Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: My mother is overly controlling with her grown children. She seems to think that when she gives an opinion, we have to agree. What’s worse, she is so negative about everything. She starts fights with us and expects us to capitulate and say she is right every time. She voices her opinions without thinking them through and has stepped on a lot of toes over the years. She has no friends left. We don’t even celebrate holidays together because it is simply too depressing.
Mom will pick a fight on the phone, scream at the top of her lungs and then hang up and refuse to talk to us until we call and beg forgiveness. My father is the only one who is always on speaking terms with her, but he’s afraid to make her angry or she’ll start a fight with him, too. So he stays out of our disputes.
The last few times I saw my mother, she didn’t seem well. There’s no point in telling her to see a doctor, because she has already been through four doctors in six months. She hates all of them. In spite of her abrasive personality, I still worry about her. I’ve suggested all of the siblings get together with both parents and voice our concerns, but my brothers and sisters do not want to hear Mom scream at us, and we know she will. Please help before she drives everyone away. — Sad in Ohio
Dear Ohio: People who are perpetually unhappy, pick fights with others and drive friends and family away are often depressed and may even have an underlying mental illness. Your mother’s apparent physical problems are likely exacerbating the situation. Unless she recognizes that she needs help, she isn’t likely to respond well to any suggestion that she get it. Contact the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (dbsalliance.org) at 1-800-826-3632 and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) at 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264), and ask for assistance.
Dear Annie: I am a photographer who has done many weddings. The current trend of strapless dresses, however, has presented wedding dress horrors. Please tell all brides looking for dresses to consider the following:
Strapless dresses don’t look great on everyone, especially overweight or large-busted women. If you feel even remotely uncomfortable in the dress, you will look it. If the dress slips down at all when you walk, imagine spending your entire wedding adjusting it and pulling it up. These things are not attractive. More than once, I have seen a surprise appearance by “the girls,” especially when the bride lifts her arms while dancing or to throw the bouquet. Bending over to talk with children or kiss Grandma presents a whole new problem. I have spent hours Photoshopping out creases, dimples, stretch marks and unattractive cleavage.
So try a dress with spaghetti straps or a halter, or wear something that shows off your back, but please, no more strapless gowns. — K.R.
Dear K.R.: Thanks for your words of wisdom. Brides, take note. Just because it looks good in a magazine doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Hopeless,” who suspects her husband has Asperger syndrome, really helped me grasp my situation. My uncommunicative husband is 60, and I, too, suffer from depression. It’s like we are living parallel lives.
I have been with “George” for five years and have become so angry and miserable about his inability to connect. When he’s with me or others he has known a long time, he speaks appropriately, but in the company of strangers, he rants, becomes overly opinionated and rude and sounds idiotic. I’ve accused him of ignorance and asked whether he was ever diagnosed with a disorder. He has been married three times before, and I am in the process of leaving because I cannot go on like this.
It really is a comfort to be able to identify and understand this. Although I still need to leave, it helped me immensely. — No Longer Struggling
Dear No Longer: Before walking out the door, please talk to your doctor about your husband’s behavior and see whether anything can be changed.
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 1.6.10