Dear Abby: When I call ex to discuss our kids, my husband erupts

He overhears everything she says on the calls but still says she’s disrepecting him by staying in touch.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Daryl,” gets furious every time I talk to my ex, my two oldest kids’ father. The only thing we discuss is my kids’ issues, but Daryl loses it completely. He starts calling me names and says I don’t respect him even though I do. I keep assuring him that there’s nothing inappropriate being talked about (he is present during all the conversations since we talk over the phone and live in different states).

I don’t know what to do anymore. My kids are 14- and 13-year-old girls, who are going through all these crazy teenage issues, which obviously, as their parents, my ex and I have to sometimes talk about, and it’s not even that many calls. I’m wondering if this is normal because I’ve only been in two relationships in my life. I’m 33, and I feel like a goofball for not knowing what to do. — TOUGH SITUATION IN TEXAS

DEAR TOUGH SITUATION: No, it is not normal. Your husband’s jealousy and insecurity are over the top. You have a responsibility as the mother of two teenage daughters to see them through this time of great transition, and if you feel their father is in a better position to provide input than your husband, you have a right to seek it.

It’s time to talk about this with a licensed marriage and family therapist because Daryl’s behavior is abusive. If it isn’t stopped, it may escalate. Do it now because if the verbal abuse continues and your daughters witness it, they will grow up thinking it’s normal behavior, and it will negatively affect their relationships with men later in life.

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DEAR ABBY: I have been diagnosed with PTSD by my doctor. I thought only people who have been in military combat would receive a PTSD diagnosis.

I have had a lifetime of verbal abuse from my mother. Once she had broken my spirit with rants of “dummy,” “stupid” and “I wish you had never been born,” I was easy prey for my older brother. To get laughs, he never misses a chance to make fun of me in public.

On second thought, I guess I HAVE been through combat. Abby, do you have any ideas how to make life somewhat bearable? — CONSTANTLY HURTING

DEAR CONSTANTLY: I sure do! Ask your doctor for a referral to a psychotherapist with expertise in family dysfunction and PTSD. Then make it a practice to AVOID abusive people who seek attention by ridiculing and belittling others. If you do, your life will improve immeasurably. Trust me on that.

** ** **

DEAR ABBY: What do you think about people having drive-by baby showers? I was recently invited to one, only to arrive and find the front yard filled with people, cake and balloons. But I had been instructed to just drop my gift and go on.

I did expect a few people to be there with the expectant mom to greet me and receive the gift, but after traveling 25 miles only to find a full-blown party going on that I wasn’t allowed to join seems very rude to me. I think if that was the plan, she should have just had a shower for these A-list guests and forgone the drive-by part. What are your thoughts on this? — TURNED OFF IN TENNESSEE

DEAR TURNED OFF: You may not have been singled out to be slighted. Those at the party may have “crashed” the lawn from their cars. What a foolish, risky thing to subject the expectant mother to. If the revelers weren’t masked, the honoree and her baby were at risk of catching COVID!

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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