Dear Prudence: My mentally ill husband threatened suicide with a gun.

Help! My Mentally Ill Husband Threatened Suicide With a Rifle.

Help! My Mentally Ill Husband Threatened Suicide With a Rifle.

Advice on manners and morals.
April 1 2013 2:34 PM

A Shot in the Dark

In a live chat, Prudie advises a woman whose mentally ill husband has threatened suicide with a rifle.

(Continued from Page 1)

Q. Re: Everyone's expecting: Been there, done that. It stinks. However, there are many options for fertility treatment that ARE covered by insurance. See: my oldest child. Most insurance does not cover IVF (although I'm not sure that's even true anymore), but most other options are covered. You owe it to yourself to at least talk to a fertility specialist.

A: Exactly. As another reader pointed out, insurance might cover the diagnostic tests to find out the reasons for the infertility and correcting the problem might also be covered. She's got to take action.

Q. Daughter's Boyfriend: My 20-year-old daughter recently got back together with a boyfriend she had broken up with about three months ago. Her father and I were happy when they broke up because we didn't approve of him—he lies, doesn't work, and they have gotten physical in their fights. Now that she's supporting herself, we fear that she'll let him move in and basically live off her. How can we support her when all we see is a disaster brewing?


A: You tell her you are concerned about this reconciliation because someone who is capable of the behaviors he engaged in is highly likely to repeat them. Then you keep tabs as much as possible without being overbearing, which will likely only push her closer to him. I wish there was a magic formula to keep women from attaching themselves to violent losers.

Q. Recurring Dreams: A little more than seven years ago my mom passed away from cancer. Since then I have had recurring dreams that she is alive and then just disappears from my dreams. Since my mom passed, my dad has remarried a lovely lady. Sometimes what also happens in these recurring dreams is that mom is alive but dad chooses his new wife over my mom and then my mom runs off and disappears. Each time I have these dreams I just wake up broken-hearted. Yes, I've mourned my mom, but I still miss her very much. Is this a "normal" thing for people to have with these kinds of dreams or is this something that I'm just unlucky to have? I don't want to wish these dreams of her completely away because sometimes these dreams are happy ones with my mom and I just enjoying doing something like we used to when she was still alive.

A: This is totally normal and I'm glad you find some comfort in these dreams. Many people who have experienced loss look forward to this kind of nightly visitation. I think you should appreciate the way your unconscious is dealing with the fact that because your mother no longer exists in the earthly realm your father has to choose his new wife. Keep a dream journal and write down as many details of the dreams as you can. Capturing them will make you feel more in control and also make you appreciate how creative your sleeping mind is.

Q. Re: For everyone's expecting: I am undergoing infertility treatments now and in addition to what Prudie advised, I also urge you to confide in some friends. Pick those you trust to be sensitive and caring and open up. After not telling anyone about my own problems with this, I finally did and it's made such a difference. For example, you may find as I did that one of your pregnant friends needed some help to get there. And besides that, you'll be giving your friends the chance to support you and be there for you, which is something you need right now. Please don't isolate yourself, and hang in there. You're not alone!

A: Good advice, thanks.

Q. Shadow of the Ex: How do I keep myself from feeling compared to the ex-wife of my fabulous boyfriend? I adore him, we have a wonderful time together, and I KNOW that he chooses to be with me, that their relationship was over before we met. However, he was with her for a decade, so all his stories are "we used to XXX" and it rubs me the wrong way sometimes. I'm not jealous, but sometimes I feel like I'm in a relationship with her too?

A: It depends how often the "We used to" comes up. If every time you go to an ethnic restaurant he has to mention that Karen loved that type of food, that's weird. But if you're planning a vacation to France and he says that he and his ex went to Provence annually, that's germane. If the mention of the ex is a verbal tic and you're not being oversensitive, then with as much humor and calmness as you can muster just say that you'd like to hear less about the ex.

Q. Re: Recurring Dreams: Four years ago I lost my bipolar older sister to suicide. I too occasionally suffer from recurring dreams where I notice my sister is slipping backing into one of her extremely manic states and I wake up thinking I need to call my mom to tell her I think Sis has gone off her meds again and we need to intervene. The dreams can feel so real I forget that she has already passed. Yes, it's heartbreaking, but not abnormal. It doesn't matter how much time has passed, there are always times we miss loved ones that are gone. It's good to miss them! It's a reminder of how much we loved them while they were here. Moving on from a death doesn't mean you don't miss them, you just discover a new normal.

A: I'm sorry for your loss and thank you for this wise response.

Q. Dangerous Co-worker: I have a colleague who's an older man who is always butting into conversations and sharing personal and sometime inappropriate things. He doesn't pick up on social cues, so once he starts telling you a story he'll follow you around until he's done. He has started telling people he thinks he is either blacking out, or possibly having seizures. His cubicle is right next to mine and repeatedly he has come into mine to sit down thinking it's his. A couple of weeks ago he started acting funny and then someone found him just a few minutes later passed out in the elevator. Today, while walking through an open hallway he tripped over a chair. I've passed him driving on the way to work and I'm worried he's a danger on the road. He's mentioned he's been to the doctor to be checked out, but I seriously doubt he would ever admit to being a dangerous driver.

A: Report your concerns to a higher up. If someone can't remember his own cubicle, trips on furniture, and passes out in the elevator, this means he is need of a medical evaluation immediately. If he does any driving in the course of his work duties, that could create potential liability for the company. Tell human resources or his supervisor that you don't want to get into his private affairs, but he's expressed a concern that he may be having seizures and his behavior around the office indicates his worries may be well-founded.

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Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.