Dear Abby: Wife of disabled veteran fights battle over family finances
My husband is a retired military man living with mental illness caused by traumatic brain injury. As a result, he is disabled. We have four children. Over the years he has developed an extreme sense of financial entitlement. Although I am responsible for our finances, I cannot control his spending.
His compulsions include luxury coffee, fast food, and "medical" marijuana, which costs hundreds every month, but he complains when money is tight. Last week, he lashed out and said, "I hate that it all has to go through you," as if I'm the reason we don't have more pocket money.
Money is tight and our children lack the things they need. I always fight for his respect, decency and self-control. I feel frustrated, exhausted and lost. advice please?
– Upset in Arkansas
I wish I could wave a magic wand and make your very real problem go away. Because I can't, you need to step up again and convince your husband that while you're sad that he sees what you do for your family as "controlling," he MUST put your children's needs ahead of his own. By that I mean he should treat "luxury coffee" as a luxury and buy it no more than X times a week, as well as fast food and his "medical" marijuana.
If he needs more pharmaceutical support for his stress he should see his doctor (at the VA I assume). Make it clear that you can't take any more and that you are not the cause of the financial stress. Circumstances are to blame for this, and he can't kick his golden goose any further or he'll kill it.
Mom insists on keeping the window open all year round
My mother, who lives with me, insists on keeping her window open a few inches all year round. While I don't mind that much in the winter knowing she tends to get hot, in the summer we clash because I need the windows and doors closed so I can run the air conditioning at its best. She thinks the open window cools her bedroom and doesn't understand what the problem is with keeping the door closed to the rest of the house.
This problem has caused major arguments because it makes my air conditioner work harder than it needs to, not to mention I have allergies and my doctor told me to leave the air on all summer. This is a ranch style home and the temperature is kept at 70 degrees.
I don't want to argue with her, but I don't feel respected since this is my house and she blatantly disregards my requests. Am I overreacting? Or does she have to be respectful of my home?
— Temperature Rise in Ohio
You don't overreact. Let's get to the basics. Whose house is this? It's yours. When you lived in your mother's house, she made the rules and you had to follow them. If leaving your bedroom windows ajar "makes your air conditioner work harder," then it's probably adding to your electric bill, which is disrespectful, inconsiderate, and bad manners. If she can't adapt, she should share in the extra cost of air conditioning.
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, and founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
This article originally appeared in the Providence Journal: Dear Abby: The wife of a disabled veteran struggles with the family budget
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