Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2008 8:06 pm
Dear Annie: A year ago, I was invited to invest in the company where I worked and become a part-owner. My husband and I took out a second mortgage and refinanced everything to buy in. It was great at first, but now everything is going downhill.
“Jane,” the other investor, has more stock and constantly reminds us that she is the majority owner. I have not even gotten a paycheck in the past two months. I want out, but cannot find anyone to buy my shares. I am so stressed that I am constantly in a state of panic. I have gained weight, started smoking and now snap at my husband and children. Jane puts on a great face at the office, but behind closed doors she reams out the employees so much they actually cry. We keep losing good people because of her attitude.
I have also questioned Jane about financial findings — trips for training, psychic readings, lunches, etc. She claims that as majority owner, these are legitimate business expenses. Maybe, but we are not profitable. I am about to lose my house and car, and my marriage is in a sorry state.
I am so angry I don’t know what to do. How can I sell my portion of the business? — Sick of Crying
Dear Sick: Even a majority shareholder has a responsibility not to run the company into the ground, and it may be that the only way to hold Jane responsible is to take her to court. You need to talk to a lawyer. Your state bar association or local law school should be able to help you out.
Dear Annie: I have a daughter-in-law of whom I’m very fond. She is the mother of my 3-year-old grandson. Unfortunately, she and my son divorced after only a few months of marriage. The split was not her fault.
I plan on calling her my daughter-in-law from now on, even if my son remarries. Am I correct in believing that the divorce does not affect my relationship with her? Please let me know. — Troubled Father-in-Law
Dear Troubled: The divorce may not affect your relationship, but a remarriage absolutely will. It’s wonderful that you are so fond of your ex-daughter-in-law, and it is a good idea for you to remain on friendly terms. However, if your son remarries, it would be rude to your new daughter-in-law to use that term to refer to someone else. She will resent it, and rightfully so. Don’t court trouble. There is no insult in saying “my former daughter-in-law.” Or even “my grandson’s mother.” It won’t change the degree of affection between you.
Dear Annie: Boy, did you two miss the mark with your response to “Unwanted Daughter-in-Law.” Mommy-in-law, who wore black to the wedding, is a bully, and her baby boy, the hubby in question, is a pantywaist. That bride doesn’t need to be “unfailingly kind and helpful” to this boorish cow. That will only embolden the old crone. She ought to tell that wimp of a husband that either he stands up for her or she’s out of there.
Before my wife of 21 years and I were to be married in her home church (Catholic), my mother (Lutheran) made a veiled threat that she might not be able to keep from making comments about it at our wedding. I told her if she couldn’t keep her big mouth shut for one day, she was no longer welcome to attend. I then hung up. My mother was the essence of graciousness that day. She just wanted to control things, and I stood up for my wife. Being nice to bullies is not the answer. — A Guy with a Spine
Dear Guy: If you want to tell YOUR mother how to behave, that’s fine. She loves you. But for your wife to have done what you did would have been a major disaster and possibly poisoned the relationship forever. Newlyweds need diplomacy with the in-laws — and a spouse like you who will stick up for them.
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.