DEAR ABBY: I have been married for three years. My husband and I have talked about counseling, but I am afraid we are beyond counseling. Please help me!
My husband says that I do not communicate well with him about my feelings. I agree that it is an area in which I could improve. My problem is his method of finding out my true feelings. My husband taps our home telephone line. What upsets me the most is not that he records the conversations -- but he keeps the tapes and uses them to hurt other people and ruin my friendships. A friendship of 15 years has just ended because of his "taped sessions."
His most recent escapade has cost me a friend of almost two years, her job and possibly mine. It doesn't even stop there, but you wouldn't have enough time to read about the friends I've lost and the problems we've encountered.
I care for my husband and understand that he feels I don't communicate well enough with him -- but I still think that he has gone entirely too far. What should I do? -- MRS. H. IN NEW ORLEANS
DEAR MRS. H: Taping telephone conversations without the consent of both parties is against the law in some states, in case your husband doesn't know it. And using what he has heard on the tapes to "hurt" the friends who have confided in you is unconscionable.
Perhaps if your husband were not so overbearing, it would be easier for you to open up to him. And although he thinks you have a problem with communication, I have read your letter and you communicate very well. Do not accept his excuse that your difficulty with communication is the reason for his behavior.
His need to control you, and to drive away anyone who might befriend you, is neither normal nor healthy, and is one of the traits of an abuser. It is far more serious than the problem of which he accused you. Marriage counseling for both of you would be a giant step in the right direction.