DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like I’m constantly under attack in my marriage. Whenever my husband calls out my name, I cringe because I expect him to disparage me about something. It could be the littlest thing. Like, if he can’t find something, he sharply calls out my name and speaks in a berating tone, asking where the thing is. If he is talking about something that I don’t know about, he will look at me with his eyes big and wide, suck his teeth and ask how it is possible that I don’t know that thing. Whatever the topic, usually he treats me like I’m stupid if I can’t immediately join the conversation exactly where he is or have the solution to his problem. This may seem small, buy I really don’t know what to do. I am tired of always being under his surveillance. How can I get him to be kind to me? -- Under Fire
DEAR UNDER FIRE: Have you tried to tell him how his tone makes you feel? I know that may seem like a daunting task, but he needs to know that the way he speaks to you is upsetting. You can go one step further and ask him to go to counseling with you. Tell him you love him and want to strengthen your bond. Right now you are feeling very uncomfortable in your relationship. Tell him that you think a professional counselor might be able to help the two of you get back on track.
If he is unwilling, or if this upsets him more, think about removing yourself from this marriage. Do you think that your husband is being verbally abusive? The signs include: condescension, critical comments, blame, threats and accusations, among others. If you are worried that you are stuck in a relationship that is unhealthy, reach out for help. You can call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233. For more information, go to joinonelove.org/learn/11-common-patterns-verbal-abuse/.