Angry Ex-wife

Q: How do you handle an ex-wife that refuses to go on with her life? What keeps someone so angry as to spend her entire life thinking of a way to hurt other people to satisfy herself? -- Anna, 33

Dr. Susan: Some people never do learn to move on. They seethe and fume and eventually maybe give themselves heart disease because they're so riddled with hostility and thoughts of vengeance. I'm assuming that your husband's ex-wife feels she was badly wronged by him, that perhaps she believes he left her for you or something like that. You haven't said how long her vendetta has been going on, but it might last for two or three years even under the best of circumstances. You can only hope that she will find a new love of her own and finally be able to put the past behind her.

Meanwhile, you and your husband need talk about how to handle his ex's persistent anger. You're a couple now and this is a good test of how you solve problems together. His loyalty needs to be to you and your feelings. If his ex is truly out of line, actually doing things to make your life difficult, then he needs to make a serious effort to get her to shape up and leave the two of you alone. If she's merely badmouthing you, just let go. What she says doesn't have to hurt you. The more you care, the more power you give her.

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