Hax: Wife is not source of hubby’s anxiety

The Washington PostSeptember 2, 2013 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: Literally minutes ago, my husband and I got into a fight, and he threw at me that I’m the source of his high anxiety and blood pressure.

My first reaction was to get defensive — he’s struggled all his life to manage his anxiety — but now I wonder if I am the reason. His anxiety seems to have gotten worse when we got engaged three years ago. I’m always trying to be understanding and accommodating of his anxiety, which is at the point of ruling his life, so I was just sad when he said in anger that I was the source.

He rejects the idea of marriage counseling, and will not follow up with doctors or the personal trainer I hired for him.


No doubt you are a key part of his health picture. I can assure you, though, that someone with high anxiety and blood pressure who “rejects the idea” of and “will not follow up with” three of the most obvious ways to improve his health is more of an enemy to himself than his spouse is.

Plus, unless you’ve abused or imprisoned him, he is ultimately responsible for his own well-being.

It sounds as if things have reached a point where you need to seek the expertise he refuses to.

If counseling isn’t an option, also consider getting help from NAMI (www.nami.org).

Hi, Carolyn: I’m wondering — what would your response be to the sudden re-emergence of a former, decadeslong friend, via a one-word Facebook email, “hey”? It wasn’t my idea to sever contact but in the last several years, I’ve realized that it was definitely a good thing for me. I am ignoring the email and will not re-establish contact.


Sounds as if you muddled your own way to the best answer. You didn’t ask and don’t need to hear, but some more affirmation: That Facebook “hey” is outreach designed to be ignored, if that’s your preferred response.

Email tellme@washpost.com. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.

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