Posted: Friday, April 3, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I have been married 25 years. My health is not as good as it used to be and I am in chronic pain. I am finally on a good pain management program involving strong painkillers that help me function and keep my job, as well as keep being a mom, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, etc.
The problem is, my husband takes my medication. I give him one of my pills every morning because if I don’t, he will wake me up and bug me until I give in. I have to hide the rest or he will take some. If I don’t give him a pill as soon as he asks, he is argumentative all day long. He becomes mean and hateful and says hurtful things to me and our teenage sons.
Please don’t tell me to get counseling. My husband lost his job two weeks ago and the health insurance went with it. I am no longer in love with this man, but with the economy the way it is, I cannot afford to move out and he refuses to leave. Please suggest a way to deal with this. — Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Dear Caught: Your husband has become addicted to your pain medication. Discuss this with your doctor and then contact Nar-Anon (nar-anon.org), 22527 Crenshaw Blvd., #200B, Torrance, CA 90505. Someone there should be able to help you through this difficult time.
Dear Annie: My 10-year-old daughter is a fun, outgoing, well-adjusted child with a bubbly personality. “Sara” is heavily involved in a gymnastics club and is friends with everyone there. However, last night she gave my wife and me some disturbing news. She is being bullied by some of the other fifth-grade girls, who make fun of her and push her. She is not happy going to school.
Sara is not aggressive and has not responded to any of the harassment, but it is affecting her confidence and self-esteem. She told me she feels like “a nobody” in school and has few real friends. She’s become too timid to speak up in class. I’ve told her to be herself, have fun and not be intimidated by other children. I also told her if someone pushes her, push them back harder, and if someone calls her a name, come back with a response. My wife (the calm one) has told her to ignore the attacks or tell the other girls they have hurt her feelings and to please stop.
I am relieved that we have a good relationship with Sara and that she talks to us about this. But I want to make sure we give her good advice. What do you recommend? — Unhappy Parents
Dear Parents: Most schools have regulations against bullying, and it is important that this be reported. Sara also needs to learn how to stand up for herself.
She should ignore what she can, but not out of fear. A clever or amusing retort is fine since it deflects the bullying and reinforces Sara’s self-esteem. But we don’t recommend verbal or physical abuse in retaliation. It tends to aggravate the hostilities. Help Sara understand that children who bully often have issues of insecurity and can only build themselves up by tearing others down.
Dear Annie: I had to write about “Lonely in Connecticut,” who is worried about her sexual needs when her husband is suffering from terminal cancer.
Six years ago, my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was often sick and in pain from the treatments. Many nights we went to sleep just holding hands. The last time we had sex was in June, and he passed away in October, a month shy of our 21st wedding anniversary. “Lonely,” your husband needs you more now than ever. You have the rest of your life to have your sexual needs met. — Lonely Widow in Iowa
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 4.3.09