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Annie’s Mailbox – 2.10.12

Annie’s Mailbox – 2.10.12

Posted: Friday, February 10, 2012 10:27 pm
By: By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar

The Messenger 02.10.12

Dear Annie: My mother is 86 and lives in another state. My 33-year-old nephew and his three kids live with her, as do my niece, “Joanna,” and her two children. Not one of them has a job.
Several months ago, Mom broke her hip and was in rehab for four months. During that time, Joanna used Mom’s ATM card and took all the money out of her account. She also opened credit cards in Mom’s name and ran up huge bills and stole Mom’s mail-order pills and sold them on the street.
What’s worse is that my sister, the mother of this niece and nephew, insists that I am not permitted to say one negative word to my mother about them. She claims the thievery is between Joanna, Mom and God. My mother is scared of all of them. I have called Adult Protective Services, but was told they’d only step in if my mother made a report.
My sister says I need to forgive Joanna and let it go. How do I do that? There has been no accountability, no restitution, no apology. Also, I found out that Mom’s good jewelry was pawned for drugs. Any ideas? — Mad in Omaha
Dear Omaha: Adult Protective Services may not be able to step in if Mom appears to be mentally healthy and refuses to cooperate. Your sister is trying to protect her children. Shame on her for allowing them to financially abuse their grandmother. Please try the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 ( and ask what assistance is available in Mom’s state.
Dear Annie: After several weeks of arguments with my husband about his parents’ intentional cruelty toward me and his lack of defense, we finally confronted them. We tried to do it gently. We shared that they had hurt my feelings with their behavior.
Their reaction was the opposite of what we had hoped. Instead of apologizing for their wrongs against me, they immediately went on the defensive and insisted that my husband and I will always be the “children,” and they will always be the parents and will not tolerate “lectures” from their kids.
I choose to no longer be surrounded by such mean people. My husband is trying to stand up for me, but it’s difficult for him because they are so controlling. Am I wrong to feel he should defend me, even if it means we are no longer speaking to his parents? — Confused in Oregon
Dear Confused: Your husband must put you first. He should insist his parents behave in a civil manner toward you, but if they can’t or won’t, it is OK for you to stay away as much as possible. Your husband, however, may choose to visit his parents without you. Please don’t take this as a lack of defense. They are his folks, and he loves them. We recommend you support his efforts to stay in touch with them and he support your need to stay away.
Dear Annie: “Looking for Some Answers” didn’t know what to do about her alcoholic friend who got behind the wheel. The man who killed my 18-year-old son did not feel he was too drunk to drive. Our small police department does not have an alcohol test kit in every patrol rig, so the officer had to drive 45 minutes back to the station to get one. By the time he returned, the man had sobered up enough to pass.
This man is a murderer because he chose to drink and drive. It’s been 10 years, but I still miss my son every day. God forgive me, but I wish these drunks would just die and stop killing innocent people. “Looking” should call 911 and turn her friend in every time she gets behind the wheel under the influence. Drunk drivers are selfish people who need help. — Klamath Falls, Ore.
Dear Klamath Falls: Your loss is heartbreaking. Our condolences.
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