Thursday, April 02, 2015

Distraction? What Distraction?

Like much of America, I am a regular reader of Dear Abby, and I usually agree with her responses although I consider some of them to be pretty weak and/or Pallyanna-ish. She descended to new depths of “weak tea syndrome” with her advice today to the woman who admits to being an alcoholic and complains about her husband’s criticism of her drinking despite what the writer considers to be his own eating and drinking problems.

She responds that “The more your husband draws attention to your alcohol problem, the less he is forced to confront his own addictions to food and tobacco, and it also serves as a distraction,” and suggests that a “mental health professional may be able to help you understand why you tolerate your husband's behavior.” (emphasis mine) Seriously. She actually said that.

How about, “The way to get your husband to stop criticizing you for your drinking is to stop drinking.” Or maybe, “The reason you husband is critical of you for having a drinking problem is because you have a drinking problem, and his eating and smoking is irrelevant to that issue.” It is not the husband who is using distraction, Abby dear, it is the alcoholic wife. Jeez.

Your problem, dear "Humiliated in Texas," and what is causing you to be humiliated is not your husband's eating and smoking, nor is it your husband's criticism of you; your problem is your drinking.


  1. It was not initially clear to me that she was still drinking. I always thought you could be an alcoholic and not be drinking, or is that a "recovering alcoholic"?

    And her points are still valid, that her husband could be using her (current) or past drinking against her and as a distraction from his poor treatment of her and his other ill habits.

    And yes, she should stop drinking if she is doing so. And I suspect his behavior won't change.

  2. It's equally possible, in fact my experience with alcoholics tells me it's quite likely, that the husband doesn't even have an eating problem and smokes little if at all. Alcoholics will go to great lengths to point the finger at others, including making shit up.

  3. bruce8:31 AM

    Yes, that is true. Should have thought of that. Duh.