Skip to content

Annie’s Mailbox – 1.31.12

Annie’s Mailbox – 1.31.12

Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 9:41 pm
By: By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar

The Messenger 01.31.12

Dear Annie: My mother-in-law, “Mary,” is a demanding, conceited, freeloading, depressed 60-year-old witch. She has made our lives miserable for the five years I’ve been married.
Mary used to work as a nurse, owned her own home and paid her own bills. Shortly after we married, she quit her job, saying she was too depressed, and let her house go. She became an appendage to our sofa for two years. It affected our marriage so much that my husband finally asked her to leave. Not only did she call me every name in the book, but she proceeded to post fliers around town calling me a family wrecker. She then moved in with my parents for another two years. She still tells everyone that we threw her to the wolves and left her for dead.
This woman is convinced that her depression started the year my husband was born. Her parents were extremely wealthy, and even though she left home at age 16, she still thinks the red carpet should be rolled out every time she shows up. She makes plans with friends and expects to borrow our car and our cash.
Mom has doctors and therapists provided to her by the state, but she is getting worse and refuses to apply for disability. Now she is staying at our local rescue mission so she won’t “burden anyone,” but as awful as it sounds, knowing that she is still living is a burden.
We want to start our own family, but the stress is overwhelming. How do we deal with her? — Ready to Throw in the Towel
Dear Ready: We were sympathetic until you said that “knowing she is still living is a burden.” We realize she is difficult, but Mary also sounds mentally ill. Healthy, well-adjusted people do not behave like this. Please contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness ( at 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264) and ask for help.
Dear Annie: I was divorced 18 years ago. I do not have a good relationship with my ex-wife, who left me for another man. Over the years, she has encouraged our children to dislike my current wife, to whom I have been married for 17 years and who helped raise my kids.
Here’s the problem. For Christmas, my son gave us an album with photos of our new grandson. The album also contains many pictures of my ex-wife, but only one of my wife and me, and it’s the size of a postage stamp. Could they not have created an album without all the photos of their mother? (I think it’s even possible that my ex-wife put the album together.)
Should I ignore this? Should I ask that they consider our feelings in the future? We don’t want to display an album with pictures of my ex. — Insulted Parents
Dear Insulted: This was insensitive of your son, but probably not ill intended, so try to forgive him. You can choose whether or not to display any gift, but please don’t complain about it. If there is a way to remove the photos of your ex-wife or to have the pictures re-set to exclude her, do so. Then ask your son for a picture of his family so you can display it in a prominent place in your home. If he mentions that you already have one in the album, you can tell him why you would prefer another.
Dear Annie: My sons (now well into middle age) would never commit any of the cooking sins “California” describes, because I taught them better. They were using a microwave oven correctly by the time they were 10 years old, and a conventional oven and cooktop as soon as they were tall enough to safely reach the back burner.
If “California” has children, I hope she is teaching them proper kitchen procedures while they still live with her. And she should insist that her husband sit in on the lessons. — St. Maarten
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to or write to Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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


Leave a Comment