Q: My husband and I have been married for 35 years. Every year, he takes a week off to go to another state to play golf. When he returns, he compiles all the photos he has taken onto a disk. He would let me see the photos on the computer after the first couple of golf trips, but on this last one, he refused to show me any.
This is a big red flag for me that he’s doing something more than just golfing. I might add that there is a lot of alcohol consumed, along with hot tub parties at the motel where he stays. I’m interested in what you think might be going on during these trips. — Left Behind in Idaho
A: People don’t usually become secretive unless they have something to hide. Since you asked, I suspect that if he was proud of what went on, he would have shown you the pictures.
Q: I am the mother of four. My children are wonderful, but they really don’t listen. Instead of sitting down and talking to them, I scream and call them names. Then, after they go to sleep, I feel extremely guilty.
My 12-year-old girl struggles in school. I have tried to be calm and help her. But I become easily frustrated and give up. Then I start to scream and tell her she’ll never get it.
I’m afraid I am damaging my child in the long run. How can I control my anger so I can help her succeed? — Angry in El Paso
A: While both involve anger, you are really asking me about two separate issues. Let me first respond to the second one, your inability to help your 12-year-old academically.
As you may already know, not all people absorb information the same way. Some of us are visual learners, others are auditory learners, and some may have a learning disability that requires help from a trained professional. Your daughter may be one of these.
I’m willing to bet that when you scream at her, you are really screaming at yourself because of your frustration at being unable to get through to her. I have a booklet that may help you calm yourself before you get angry with your children. It can be ordered by sending your name and mailing address, plus a check or money order for $7 in U.S. funds, to Dear Abby — Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.
Most adults learn from childhood how to manage their anger. However, it is equally important to learn to express anger in ways that are not destructive. Being in touch enough with your emotions that you can say, “When you do that (or say that), it makes me angry,” can help you calm yourself before you explode, and it will also earn you the respect of others.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.