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A: I’m so sorry about your dog. I think it’s fine to keep your profile as is—you’re not deceiving anyone by using a picture of your pets as a profile picture; there’s no rule (nor should there be!) that you must immediately take down all pet pictures once one of them dies. If anyone asks about them, you can say anything you like, from “Oh, that’s Rosie and Ernest” to “That’s Rosie and Ernest—we just lost Ernest a few weeks ago, but I love this picture of them together.” You don’t have to update all of your professional contacts if you think it’ll make you too sad or distract you from an otherwise surface-level conversation about work. People understand that pets die, and I don’t think anyone would believe you had acted deceptively by not providing all your clients with an announcement. You’re under no obligation to say anything, so only mention it if you wish to do so.
Q. Re: My husband’s pranks wreck my entire week: Is it possible you are afraid you won’t be taken seriously by friends and family because it’s only “pranks”? It’s abusive, and labeling them pranks makes it seem not serious and it makes it easier for him to continue. It’s like mistaking controlling behavior for protective/loving behavior. It can be hard for people outside the relationship to understand, but you need to try.
I hope you can get some help. I completely misread my best friend’s marriage for years. I felt horrible I didn’t recognize the controlling behavior, but as soon as she told me what was going on, I was completely on her side and helped her get out.
A: Thank you so much for bringing up the term “pranks”—I agree that the letter writer should not describe them as “pranks” when she talks to her brother or friends, because that’s simply not what’s going on here, and I imagine that her husband has used that term in order to downplay or dismiss her perfectly understandable reactions. Screaming at someone because you’re lying that they broke your computer is not a “prank,” pretending you’ve killed the family pet is not a “prank,” and she does not need to use that term.
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Q. Re: My husband’s pranks wreck my entire week: There is a great book, Why Does He Do That? By Lundy Bancroft, that will help you see your husband for what he actually is. The pranks are a form of verbal abuse. Much verbal abuse is claimed by the abuser as “just a joke,” thereby making their victim be “at fault” for having “no sense of humor.” And these guys of course are wonderful—except when they aren’t. Otherwise, women would never end up in relationships with them.
— Beutee (@BeuteeS) March 10, 2021