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Ask Amy: Husband’s paranoid and erratic behavior scares his wife

4 min

Dear Amy: I believe that my 45-year-old husband is having a midlife crisis, abusing drugs, cheating — or possibly all three.

We have been married for 15 years. He has done meth, weed and huffing, which devastated me. He begged me not to divorce him. I stuck by his side, and he seemed to improve.

Lately, however, he has displayed erratic behavior, control issues, anger, paranoia, sleeping issues, anxiety and ADHD tendencies. He has installed cameras on the front and back of our house — and much more. He also is seeking a second part-time job for the weekends so he doesn’t have to see me at all.

I really am beside myself with what to do. I want to go talk to his mom but feel as if that may be a bad idea, because, although I know she loves me, this is her son. Lately, I fear a bit for my life. I’m scared.

I have brought up divorce two times, and let’s say it didn’t go well. He continues to call me horrible, disrespectful and disgusting names. He wouldn’t be where he is without me — financially or otherwise. I feel disrespected and very hurt.

Does he need counseling?

— Hopeless and Tired Wife

Hopeless: It sounds as if your husband needs rehab. And you need to leave this relationship safely.

Most people understand that some drugs can make users paranoid. Some of those same drugs can actually cause psychosis. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, “the representative drugs that can cause psychosis are amphetamine, scopolamine, ketamine, phencyclidine (PCP), and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).”

Or your husband is abusive, controlling and increasingly paranoid without the use of drugs.

At the risk of alarming you, I must at least alert you to the need to strategize how to leave this relationship safely. Change all of the passwords on your phone and computer. You can use a prepaid phone (or a friend’s) to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233), or check from a safe computer. A counselor can talk to you about developing a safety plan.

It’s vital for you to talk this through with supportive friends or family members; however, I don’t think it’s necessarily wise for you to discuss this with your mother-in-law. She may sincerely love you, but she may also pressure you to stay in an unsafe situation for her son’s sake.

Dear Amy: My son got married seven months ago. It was their decision to have only immediate family attend (eight total guests). They expected no gifts or acknowledgment from other family or friends.

I, however, have had a difficult time understanding why two of my three siblings have not wished them well with even a card. They know that the wedding took place and that it was a very small affair. Yet this was their nephew and godson.

I’ve thought about bringing this up to them, letting them know how much this hurt me. Yet to what gain, because an acknowledgment now would be forced? I thought that, as time went on, I would get over it, yet obviously I have not.

What’s your advice?

— Mother of the Groom

Mother: Your siblings might have congratulated the couple in person, via phone or through a social media posting or message — or a holiday card. Are you certain they have done none of these things?

Because this continues to weigh heavily on you, you should ask your siblings about it. Tell them: “I know the wedding was very small and private, but I hope you’ve taken the opportunity to congratulate them. I have to admit, this has been weighing on my mind.”

And after this prompting, you should absolutely let it go.

Dear Amy: “Without Family” told of marrying a Marine when she was a teenager, moving away and having no contact with her family for many years.

As a woman who also married a Marine, I moved 3,000 miles away the day after my wedding. This woman’s disengagement is beyond my comprehension. There are many ways to stay in touch.

I believe you did a great job responding, but for the sake of young people considering a life associated with the military, this is NOT the cost associated with a career devoted to serving one’s country. We all have choices. Marines live by the motto “Semper Fidelis” — always faithful. This goes beyond the Marine Corps, especially for spouses.

— Joyfully Retired and Still Connected

Still Connected: Perfectly put. Thank you.

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.