive traits that her husband has, and she shows that she has tried to analyze the situation such as trying to see where she went wrong so that she could improve the situation.

2)The majority of the readers who responded to her flag for help responded with excuses for her husband’s abusive behavior. One uses a chinese proverb that I hate the most “Tiên trách kỷ, hậu trách nhân,” blame yourself first before blaming others. Ha’n my foot. However, it’s nice to see that there’s a large minority who advise her to not accept her husband’s abuse.

On my part, I think a lot of time, people (say, Vietnamese people, since I spend the most of my time in search of wisdom in their company) give out advises that sound VERY wise and positive, which might work in some cases, but not all cases. Most of these wise advises are given based on the assumption that ALL people in questions are SANE and reasonable, so these advises seek to trouble shoot and fix the squeeky wheel. Except I have seen a lot of very very fucked up people in my short young life, people who are fucked up for no good reason, what my friend Jim would call “karmic insanity” because there is no factual way to explain why they are so crazy (after you’re through examining family history, upbringing , temperment, etc.). Which is what the husband in this case sounds like to me.

If I were to say anything to this woman, I would suggest :

1) Stick the guy into the hospital for a health check up. He might be in some terminal stage of cancer and not know it. Sometimes a sudden change in personality and behavior might be a flag for physical health.

2) Read up on the subject of Abnormal Psychology. There’s a checklist somewhere in there for you to pinpoint a psycho case that might fit her husband’s profile. If he fits too well, seek professional help for him and herself.

3) If he’s healthy as a horse and does not fit a profile of a psycho according to the checklist, start setting up footages of hidden camera in the house and store copies of them in a safe somewhere. Then confront him with the footages and ask him to explain himself. If he’s sane enough, maybe he can come out of the confrontation a better person. If he’s batshit crazy, then she’ll have enough evidence for divorce and child custody in court.

There’s balance on that list of suggestion methinks. #1 is strickly out of concern for the husband. #2 is about the husband and his family. #3 is all about the wife. That way you can’t say she is not trying to do something for her husband and is just acting out of selfishness.

I’m trying to think things through before offering these advises to her.

In other news, Q called me this morning with the news that she might chuck her plan for obtaining a B.S. in Accounting, but she might, instead, go into Pharmacy. “Dr. Linh” was very in session this morning.


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