Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011 8:02 pm
Dear Annie: I am a 19-year-old girl still living with my parents. My 22-year- old brother lives here, as well. I am working two part-time jobs and recently obtained full-time employment.
My brother, “Sam,” attended college courses for one semester two years ago. He has never been employed. He spends all day in his room playing computer games until the late hours of the night. My parents never pressure him to find a job, develop social skills or go back to school. They seem completely content allowing him to live this way.
However, when it comes to me, my parents are constantly critical. They don’t approve of my boyfriend, my social habits, the hours I stay out and the fact that I am not attending college. My mother frequently threatens to kick me out, although I doubt she would.
I believe my parents are misguided. I don’t understand why they insist on chastising me when they have a much bigger issue on their hands with Sam. Whenever I try to get involved and suggest that Sam get a job or apply to college, my parents inform me that it is none of my business and he’s not my concern.
I am worried about what will become of Sam, but I admit I’m also irritated that they are constantly butting into my life. How do I tell them to reevaluate their priorities without risking my living situation? — Where Do I Go from Here?
Dear Where: Your parents are butting into your life because you live with them, and that encourages their involvement. They also have greater expectations for you than for Sam, which is why they seem so critical. In order to be independent, you must leave the nest. If your job doesn’t pay enough to find your own apartment, search for roommates.
Dear Annie: We installed a fence several weeks ago. We paid the entire cost and notified our neighbor of our plans. We provided the survey drawings and obtained permission to go onto his property for the installation.
We intended to discuss the details with our neighbor, but the contractor had an opening in his schedule, and we proceeded. Our neighbor happened to be on vacation, although we tried to communicate with him by phone and email.
When he returned, he was upset that we had “gone back on our word.” We recently found new holes poked through the fence from the neighbor’s side and some graffiti. We are stunned by this extreme reaction. What should we do? — Baffled
Dear Baffled: It sounds as if your neighbor expected to be part of the process and it passed him by. He’s resentful and a little childish. We recommend you “make nice” and see whether it helps. Pay him a visit, apologize profusely for not waiting until he returned from his vacation, and invite him over for coffee or a beer. Ask for his opinion on the contractor’s finished product. If none of this helps, try ignoring what you can, but if his pranks escalate or cause damage, contact the National Association for Community Mediation (nafcm.org) before calling a lawyer.
Dear Annie: This is for “Didn’t Need It,” who went for counseling after getting out of an abusive marriage and it didn’t help: Don’t give up so quickly.
My husband and I went to seven different marriage counselors before we found one who didn’t take sides. The eighth was well worth the search. It’s up to you to find the one best for you, and to follow their advice (or not).
Personal change is rarely easy. But it is profoundly rewarding. We’ve been married 36 years, and our love grows every day. — K
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 10.17.11