Friday, December 15, 2006

Living Hell

Sometimes, for reasons that elude us, we read "Annie's Mailbox," the deeply unhelpful advice column by a couple of random women who apparently had some connection to the late Ann Landers. Why can't I be an advice columnist? It's obviously not exactly taxing work. Anyway, today--or a few days ago--who can keep track of this "linear time" thing, anyway?--we got the following horror show:

Dear Annie: I don't know if I'm the victim or the perpetrator, but I know what I'm doing is really bad. After 33 years of a lousy marriage, I am in so much emotional pain that I've been breaking things and throwing them at my husband, as well as punching, kicking and biting out of sheer frustration.

I am 55 years old and a size 4. In order to stay that small, I have to eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day. When I eat normally, I gain weight quickly -- sometimes as much as a pound a day. I've been to the doctor and have been told I'm fine. Of course, if I reach a size 6, my husband will say, "You could lose a few pounds."

I do feel better thin, but I think it's psychological. I've always been attentive to my appearance, always having little procedures done so I can look younger. That's because my husband married a brunette, but looks at every bottled blonde, young or old. He has also lied to me on several occasions as far back as our first year of marriage, which has made me abnormally jealous and controlling.

It would never occur to my husband to help with dinner or run an errand. He comes home when he feels like it, yet expects dinner to be waiting for him. He totally ignores me. I'm so unhappy, I've developed many health problems.

I can't leave because I don't have a good job or benefits. Most of the time, I want to die, but I'd probably blow that, too. It didn't help that my mother told me I was fat, ugly and stupid my entire life. Do I have good reason to lash out, or am I the problem? -- Trapped in Vermont

We are speechless. Regrettably, Ann's lackeys are not:

Dear Vermont: Justifying your behavior doesn't excuse it. The point is to change those things that are causing you pain, and to stop hurting yourself and others in the process. Your husband sounds like a bully, and you sound abusive, but you are smart enough to understand the underlying motivations, which means you can work on this. Ask your doctor to refer you to a good therapist. You need help.

Yes. Therapy. That will certainly make living with a sociopath much more bearable. Also, it's really cute that the writer is called "abusive"--we don't know the whole story, of course, but still: has a victim ever been more decisively blamed? Fuck you, Annie's Toadies, you callous bitches! It's too bad she didn't write to Dan Savage, who would have, straightforwardly enough, advised her to DTMFA--dump the motherfucker already. Lack of money, it doesn't matter--move in with whatever family members or friends you have, or if you don't have any, try a battered women's shelter or the like. That won't magically solve your body image problems, but it is a necessary first step. Jesus Christ. THERAPY. What is wrong with these women?


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