Dear Annie: My husband and I are at the end of our rope. Our 38-year-old son is a habitual liar. He constantly tells anyone who will listen that he is an engineer. He did go to vocational school, but never got an engineering degree and is currently without a job. He gives the impression that he is a Gulf War veteran, but he was released from the U.S. Army during basic training because he could not perform the physical tests. He never served in Desert Storm.
We are afraid he could be charged with impersonating a veteran, or that his continuous lies will catch up with him and cause even more strain on our family. Is there a liars anonymous organization? — Just Sick in the Midwest
Dear Midwest: Is your son willing to admit he lies? Many compulsive liars want help, and if so, you might be able to convince your son to see a psychologist who can work with him on this behavior. Otherwise, sadly, there is not much you can do about someone who does not see the harm in such prevarications. There is no specific support group for families of liars, but there are various chat rooms and bulletin boards on the Internet that deal with compulsive liars, and at the very least, those may provide the comfort of knowing you are not alone.
Dear Annie: My 11-year-old son, “Matt,” and his very good friend, “Sam,” were born three days apart. His mother and I have had a double birthday party for them the past several years and invite the whole grade. The invitations clearly say it is “Matt and Sam’s birthday party.”
Two years ago, one of the guests handed me a card addressed to “Sam” and nothing else. I thought it was odd she didn’t acknowledge my son. Last year, it happened again. Her child brought a gift for Sam, but not Matt. This really bothers me. It’s not the gift, it’s the principle. It seems so rude that I do not want to invite this boy to future double parties. I assume it’s not the boy’s fault, but rather his parents’. What should I do? — Tammy
Dear Tammy: Either the parents believe only one gift or card is necessary, or they consider Sam to be their child’s friend, but not Matt. (If that’s the case, you might ask yourself why.) Still, it is rude to attend a birthday party for two children and acknowledge only one. It’s possible the parents are in financial straits and can only afford one gift per party, but that does not mean one birthday boy should be ignored. It means purchasing two less-expensive gifts or two cards. Ask Sam’s mother if she will speak to the parents and see if there is a problem.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Falling Out of Love,” who is contemplating leaving her husband because his pain meds are having a negative effect on their marriage.
I currently have two herniated discs in my neck, which are inoperable. I, too, spend a good part of every day in a narcotic fog. Chronic pain is pervasive, affecting everything. We are faced with the challenge of keeping our pain at a tolerable level while still maintaining some quality of life. I had to give up several things I enjoyed doing because I can’t stay focused. I am fortunate that my partner is supportive, but it took time for him to understand.
I would suggest the wife go along to her husband’s pain management appointments and talk it over with his doctor. I’m sure the husband would like to have a clearer head, and his wife should be as supportive as possible during this difficult time. Soon I will be transitioning onto a new medication that I hope will take care of the problem. I wish them luck. — Foggy in Toledo
Dear Toledo: We, too, hope the new medication will provide pain relief without the narcotic haze. Thanks for showing the other side.
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 2.12.08