"He's Out of Work -- and I'm Out of Patience"
His Turn"I Feel as Though I've Failed"
"My business failure has aggravated the long-standing conflict in our marriage," said Howard, 44, with a heavy sigh. "Marcy says I give too little; I say she expects too much."
"Marcy portrays me as the source of our problems, but she bears half the blame. One minute we're having a simple disagreement; the next she's calling me hateful names and dredging up my past transgressions. I've been hurt by Marcy's unfair and hostile criticisms -- most of which center on her anger that I don't follow her instructions for running my business or handling my family. If I think Marcy is right, I'll act. But if I don't, I won't. This drives her crazy.
"Losing my stores has caused me deep anguish; I feel as though I've failed Marcy. The worse things got at work, the more my mood soured and the more we argued about how I was managing the stores -- or, as Marcy believes, mismanaging them.
"Growing up, I was on good terms with my parents, but their shortcomings frustrated me. Mom is self-centered, demanding, and hard to please. Dad is domineering. I gather they paid a lot of attention to my sister when she was small, but by the time I came along -- I'm eight years younger -- they were so involved with the jewelry store they had very little time for me. They never encouraged me to speak up for myself, and they refused to discuss anything negative.