Posted: Friday, January 9, 2009 9:03 pm
Dear Annie: My friend “Josie” drives me crazy with her neediness and dependency. She apparently looks up to me as a mentor, and at first, this was very flattering. But her needs are embarrassing (wanting hugs, reassurance that I am “proud of her” or “love her”) and sometimes infuriating, calling me repeatedly in tears over some perceived slight on my part or someone else’s.
I am aware that Josie has a mood disorder, so I don’t want to simply tell her to call her doctor and cut her off. I have made it clear that I like her as a friend, but none of my other friends behave like this. I am losing sleep over her. — Georgia
Dear Georgia: Insecure friends like Josie can suck the energy right out of you if you don’t put up boundaries. It may not be entirely her fault that she behaves so over-the-top, but that doesn’t mean you have to be her security blanket. It’s OK to give her a hug when you see her, but if she demands another, just pat her arm reassuringly and change the subject or do something else. When she calls in tears, sympathize for a few minutes, then tell her nicely that you have to go and hang up.
See her less often. And feel free to suggest counseling as a way to deal with her “passionate emotions.” If she becomes angry or upset, it’s HER problem. Don’t make it yours.
Dear Annie: I recently married for the second time. We each brought two teenage children into the marriage.
My problem is that we spend significantly more money on his two children than on mine. His ex-wife contributes nothing toward their support, and he pays all their expenses, which is fine. My ex-husband sends his check like clockwork.
However, my husband spends freely on his children, but expects me to account for any spending on mine. I want to scream when he makes judgments about what I want to buy for them. In a few years, we will be paying full college tuition for both of his children. My kids, however, are getting one-third from me, one-third from my ex and the other third they are expected to pay themselves. This certainly influences their choice of schools.
When I think of the money we’re putting out for his two kids, it makes me want to spend more money on my kids to even things out. I know this is childish, but it’s making me lose sleep at night. How can I get past the feeling that my kids are getting shortchanged? — Sleepless in N.J.
Dear Sleepless: This is a common problem with divorced parents who have remarried. Your husband feels responsible for his children’s welfare, but he thinks your ex-husband is responsible for yours. While you say your kids are being shortchanged, your husband might believe they are benefiting twice. The two of you need to sit down and establish a budget detailing who pays what costs and what is discretionary and how to make it equal. If you cannot do this on your own, consult a professional through your bank or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (nfcc.org) at 1-800-388-2227.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Tyler, Texas,” who asked whether her husband’s death notice could include a request that people donate to their grandson’s college fund. I find it offensive to expect people to reach into their pockets upon the occasion of a death. A funeral is not a reason to beg for money.
According to my burial instructions, my death notice will read: “In her memory and spirit, have lunch with a friend.” The family of a friend wrote: “In his memory, take a walk in the woods.” Many people have commented favorably on this attitude and have followed suit. — Trying to Change the World, One Obituary at a Time
Dear Trying: Those are lovely suggestions, and we hope our readers will take them to heart.
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 1.9.09