vDear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 21 years. We have two sons, “Sam,” age 13, and “Brett,” age 9.
My wife and Brett get along fine, but she and Sam clash frequently, despite my attempts to keep the peace. As a result, Sam believes she hates him and favors Brett.
When I bring this to her attention, things improve for a day or two, but inevitably there is yet another battle. Since Sam is big for his age, she has an expectation that he should behave beyond his years. When frustrated with him, she often says, “I’m getting out of here!” and jumps in the car and leaves. She acknowledges that her mother did the same when she was a child and that it hurt her, but the realization does nothing to stop her from repeating her mother’s behavior.
I fear it is having an adverse effect on my sons, who may wonder whether someday Mom will abandon them. When I tell her that a mother’s love should be unconditional, she replies, “I can’t right now.”
Although I plan on seeking counseling for Sam, I believe my wife needs help, as well. She visits a counselor from time to time, but it hasn’t made a difference. She is also depressed, and when I suggest treatment, I become the enemy and am rebuffed.
I know in my heart she loves Sam. What can I do? — Melancholy in Massachusetts
Dear Melancholy: The truth is, not all parents delight in their children’s personalities, but loving parents keep that to themselves. Your wife is having trouble controlling her lesser impulses, and occasional counseling is not helping enough. You should intercede with your children, reassuring and reinforcing that Mom loves them but has problems of her own that make expressing it difficult. They are old enough to understand. Encourage your wife to take the counseling more seriously, for her sake as well as the children’s, and then put your focus on helping your sons. They need you.
Dear Annie: I belong to several groups for women age 60 and older. When I attend meetings, there are ladies who constantly talk while the meeting is going on, while the president is speaking or during a guest speaker’s presentation.
This is very inconsiderate. These women have been asked to keep quiet, but they ignore the request. What can be done about this rudeness? — Disgusted Member
Dear Member: These chatterboxes have no clue how ill-mannered they are and don’t care if they annoy you. The speaker can ask for quiet and then refuse to continue until the women stop yakking, or someone can ask the ladies to take their conversation to another room where they will not disturb those who want to hear. It will work if you follow through consistently.
Dear Annie: “Honest in Tennessee” doesn’t understand why women aren’t honest about their weight.
Most online personal ad sites don’t have a category for “fat.” Another reason women may not be honest is the nasty remarks from trolls. When I had a personal ad with my picture, I got a lot of comments about how disgusting I was, and that I should just put down the donuts and get off my lazy behind and exercise. I finally told people if they wanted a skinny woman to keep looking because it wasn’t going to be me. However, any man looking for a woman who could talk about cars, guns, fishing and hunting, and could cook, clean, sew and love the heck out of her man, I was that intelligent woman — with a wicked sense of humor, as well.
If “Honest” wants a thin woman, he needs to say so in his ad, but I can tell him he’s going to miss out on meeting some fabulous larger women. A person’s worth is not determined by the size of her rear end. — Maybelline
Dear Maybelline: We hear you. And anyone who posts cruel comments about an online photo has the personality of a snake and isn’t worth the time they take to read.
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 4.7.08