Posted: Friday, October 3, 2008 10:28 pm
Dear Annie: For at least five years, my mother-in-law has been receiving nasty harassing telephone calls from my sister-in-law, “Cruella.” These calls usually pertain to Cruella’s distorted belief that Mom doesn’t accept her as a worthy daughter-in-law.
Cruella misconstrues innocuous comments as criticisms. She refuses to see a counselor, believing that the problem isn’t hers. She also becomes quite angry and threatening to anyone who suggests she needs help. During one of her emotional rants, Cruella actually wished that my mother-in-law would die. Cruella’s husband briefly saw a counselor, but found the sessions to be ineffective. He deals with his domestic strife by getting drunk.
My mother-in-law is 89 years old, and these telephone calls upset her greatly, causing her to break into tears and sending her blood pressure skyrocketing. The rest of the family feel helpless to stop the harassment. I don’t want Cruella to push my mother-in-law into an early grave. Is there any way to protect an elderly woman from being victimized by a vicious shrew? — Desperate for Help
Dear Desperate: Cruella sounds mentally ill, and her husband is a coward for hiding behind a bottle instead of doing what’s right for both his wife and his mother. Mom can talk to the police about the harassment and find out if a restraining order applies. She also can discuss the problem with someone at the phone company to see whether Cruella’s calls could be blocked or intercepted.
Dear Annie: I am a 16-year-old girl and have been dating the love of my life for over a year. Even before we started dating, we considered ourselves best friends.
About two months ago, we decided to lose our virginity and I have no regrets. My question is, how do I ask my mom to get me birth control? We only used a condom, and I want to be safer the next time.
I don’t want my parents thinking I’m a skank or something, but I’d also prefer not to get birth control behind their backs. Please help. — Needing Extra Protection
Dear Needing: Your parents may already have an inkling that you are having sex, and we agree it shouldn’t be a secret from them. Find a quiet, private time to talk to your mother. Explain that you and your boyfriend are in a committed relationship and have already taken the next step. Tell her you want to be responsible, and ask her to make an appointment for you to see a gynecologist. However disappointed she may be, Mom will want you to be healthy and safe. We hope you will keep in mind that at 16, love doesn’t always last as long as you assume it will. Sex can be emotionally binding, especially for girls, so please discuss all the repercussions with your mom. She can help you make the best choices.
Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from “Worried in Hawaii,” whose mother can no longer live alone, but isn’t prepared to live anywhere else, either.
I would like to make your readers aware of the services a geriatric care manager can provide in helping families navigate care for their aging relatives. A geriatric care manager (GCM) is a professional with specialized knowledge and expertise in senior care issues. Ideally, a GCM holds an advanced degree in nursing, gerontology, social work, psychology or a related health and human services field. GCMs will evaluate your situation, identify solutions and work with you to design a plan for maximizing your elder’s independence and well-being.
More information on the services can be found on the national GCM Web site at caremanager.org. — Barbara Kolonay, RN, BSN, MS, CCM, Pittsburgh
Dear Barbara Kolonay: Thank you for the detailed information. We have, in fact, recommended geriatric care managers many times in this space and are always happy to do so again for those readers who can afford the services.
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 10.3.08