DEAR ABBY: I read with interest the letter in your column from "I'd Rather Be Alone." I agree with what you and she said, but I was disappointed that you let her get away with saying there are far too many verbally abusive HUSBANDS out there. Out of fairness, there are too many abusive PEOPLE. It is a stereotype to think that only men are abusive.
I was in a verbally abusive marriage for 11 years. My wife would yell, scream and swear at me in front of our children. When I tried to leave the house, she would block the door with her body and tell me I couldn't leave. She would belittle me, call me names and berate me for things that she had done.
Years of counseling did not help. She was powerless to change her behavior, and I finally had to file for divorce. Please, Abby, it's not always the man who is the abuser. -- ALONE AND RECOVERING IN OREGON
DEAR ALONE AND RECOVERING: If I implied that only males are verbally abusive, I apologize, for that was not my intention. A pattern of verbal abuse is far more serious than an occasional lapse of temper; it's about controlling one's partner. It's intended to drain the victim of confidence, and its volume increases so that the victim is thrown off balance and reeling from emotional battering. If abusive behavior cannot be resolved with therapy, the sensible solution is to end the relationship -- as you did.