DEAR ABBY: I have been with "Jack" for three years. When we started out, I fell head over heels in love with him. Then he lost his job and his personality changed. He was at home with the kids and I worked, but he became really resentful and cranky about my working. He stays in a bad mood and loses his temper over the least little thing. He always apologizes, but the pattern never changes.
It has been almost three years since he worked a steady job. If he found one he didn't like, he would call in sick or go in late. If our children get sick, he accuses me of putting my job first. Abby, I get him everything he wants. When he mentions something that he likes, I make sure he gets it. I have always put my children and him before myself.
He says he's always in a bad mood because he's always in the house. I'm tired of being yelled at every day. I'm also tired of his verbally abusing the children. They are more surprised not to get yelled at than when they do. We have been married a year and a half. He curses at me at the drop of a hat. He's never physical -- just verbal.
I have never told this to anyone other than you. If I say anything to him, he gets angry and asks if I want him to leave. Can you help me? -- HURT IN MICHIGAN
DEAR HURT: Your husband may be clinically depressed, or he may simply be a lazy, verbal abuser. The quickest way to find out what's ailing him would be to get him to see a doctor for a physical examination and a frank talk. If his problem is depression, he can be helped back to a more productive and happier life through medication and therapy.
However, if it turns out that your husband is just a freeloader who exerts control by constantly putting down the people around him, you will have to ask yourself some hard questions. First on your list should be, "Are my children and I better off with him or without him?"