Posted: Thursday, August 27, 2009 7:23 pm
Dear Annie: My parents are married but separated. My father isn’t financially stable. For some reason, he can’t seem to keep a job. Currently, he’s unemployed and has no car. Annie, my father is a freeloader. All he does is lie around the house and do nothing. My mother is a hardworking woman, and I respect and adore her. She does everything for my brother and me.
I’m 16 and have learned to cope with the fact that their marriage is over, although no one else in the family knows they are separated. My mother wants a divorce, but my father won’t sign the papers. I know she’s miserable and hurt, but she doesn’t show it. Frankly, I don’t think Dad can live on his own. He certainly can’t support our family, and I don’t think he sees us as his first priority.
I feel trapped and there’s no one I can talk to about this. I know he’s still my father, but I can’t stand him. Any advice? — Anonymous Daughter
Dear Anonymous: You are in a tough position. It’s admirable that you are standing by your mother, but your father may have problems of which you are unaware. Please know it is not your responsibility to fix your parents’ relationship, make your father more responsible or break the news of the separation to your relatives. If you cannot talk about your situation with anyone in the family, try discussing your concerns with the school counselor, your best friend, a trusted adult neighbor or the parent of a friend. It will help.
Dear Annie: How do you handle family members who think every relative is their personal ATM? These people are not in serious financial trouble. They spend their own money the way they want, but every time they have a personal need, which is almost daily, they phone every member of the family until someone finally gives in just to halt the continuous calls.
This drives me up the wall, as it seems to be a never-ending problem with no solution in sight. No matter how much you help, it’s never enough. There are times when they are truly in need, but it’s gotten totally out of hand. If I give them $100 today, they’ll ask for $300 tomorrow.
They are driving everyone nuts and pushing the entire family away. I’d appreciate any ideas. When it involves your own family members, the solution is hard to see. — Hit Up Too Often
Dear Hit Up: The solution is to close the bank. This means having the backbone not to give in, no matter how many irritating, pleading phone calls you receive. If these relatives are asking for money on a daily basis, they have not learned to live within their means. Instead of opening your wallet, open the phone book and suggest they contact someone who will help consolidate any debt and put them on a budget. We recommend the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (nfcc.org) at 1-800-388-2227.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Desperate in Pennsylvania,” who hears a clicking noise every time she swallows.
I had the same problem and was scared because I also had other symptoms like chronic fatigue and pain. I scheduled an appointment with my family doctor, who discovered that I have an underactive thyroid. I also found out that I have a growth hormone deficiency, which explains a lot about my health problems. Our hormones really do affect us in many ways. I’m a young 43-year-old who feels a lot better now that I’m on the proper medication. Hope this helps. — Patty in Ohio
Dear Patty: Thanks for sharing your diagnosis. We’ll print others down the road and hope one of them will prove helpful to “Desperate.”
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 8.26.09