Dear Annie: My daughter-in-law, “Cheri,” is gorgeous, intelligent, witty and charming. She is also spoiled, vindictive, manipulative and hurtful. Did I mention she lies? (My son jokes that she “exaggerates.”)
Three years ago, my son invited us to visit them. He even suggested we look at houses in the area. When I asked Cheri when we should arrive, she said, “Wednesday or Thursday.” We arrived midday on Wednesday, she took one look at us and said, “You aren’t supposed to be here until tomorrow!” She called my son to come home immediately.
After dinner, we babysat while my son and Cheri went out for the evening. The next day, he went to work while we took care of the kids, cleaned up the kitchen, did the laundry and worked on the list of repairs Cheri gave my husband while she was out doing “errands.” I was asked to cook dinner, which required a trip to the grocery store and $150 worth of food that Cheri picked out for us to buy.
After a week of this, I lost my sense of humor and said some things to Cheri about the way we’d been treated. She said some things back. When I said I wanted to go home, she told me to pack.
We were wrong to leave without talking to our son. I don’t know what Cheri told him, but I suspect she “exaggerated.” He hasn’t spoken to us since, even though his father has had two heart surgeries. I fell into a deep depression and am just now getting better. We miss the grandkids. Since my apologies have fallen on deaf ears and my son won’t listen, what can we do? — Missing Them
Dear Missing Them: We’re sure she told him you arrived inconveniently, stayed too long, expected to be treated like royalty and picked a fight with her. She probably insisted he choose between you — and he chose his wife. This is a sad but common story. It’s a shame Cheri is too selfish to encourage her husband to see his parents on his own and that he doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to her. Keep trying, but don’t expect much. You can benefit from discussing your grief and disappointment with a therapist who will help you come to terms with the situation.
Dear Annie: My mother is a 79-year-old alcoholic. She has tried counseling and every program there is to stay sober, but time and again she falls off the wagon. She refuses to seek any more treatment.
When Mom is in one of her dry spells, the rest of the family makes sure not to drink in her presence, even though we enjoy an occasional beer or cocktail. That means at the many family parties and picnics, no one brings alcohol so as not to tempt Mom. When she is off the wagon again, we let everyone know they can drink.
Should we continue this charade, or should we just let Mom deal with her own sobriety? Some of the relatives are tired of it. — Trying to Help in Ohio
Dear Ohio: You are not responsible for Mom’s sobriety, but if you serve alcohol, Mom will feel it is acceptable for her to drink, so yes, maintaining the charade likely helps her stay sober — at least for the duration of the party. In the long run, it probably doesn’t matter much. If you haven’t looked into Al-Anon (al-anon.alateen.org), you might do so at 1-888-4-AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666).
Dear Annie: I want to warn your readers to be careful about signing contracts for Internet or cable service without first checking a company’s service record.
I changed my Internet and cable subscriptions, and the new company’s customer service is horrible. I have waited hours on the phone for tech support only to have the problem remain uncorrected. — Buyer Beware in Sarasota
Dear Sarasota: All contracts should be checked out before signing, but cable companies are notorious for their inconsistent customer service, so we aren’t surprised. Thanks for the warning.
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, 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 3.28.08