Ask the aunties

Dear Aunties,

I have tried to fix this problem but no yet?  

My husband of 20 years has been a good provider but mean and unwilling to involve himself in children’s activities. For instance, if I ask, ‘Are you coming to watch ?? in her school concert?’ He says, ‘Do I have to?’ So we let him off although I know our daughter is hurt as am I. When we go shopping I place in the trolley what I consider we need but he removes anything he thinks is extravagant like chocolate biscuits?

I have talked to him about both these problems but eventually he will lose his temper, raise his voice to such an extent no one can even think?

So nothing changes!

I tell my children this is abuse but they laugh and think I am exaggerating.

What do you think?


Dear Jan

Any situation where you feel powerless and that feeling has been produced by someone shouting or using words and manner to make you change in any way (whether that change is the buying or not of biscuits) is abuse. Your children are incorrect. It is clear they would rather put up with his outbursts than confront him and that is understandable. They, as his children, are in an even more vulnerable position than you.

We suggest that if you are reasonably content the rest of the time you must confront this man. First, he must show more interest in the children's affairs. You must tell him how you all feel when he goes on like this. If you cannot face him, write a letter telling him that you are drawing a line over which he must not cross or more serious changes will be made. 

Do not tell him what those possible changes could be, not yet. We suggest you have this imaginary line worked out before you send the letter. Perhaps an understanding before you go shopping or perhaps shopping without him? You could tell him that if he begins shouting and screaming you and children have decided to walk out of the house. 

Tell him that he may think he has won the battle but he has not. As the children grow, they will just leave home to get away from him. If possible, post the letter to his workplace, which gives him time to read and digest the information before he comes home. 

The Aunties

The Manning River Times presents a series of letters under the title ‘Ask the aunties’, focusing on potential scenarios that could lead to domestic violence. While the people writing the letters are imaginary, the problems are real for many women.

To seek help, phone 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732); Lifeline 13 11 14 or the police 000.

Some signs of abuse can include: unfairly and regularly accuses her of flirting or being unfaithful; controls how she spends money; decides what she wears or eats; humiliates her in front of other people; monitors what she is doing, including reading her emails and text messages; discourages or prevents her from seeing friends and family; threatens to hurt her, the children or pets; physically assaults her (hitting, biting, slapping, kicking, pushing); yells at her; threatens to use a weapon against her; decides what she uses for birth control; forces her to have an abortion or to continue a pregnancy; constantly compares her with other people; constantly criticises her intelligence, mental health and appearance; prevents her from practising her religion.