Unusual Behavior

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright 2000

Dear Annette,

A female co-worker of mine retired last year at age 64. Her husband was 72.  He insisted that she retire.  They have been married 45 yrs.  For the last 2 yrs. he has been changing.  He has gotten very jealous of her.  Even accusing her of being very interested in a 40 yr. old co-worker. 

To shorten:

*          Says she flirts everywhere they go.

*          Feels she has always flirted and he's just now noticing it.

*          Gets extremely angry about this just short of getting physical about it.

*          Doesn't want her out of his sight hardly.

They are having a terrible time. She is very unhappy an is getting very stressed and does not look well. 

He acts *perfect* around others.  They are not members of our church but are very active in their church.  They went to a professional counselor 3 times.  Met together each time - never separate.  They stopped going because he denies everything and it appears that it is in her head.  I know that it is now.  I saw some changes in him myself.  He stopped letting her go to lunch with me.  He came to town every single day for over a year and met her for lunch. 

Her children have seen some of his anger recently and realize that he has changed.  She mentioned it to her doctor.  The husband doesn't think anything it wrong with him. 

I know this all sounds confusing - I guess - Do you have any suggestions for them.  She does not have access to internet and asked that I try to help her.  She is at her wits end.

Her doctor did give her an anti-depressant to help her.

Thank you,

A Friend

Dear Friend,

How long has it been since the husband has had a full medical check up?  Some mental changes can stem from physical ailments, disease, and chemical imbalance, all of which can cause dramatic change in behavior.  It's time for a complete check up!

If it is a chemical imbalance and he refuses to admit there is a problem or to see a psychiatrist to see if there is a problem, she will not be able to get him help with the psychotropic drugs that will off set the imbalance unless he become a danger to himself or others.  At that time the family can call the state mental health officers can check him into a lock-down mental health facility or mental hospital for observation for at least 48 hours.

I hope the physical reveals the problem.  Meanwhile, have her ask the Lord to help the physician know what is wrong and to be able to act upon it appropriately.

Something has been scratching at the back of my mind and it has left me rather uneasy! 

I cannot understand if your friend's husband is jealous and wants to keep her away from other men, why is he not letting her see you!  I hope that she is not letting him cut her off from everyone, especially her life line...you.  Tell her to stand her ground on this one!  She has to have an outlet to the world.

That this sounds like is the first steps of Physical Abuse.  You say his anger stops short of this but I wonder.  Women who are being beaten often hide the fact from everyone because they are ashamed.  If he is so whacked out what is to stop him from crossing that line?

Read these articles so you know what to look for....

Living with an Abuser



The Battered are Brainwashed



Emotional and Psychological Abuse Continuum


It is also a good idea to share these things with your friend!  Let her know that it is not her fault and that you are there for her!  Let her know that even being hit once is once too many times.  If he will strike her once he will strike her again.  Get her out of there not let the husband sweet talk her into thinking it will never happen again.

I hope this is not what is happening or what is to come!

Best wishes,

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

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