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Dear Abby | June 4, 2019
Escalating violence is signal for wife to leave relationship

Dear Abby: My husband has always had anger issues. Recently, they have progressed from targeting inanimate objects to targeting me.

A few weeks ago, when he got upset, he punched the navigation screen in my car out. Then he proceeded to grab my hair and slammed my head into the car window (it didn’t break, but my head hurt for more than a week).

He apologized later, but I can’t forgive him. Maybe I never will. What’s worse, I haven’t been able to bring myself to leave and don’t really know how to. Is this behavior a deal breaker? – Stuck in Minnesota

Dear Stuck: Yes, this is absolutely a deal breaker. Do not minimize what he did to you. I’m sorry you didn’t go to the emergency room after it happened.

Each time your husband attacks will be worse – increasingly so -- until he maims or kills you. For your safety you must get out of there, and the sooner the better. For directions on how to safely make your exit, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The toll-free phone number to call is 800-799-7233 or visit and a counselor there will direct you.

Dear Abby: My 5-year-old daughter, “Maude,” is afraid of large dogs. In the past, my husband has publicly scolded her when she cowered away from them.

A friend of our family has a dog that Maude is especially hesitant around, and my daughter recently confided that she no longer wants to go over to this friend’s house because of it. She made me promise not to tell her father why. When I told him privately about our conversation, he rolled his eyes and accused our daughter of having a “weak” mentality. Is he being unreasonable or is it just me? – Phrustrated in Philly

Dear Phrustrated: Your daughter doesn’t have a “weak mentality.” She’s afraid of dogs, and possibly with good reason. Find an animal rescue organization or shelter that encourages the public to spend time socializing with the dogs and cats. It may help to get her past her aversion. It has helped other children, and it’s also good for the animals. Give it a try and let me know what happens.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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