Dear Luv Doc,
Reading your column about the guy who was upset about his girlfriend’s sexy Halloween costume reminded me of my husband. He can’t help criticizing me about everything all the time. My shirt is the wrong color for my eyes. I should style my hair differently. I gain weight. I do not know how to cook. I am a very bad driver… etc., etc. Oh, and he also didn’t like my Halloween costume this year because it made me look too goofy (my daughter dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and I disguised myself as a Cowardly Lion). I bet he would have complained if I dressed like the hot cowgirl. I know he really gives me a hard time, and I’m thick-skinned and can take his criticism, but it’s starting to rub off on my kids. They’re not as bad as my husband, but when they criticize me, it really hurts me. What can I do to make them (and him) be nicer to me? – Frumpy Lioness
Alright, bad news. I’ve done a whole bunch of googling on “how to divorce your kids” and it looks like it’s not going to be a viable legal option, although they may be petty shit – oh, and by “little shit”, I am of course talking about lawyers, not your angelic offspring. Here’s the thing: I don’t have a vagina, but I’m pretty sure that if I pulled even a modest-sized baby out of it—like a tiny baby who smokes two packs a day—I’d demand a whole a lifetime of hushed reverence from this child. Yes… hushed reverence, because do we really need to hear from the kids until they have a few higher degrees? Probably not.
This is only the beginning too. Unless you can afford professional 24-hour child care, you’ll probably have to try to walk your kids safely through their perilous, monosyllabic years without letting them fall down a flight of stairs, die out their eye with a hot roasted marshmallow skewer, or getting mauled by the neighbour’s playful German Shepherd. If you successfully complete this challenge and your child still feels entitled to express their displeasure with any part of your humanity, you should absolutely be able to divorce them, just like an overly judgmental husband. I’m pretty sure even Jesus would have my back on this, and let’s be honest: if anyone has a problem with bad parents, it’s J-Dawg, right? I’d be surprised if child divorce isn’t specifically addressed somewhere in the scriptures, but do you know who wrote the scriptures? Someone is a fucking ingrate, who is it.
That said, before I get an avalanche of hate mail from Shadtree behavioral psychologists, I should probably cut to the chase: your kids aren’t the problem. Your husband isn’t the whole problem either, but he is a big contributor – like “MJ dropping 63 points in the 1986 NBA playoffs.” No, if you’re looking to throw someone under a bus, start with yourself. Wait, let me rephrase that. I am in no way suggesting that you attempt a messy public suicide, but rather that you take responsibility for the evolution of your problem.
Listen, I realize that insults and criticism, when delivered in a humorous and sarcastic way, can actually be some people’s love language – much like Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin in The dead, but truly skillful ballbusting takes years, if not decades, of practice and refinement and even then, if the recipient wasn’t brought up in an environment where it’s commonplace, it can be quite hurtful. The thing is, even if you suspect your husband is “just giving you a hard time” he needs to get rid of that shit because it’s emotionally damaging you and making your kids – and I don’t have a better way to say this – like little lawyers. So, Frumpy Lioness, I’m going to play the wizard here and give you the gift of courage. The next time your kids or husband criticizes you in any way, let them know that you don’t take criticism anymore, only compliments. Negativity is poison. Don’t let him kill your family.