Dear Annie: My 42-year-old daughter has never had the mother-daughter relationship with me that I was fortunate enough to have with my late mother.
The latest incident happened 10 days ago when “Susan” called me at 8 a.m. and I had just woken up. I didn’t immediately realize who was calling, and she promptly started berating me, accusing me of calling her so seldom that I don’t remember her voice. When I replied that I didn’t want to have an argument, she hung up. I e-mailed and said she was very rude and the main reason I don’t call often is because we always end up on a bad note. She made no reply, and I don’t think she will be contacting me anytime soon.
I certainly don’t want this to be the end of our relationship, even though it’s not a great one. Is there any way to repair the damage? Susan lives out of state and visits twice a year. — Telephone Blues
Dear Telephone: Susan is hypersensitive to everything you say. That means when you criticize her for being rude, she thinks you don’t love her, and when she is hurt, she becomes defensive and retaliates. You cannot have the same relationship with Susan that you had with your mother, but you can improve on the one you have now. To get there, you must make the first move and the greater effort. Accept Susan for who she is. Stop criticizing or correcting her. Apologize when you’ve offended her, even if you’re right. Say “I love you” often. Continue to call and e-mail with neutral information and positive, even complimentary, statements. When Susan believes you love her unconditionally, things will improve.
Dear Annie: My husband is incredibly rude. He thinks it’s OK to pass gas whenever he wants, even in front of guests. He talks in the movies and disturbs others by moving his legs constantly. He keeps the windows open even in winter, and when his 80-year-old mother visits and complains of the cold, he tells her, “Feel free to go home.”
We recently had a guest stay with us, and my husband came into the kitchen in his underwear. When I pleaded with him to put on pants, he replied, “This is my house and I’ll wear what I want.”
He gets angry when I don’t want to go out in public with him. How can I handle this intolerable behavior? — California
Dear California: Tell your husband that difficulty controlling body functions and leg movements and the fact that the temperature bothers him may indicate a medical problem. Ask him to see his doctor for a complete physical. The rest is just poor manners, and it will be hard to change things if he is as stubborn as he sounds. Tell him calmly that you’ll go out in public with him when he can behave himself and not before. Maybe then he’ll stop acting like a barnyard animal.
Dear Annie: After reading countless letters about women who lack interest in sex, I would like to share my experience.
I experienced difficult pre-menopause symptoms for years before I went through early menopause. Though my husband put in extra effort to make intimacy enjoyable for me, eventually I felt like I had no gender at all. The parts of my body that should’ve felt good were either numb or raw. I wanted to avoid sex because I was so unresponsive and uncomfortable.
My doctor ordered hormone testing and put me on bioidentical sex hormone creams, as well as treatment for my adrenal and thyroid glands. I feel like a woman again. My energy is still low, but my body feels more pleasure now than it has in 20 years. I have something exciting to offer my husband again and can enjoy our intimacy together. — 50-Something Female
Dear Female: You are fortunate to have found something that works for you. Thanks for the words of encouragement.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 5.16.08