Saturday, February 25, 2006
Mrs. Linklater was hoping some battered woman would step up to the plate and consult with an advice giver this week. Well, at least some battered woman's sisters did. Read the heartwarming tale of the abused woman followed by Prudence's by the book reply. Naturally, Mrs. L butts in to save the day. She's like a bulldog with a bone you know.
Posted Thursday, March 24, 2005 Slate Magazine Online
I have two sisters, and we're all in our early 30s. One sister went through a divorce a couple of years ago, and she's dated a few men since. She met someone last year and told us she was in love with him. We all met him, and he seemed very nice; they had a lot in common. She moved in with him a few months later. Not too long after moving in together, they had a huge fight, and he beat her up. . .We since discovered he'd been violent toward her in other situations. She recently decided that she wanted him back and said it didn't matter what we thought. . .We feel we should not have to forgive him for what he did. . .My sister and I never want to see him or be around him. Should we stand by our sister, no matter what her decision? Or should we stand our ground, even if it means losing our relationship with her?
It is always a good idea to keep the lines of communication open—in this case, so that you can be available to help your sister when/if she comes to her senses, hopefully before he hurts her again. Prudie's suggestion is to strongly convey your point of view, and give her some information about battered women and the prognoses of these damaging relationships. By all means, begin a paper trail of his transgressions, and call in the police when necessary. Tolerate the guy in a superficial sense, so that you're not cut off from your sister, and she'll come to you for help.
Mrs. Linklater sticks her butt in like a dumptruck getting ready to unload. Enough of this namby pamby "keep the lines of communication open" CRAP!!!
Big Sis is on the reckless road to OJ Simpson land. And there's no return with that ticket. The time for your empathetic support is OVER!! Here's what Mrs. Linklater would do if this were her sister:
She would purchase a headstone. Yes, she would spend the money and buy a grave marker. You read that right. Then she would put her sister's name on it. Maybe with "Our Beloved Sister" above it and a couple of angels with harps.
Underneath her sister's name, she'd add "BORN" and the date of her sister's birth. When all the lettering was finished, she would drag the marker to her sister's house, put it in the ground, surround it with lots of fake flowers, including one of those huge floral sprays with RIP on it, ring the doorbell, get her sister to come out and say to her, "Hi, Sis. I hear you're back with What's His Name. So I took the liberty of getting your gravestone in advance. You can see I've had your name and the date of your birth put on it. I just need to know when you think he's going to kill you so I can add the date of your DEATH."
Then leave. Boy, will she be pissed. But trust me, she will finally get the message.
Then call her every day, for as long s it takes, to ask her if she knows the date of her death yet. Always use the word, "Death." You might want to ask her what music to play at her funeral. "Do you want the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the service, or should we save them for the burial site?" She probably won't talk to you after awhile, but still leave the message.
Until she gets out, gets help, and gets on with her life without HIM.
For those on a budget, Mrs. Linklater recommends a trip to the Hallmark store and the purchase of several tasteful Sympathy Cards. Then, over lunch with your sister you could bring them out and ask her which ones she likes best. When she inquires whom they are for you just say, "Oh, I'm going to give them to Mom and Dad after HE kills you. Which one do you think they'll like best?
Mrs. Linklater is not kidding. If there's one thing she's learned working with battered women, it's that the longer a woman stays in an abusive relationship the more she becomes deaf to the concerns of her friends. Until he beats her up so bad she almost dies. Or, in fact, she wakes up one day and she's already dead. So you have to do something that makes the point LOUD AND CLEAR.
Mrs. Linklater is nothing if not helpful. In her own special way.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Mrs. Linklater hasn't visited the advice columnists for awhile -- at the request of local law enforcement, but now that she's out on parole, what's the harm in sticking her nose where it ain't wanted while she's waiting for sentencing. Ya know?
ASK AMY -- The Chicago Tribune May 30, 2005
Dear Amy: I am married to a good, kind man who loves me very much. Our children are married, so it is just the two of us. We are in our 50s and in good health. . .He suffers from chronic depression and has been taking antidepressants, which have helped him. . .My husband was abused by clergy when he was a child, and severe depression also runs in his family. Remarkably, he is a kind and thoughtful father and husband, and a successful businessman. . .We are no longer intimate because of the side effects of his medications, but we are still best friends. I'm thankful that he is in my life. . .Do you have any words of encouragement for those of us who know we have chosen the right path and will stay on it, but still have a persistent wistfulness that things could be different? -- Wishing
Dear Wishing: For all of the people who contact me saying they want to leave their marriages because they aren't quite the trip to the moon on gossamer wings they'd expected, I offer up your story, which is one of love and devotion through sickness and health. . .Even those of us without the burdens you face feel a persistent wistfulness that things could be different. Persistent wistfulness goes along with late middle age, and I don't know a person in that stage of life who doesn't feel it. . . I read your letter to Barbara Blaine, an abuse survivor and now president of SNAP. She wants you to know that you and your husband are not alone, and that you could both benefit from meeting with other survivors and spouses. To locate a local meeting, check the SNAP. Web site at www.snapnetwork.org, or call 877-762-7432.
Mrs. Linklater BUTTS IN, shouting and screaming like a woman over fifty who owns cats. [As a reminder, Mrs. L is over sixty and has no pets] YO AMY, YOU SOUND LIKE A BIG BAG OF WIND. Stop with the platitudinous drivel. If the poor man is on medication AND in therapy, BUT he has no interest in sex [the medication is an excuse, trust me] and he's ALWAYS sad, he's still EXTREMELY depressed. Here's a clue to his problem -- the medication and therapy ARE NOT WORKING. And while we're at it, persistent wistfulness does not go along with middle age.
Dating younger men or sporting a combover is a sign of middle age. Wistfulness on the other hand is NOT.
Taking a deep breath and sighing all the time is a symptom of DEPRESSION, not middle age. So his wife is suffering too.
It's time to sound the alarm. With all due respect for SNAP and the services they provide, this kind and gentle man is at risk for suicide. He needs to be completely re-evaluated. He should be put on different and perhaps more powerful medication to start. But even more importantly, what kind of therapy is he getting? Is he doing weekly reports on self help books? Or having one on one sessions with an expert in PTSD? Let's hope he's not wasting away in some kind of once a week group therapy with the "worried well" led by an emphathetic, but undertrained social worker, where he can hide his pain behind his kind and gentle demeanor.
His wife needs a spousal support group for sure, but if something isn't done soon, she'll be in a survivors of suicide group instead. Sorry, Mrs. Linklater gets all wound up sometimes. This time she'll probably get slapped with a REAL restraining order.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Dear Margo: How do you handle a person who constantly disagrees with whatever you say? My mother seems to correct, disagree or play the expert with whomever she's talking. . . in almost every conversation. For example, if I made a comment like "the sky is really blue today," she would reply, "Well, I think it's more violet."
She has done this as long as I can remember, but I never noticed it until she did it to my husband. . . It is so bothersome that we've reduced our visits. I have never confronted her about this habit, as she doesn't take well to criticism. Should I just stand by and ignore it? Should I say something. . .? -- Battered
Dear Bat: If you're old enough to have a husband, my dear, it is safe to say that your mother is too old to undo this habit. . . Accept it and ignore it.
. . .[T]he proper response is silence. There is nothing you could say that would help the situation.
. . . [I[t's kind of sad that she feels the need to always be right.
Since Mrs. Linklater is a self proclaimed know it all whose idea of a good time is to contradict everything you say -- she just had to check to see if this letter was written by a member of her own family first.
Mrs. Linklater can't imagine being SILENT when this NO-It-All Mom cranks it up. That's right, the correct term is NO It All, because that's what Mom is saying to everyone -- "No, you're wrong, I have ALL the top secret information you don't have."
Actually, Mrs. Linklater knows what's really going on here.
We have a NO-It-All daughter who is just like her NO-It-All mom. And the daughter really hates it when Mom contradicts her. Not that SHE would ever think of contradicting her mother. Haaaaa.
For fun, Mrs. L would throw out the bait to the Motherlode with harmless little conversational statements like, "I think it's kind of warm in here." "Don't cookies taste great with milk?" "Doesn't George Bush look like Alfred E. Newman?"
BUT before Mom can say NO you're wrong, Mrs. L would make a pre-emptive strike and say to Mom after every statement, "But let's ask the expert first -- Mom?" Watch Mommie Dearest start to back off. After awhile, she'll start saying things like, "But I'm not really an expert. . . ."
Or, you can take the kinder gentler route and just agree with Mama -- but in a VERY BIG WAY. Those times when you say the sky looks really blue and Mom says NO she thinks it's more violet -- let her be right. "OMG!! Mom, you're absolutely right. The sky IS violet -- Hey, everybody, Mom's right, the sky isn't blue -- what were we thinking -- it's violet!!!"
Okay okay, Mrs. L is getting carried away. The simplest thing to do is for everyone, especially her daughter, to just agree with her. Is that so hard? Don't give her the silent treatment. That's mean.
Say, "Mom, I never noticed, but, I think you've got a point, I can see how you would think the sky looks violet today."
Then watch a contradictory Mom's contrary ways start to melt like a popsicle on a hot sidewalk. A little validation goes a long way.
Come on. Would it kill you?
Does Mrs. Linklater hear the sounds of pigs flying?
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Jeanne Phillips is Dear Abby. Her mother was the original Dear Abby. Dear Abby's sister was Ann Landers. Mrs. Linklater doesn't know what any of this means, but, as usual, that won't stop her from butting in whenever she pleases.
Dear Abby: I just found out that I'm pregnant, and I'm thrilled. I'm getting married in September -- and that's the problem. At the time my wedding is scheduled, I'll be nine months pregnant.
The day we're being married has special significance to my fiance. I don't know how to tell him I don't want to waddle down the aisle. I have told him about the baby, but I don't know how to bring up changing the date of the wedding. I don't want to ruin it for him -- but I don't know if I can handle a formal wedding when I'm about to pop.
Am I being selfish, or would it be a good idea to ask him to change the date?
-- Scared In Oregon
Dear Scared: For heaven's sake, speak up. To do so is not selfish; it's practical. Remember that babies don't always arrive exactly on time -- sometimes they decide to come early.
When you're standing at the altar exchanging your vows, you should not have to worry about your water breaking.
MRS. LINKLATER STOPS DOING HER KEGELS FOR A MINUTE TO INTERRUPT HERE WITH AN OPINION THAT WILL NO DOUBT SHOCK AND DISMAY MOST PEOPLE.
FIRST, SHE ACKNOWLEDGES HOW DIFFICULT IT MUST BE TO PLAN A WEDDING BETWEEN CONTRACTIONS. MEANWHILE, IT SOUNDS TO MRS. L LIKE THE GROOM WANTS TO REAP THE BENEFITS OF A TWO-FER -- HAVING HIS CAKE AND A BABY. TOO.
WHILE SHE IS WELL AWARE OF HOW EVERY BRIDE WANTS TO LOOK HER BEST [THE THIN THING] FOR HER NUPTIALS, IF SHE'S KNOCKED UP ALL BETS ARE OFF. OH SURE, SHE CAN WAIT UNTIL THE BABY IS BORN AND HAVE THE CEREMONY LATER. OR GET MARRIED EARLIER, SAY BEFORE MAKING BABIES, BUT ANYONE CAN DO THAT.
MRS. LINKLATER THINKS WE ALL OUGHT TO CONSIDER THE UP SIDE OF WALKING DOWN THE AISLE AS YOUR WATER MAY BE BREAKING. ONCE YOU GET PREGNANT THE REASON FOR GETTING MARRIED BECOMES PRETTY APPARENT. WHY NOT CELEBRATE IT!!
HERE WE ARE A GENERATION LATER AND THE BRIDE CAN NOT ONLY WALK DOWN THE AISLE ON HER WAY TO THE DELIVERY ROOM, SHE CAN WEAR THE TRADITIONAL WHITE GOWN, ALTHOUGH SOMETHING WASHABLE WOULD BE SMART.
SO IF YOU'RE GOING TO FLAUNT TRADITION, DO SO WITH PRIDE. THE ONLY SUGGESTION MRS. LINKLATER OFFERS IS TO MAKE SURE ALL THE BRIDESMAIDS ARE PREGNANT TOO, SO THE BRIDE WON'T BE UPSTAGED BY ANY SKINNY GIRLS.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
It's that time of the month, when Mrs. Linklater sticks her nose into someone else's business. Without being asked. What? You think she's going to apologize?
ASK AMY -- The Chicago Tribune, Published March 1, 2005
Dear Amy: I am divorced. My daughter is a company representative and travels for her job.
Last October, when my daughter was seven months pregnant, her husband confided in me that they had not had "relations" in over a month, and weren't going to until six weeks after the baby was born.
We were both under the influence of alcohol and things got out of hand. He convinced me that he needed loving. I'm ashamed to say I was more than willing to give it, and this happened numerous times during her pregnancy. I told him he wasn't allowed any more "support" from me once the baby came.
Last week my daughter went to a sales show out of state and he came to me again. At first I didn't want to allow this, but I convinced myself that if it weren't me he was with, it would be someone else.
He only asks when she is unavailable. Am I just justifying this, or should I take it more seriously? And please don't suggest counseling for them -- they love each other.
-- Confused in L.A.
Dear Confused: You're the one who needs to have her head examined, I'm afraid. I'm not sure how you expect me to react to your stupidity, except to tell you to stop it. Of course I feel very sorry for your daughter. She's related to two selfish people who don't seem to respect or care about her.
Because you and your son-in-law are sexually involved, you are exposing one another -- and your daughter -- to sexually transmitted diseases. You and your son-in-law are being despicable. What's worse is that there is now a child in your family who deserves so much better than to be born into an episode of "The Jerry Springer Show."
Please. Don't make Mrs. Linklater choke on her tall de-caf mocha Frappuccino with a shot of almond.
Sounds like son-in-law was looking for a MILF and decided to choose the one closest to his house. I smell Deliverance. Start the banjo music.
[Don't know what a MILF is? Ask a teenaged boy.]
Here is Mrs. Linklater's advice to the mother who can't seem to stop herself from having sex with her daughter's husband:
Take a nice hot bath. Light some scented candles. Put on your sexiest lingerie. Your newest shoes. Your best outfit. And do your hair.
Now. Go play in traffic.
Thank you. I'm here all week.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
The following is the last column written by Margo Howard for Slate, the online magazine. She moves to Yahoo to write under her real name MARGO. And somebody else takes over Dear Prudence. Mrs. Linklater can hardly wait. ANOTHER advice column to eviscerate. But in a good way. Oh the thrill of it all!!! By the way, STICK A FORK IN IT was a re-run of a previous post from January 2005. In the interest of full disclosure and the two people who read it when it was originally posted in her AOL journal, Mrs. Linklater's Guide to the Universe, she felt compelled to come clean.
From Dear Prudence in Slate Magazine, February 8, 2005
My young niece secretly eloped with a much older convicted felon during the holidays.
None of the family, including her parents, was aware of it until after the new year. It suddenly occurred to the bride that she missed out on an opportunity to receive some nice wedding presents.
She conned her doting grandparents into hosting and paying for a "wedding" with the white dress, seven bridesmaids, and a barbecue for 100 expected guests. I wouldn't have had a problem had it been billed as a wedding reception, but the invitations were the schmaltzy "you are invited to celebrate the beginning of Jack & Jill's life together" and included business cards from the merchants where she was registered for gifts.
One of the cards even had a dollar figure on it as a minimum gift amount. I declined the invitation, even after the bride's grandmother threatened never to speak to me again if I didn't attend.
I'm all for marital bliss, but not as a fundraiser, and announcing that you won't be my friend if I don't come to your party is a little too much like junior high school for me. Am I being picky?
Even with a thesaurus, Prudie is having trouble coming up with a word to apply to a minimum dollar amount written on a merchant's business card enclosed in a party invitation. (We will not even deal with an almost certainly immature bride and the groom's alma mater, as it were.) The odds are good that you are not the only one to look askance at this charade, and that Granny will be threatening quite a few others on the guest list.
Mrs. Linklater regrets that she is unable reply to this advice column calamity because she just wet her panties from laughing so freaking hard.
If this letter to the Prudarama was NOT made up, it should have been. And if it is indeed real, Mrs. L thinks that anyone who has been invited to this train wreck of a wedding and reception should pay the minimum guest rate and absolutely, positively attend.
In a clown suit.
Dear Amy: I have sort of a weird problem. I live with my husband and teenage son, both of whom drive me absolutely crazy with a particular eating habit -- namely, scraping a bowl or plate many, many, many times with a clinking fork or spoon to get out the last bit of lettuce, noodle or whatever.
I know this isn't a big deal, but we have plans to live together for a year or more on a small sailboat in the not-too-distant future, and I'm afraid I might shove one of them overboard one fine evening as dinner is drawing to a close. Do I have a right to make them overhaul their eating habits for my own personal sanity?
Can you help?
-- Gritting My Teeth
Dear Gritting: Nothing ruins a sunset quite like a man overboard. Don't resort to that.
I'm glad you know that there are far worse problems you could have on your plate than the sound of scraping cutlery, but in my book, the person who is bugged most over dinner table habits wins. Just because the perpetrators outnumber you doesn't mean they're right.
You could try some cognitive therapy techniques to make these two aware of what they're doing. Each time they scrape, they could put a dollar in a fondue pot right there at the table. You could also videotape them eating and play it back to show them what you get to see and listen to while dining.
My friend Phil Vettel, restaurant critic at the Chicago Tribune, has another suggestion for you to try on your family: chopsticks. I love it.
As usual, Mrs. Linklater is shaking her head in disbelief. Amy dear. Cognitive therapy for scraping the plate? You've gone overboard.
How about ear plugs for Mom, so she doesn't have to hear the sound. She's the one with the problem. Not her family.
Mrs. Linklater comes from the stand-over-the-sink-and-lick-the-plate-school of finishing her meal, so she is hardly in a position to fall on her fork here. But, as usual, that won't stop her.
With all due respect to Mr. Vettel for his clever suggestion, chopsticks may seem like an amusing solution, but they're only funny until someone loses an eye. And this family seems quite capable of committing acts of violence over cutlery noise. At least ONE of them does.
So Mrs. L would like to suggest that Mom buy a bunch of rubber scrapers just for those occasions when scraping the plate may be an option. Big ones for entrees. Perhaps the more delicate, smaller ones, for desserts.
What? You have a problem with that? They come in colors now. And you could decorate the handles. Just watch, thanks to Mrs. Linklater, you'll be able to register for one with a silver handle at Georg Jensen soon.
Okay. Fine. Use your fingers. But don't make that stupid sucking noise when you do. Drives me nuts.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
But she's being spammed by some jerkwad who won't take no for an answer.
Unfortunately, she thinks the person spamming her isn't a computer, but someone who is doing it manually. She can only wonder what else they're doing manually to get such a thrill out of spamming her again and again.
However, maybe, just maybe, it's a machine gone mad, considering how many spam messages are being left. All from one site.
Meanwhile, in Mrs. L's zeal to rid her blog of unwanted advertising, she may have accidentally removed a comment YOU made.One she no doubt LOVED. Please consider it a friendly fire deletion, because it was not intentional.
Feel free to comment again, assuming you can put up with all the barbed wire that's now in place.
And then remember what it was you wanted to say.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Never one to leave well enough alone, Mrs. Linklater can’t resist one more chance to butt into someone else’s messed up life. As usual, she first defers to the experts who get paid to do this for a living. Whereas our dear Mrs. Linklater does her spewing solely as a public service.
Published December 21, 2004 Chicago Tribune
I'm perplexed by the mutation of the whole gift concept. I decided to give some young relatives a certain type of gift. . .and I wrote to their parents telling them of my intention and asking for specific suggestions within this gift category.
The parents' reply was to merely suggest a different gift the kids could use instead.
I had been very clear that we had decided to give them this other type of gift and made no mention of needing any other suggestions.
These are nice people, Amy, and I know they meant no offense, but what would you say in my place?
-- Not a Mail Order Catalog
I know it's frustrating lately -- it seems as if kids have so much already and yet they can be so specific, with recommendations of brand names and gigabytes, not to mention the whole Red vs. Blue Power Ranger question. No doubt these parents thought they were being helpful and that you'd appreciate some direction on what the kids would like to receive. . .
Give these children whatever you would most like for them to have. But please don't hold it against the parents for offering you some direction -- after all, you did ask.
Sheesh, Amy. Where should Mrs. Linklater butt in first? Oh heck, let’s start with the “mutation of the whole gift concept.” I haven’t read Darwin’s Origin of Gifts, but it sounds like Catalog thinks that giving gifts to children should have nothing to do with what they want. They’re going to get what she wants to give them or else.
Frankly, she’s the one that sounds like a mutant.
But – more importantly -- did it ever occur to Catalog that the children’s parents were trying to say THAT HERS WAS THE STUPIDEST, MOST INAPPROPRIATE GIFT IDEA EVER – only in a nice way?
Apparently, that option NEVER made a blip on her radar [or Amy's for that matter -- tsk, tsk].
Even with a gentle hint from Mom and Dad, Catalog is going to stand on principle, dammit. Those kids are going to get the gifts she wants them to have and no one can stop this bulldozer when she gets it in gear.
So, in a way Amy is right -- boy Mrs. Linklater hates when that happens.
There's nothing anybody can do -- legally -- just get out of the way.
And have fun with the Malibu Barbies, Billy and Tommy. Maybe you’ll get matching Ken dolls next year.