Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011 7:40 am
Dear Annie: My sister, “Miranda,” is married to an alcoholic who is getting more bizarre each year. Miranda and her 12-year-old son are not allowed to go out after dark. If they go out during the day, “Biff” calls repeatedly on their cell phones. My nephew cannot go anywhere without one of his parents. Biff drives him to and from school because he is not allowed to ride the school bus. He cannot go on school trips unless Biff accompanies him. They can’t do anything without Biff’s permission.
Miranda is afraid to leave because Biff has threatened to kill her if she does. My nephew began having panic attacks a few years ago. My sister was taking him to a counselor who put him on medication, and he got better. Then his father said he couldn’t do that, either. Now the panic attacks have gotten worse.
I gave my cell phone number to my nephew and told him to call me anytime he needs me. I feel as if I’m waiting for something terrible to happen. How can I help Miranda understand that she is teaching her son that he deserves to be treated this way? — Concerned Aunt in N.C.
Dear Aunt: Biff is an abusive bully who has convinced Miranda that this situation is the best she’s going to have. But she needs to get her son out of that destructive environment. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (ndvh.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233), and ask how you can help your sister. She is lucky to have you.
Dear Annie: I discovered pornography on my husband’s work cell phone. The phone was given to him for business purposes only, but he gives out that number instead of our home phone. It makes me feel like he is hiding something.
The other day I got a call from one of his co-workers’ wives. She told me to check my husband’s phone and see the kind of messages he is accepting from his work buddies. Sure enough, there were filthy comments along with pictures of slutty women, partially clothed, in different sexual positions.
As far as I know, he hasn’t sent these e-mails to anyone else. Do you think he’s afraid to tell these guys to stop sending him porn? Isn’t it unlawful to send such things? What would happen if he opened up one of those photos while driving? Talk about distracting.
We have a great sex life, and I still get compliments on my looks. I don’t understand what makes men do this. It’s degrading. Companies need to crack down on how their phones are used. — Heartbroken in Texas
Dear Texas: It is not unlawful to send pictures of partially clothed adult women to other adults. You should discuss this openly with your husband. Tell him what you found, and explain that it bothers you to know he accepts these pictures. Additionally, he might get in trouble with his bosses if they discover he uses his company phone for these purposes. Ask him to please delete all such messages.
Dear Annie: I laughed out loud at the letter from “Proud Parent,” the single father whose family was upset that he shares the bathroom with his 16-year-old son.
I am the single mother of two boys, 16 and 13. We live in a small apartment with one bathroom. In the morning, we all get ready at the same time. My boys know that if the door is closed, they have to knock, but otherwise, the 16-year-old is sometimes in the shower while his brother brushes his teeth and I’m applying makeup. There is nothing unnatural, unhealthy or disturbing about it. We all know when privacy is needed. His family is making a big deal about nothing. And you can’t make somebody gay by sharing bathroom space. — Proud Mom of Two in NY
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, 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 4.29.11