Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2010 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: I have been married to “Archie” for 20 years. He used to be self-employed, but the business wasn’t going well, so he got a regular job. He worked for a few years but didn’t like it and decided to go back into business for himself. He said if it didn’t work out, he would find employment elsewhere.
Needless to say, his business is failing, and we are getting behind with our bills. I can only work part time due to health reasons. Archie has sent out a couple of job applications but hasn’t heard anything yet. I want him to be more aggressive, whether it’s promoting his own business or making follow-up calls to places where he applied for jobs, but he won’t do it.
In this economy, any job would be better than the little he’s doing now. Archie is a bit of a procrastinator, and things are not going to just fall into his lap. He considers it nagging if I ask about a job or remind him to make a call. This is having a negative effect on our marriage, because I’m worried about our finances and he doesn’t seem to care about his family. It’s like he has no pride. Am I wrong, or is he going through some kind of midlife crisis? — Betty
Dear Betty: We don’t think pride is the issue. Is Archie depressed? Does he suffer from undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder? Instead of pushing him to be more aggressive, which only annoys him, work on the underlying causes of his inertia. Suggest he see his doctor. Ask how you can help him. See whether a teamwork approach improves the situation.
Dear Annie: Several years ago, Ann Landers printed a poem about our planet, written by a young girl. I think it’s time it was printed again. Will you do it in honor of Earth Day? — Boston Gal
Dear Boston: With pleasure. It was written by Misha Mayr, then age 9, of El Paso, Texas:
I am the ill earth.
People have cut down the trees, which are my lungs.
They have polluted the air, which is my brain.
They have polluted the streams, which are my blood vessels.
They have polluted the oceans, which are the chambers of my heart.
My wrath has gotten gigantic. My wrath is hurricanes and tornadoes.
I am the ill earth.
If people trash me, I will die, and so will they.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Little Sister,” whose parents give her money for necessities and her older sibling resents it. I would like to tell the other side of the story.
My wife and I are in our early 50s, and her parents are also wealthy. We have always been self-supporting and have never asked them for a dime. My 54-year-old brother-in-law, however, has never supported himself. Everything has been given to him. His parents bought him his house and the car he drives. They pay all his bills and give him $2,000 a month for spending cash.
This has never been a jealousy issue. It is injustice. We used to try to talk to my in-laws and explain that these handouts were not helping anyone. We were told he had “special needs” and to mind our own business. My advice to “Little Sister” is to grow up and take responsibility for her own actions, or in 40 years, she will be in the same boat as my brother-in-law. — Resent Injustice
Dear Resent: In all fairness, some children need help at various times in life, and it is perfectly OK for parents to lend a hand. The problems arise when the needy child never becomes self-supporting and, over time, the other siblings feel less important and less loved. Parents need to understand and acknowledge this.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 4.22.10