Annie’s Mailbox – 6.19.12
Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Kathy Mitchell & Marcy Sugar
The Messenger 06.19.12
Dear Annie: I married at the age of 18. Shortly before my wedding, both of my parents died, leaving me with no other relatives. I looked forward to sharing life with my husband’s large, close-knit family. But the day after the ceremony, my new mother-in-law began a crusade to divorce me. She went to each family member with horrible lies about me, and they believed her. I never got the chance to know them. The worst lie was telling my husband that I was unfaithful. The whole family condemned me without a shred of evidence. Fortunately, my husband knew better.
My mother-in-law banned me from all family functions and forbade everyone from having contact with me. She insisted that we move far away to a rural area, isolated from everyone. Before every holiday and family event for the past 25 years, I have cried watching my husband drive off for a day of fun and memories with his family, leaving me all alone. He says that he cannot disobey his mother, especially now that she is terminally ill.
After she dies, I am hoping that things will change and that I finally will be allowed to join the clan, but I’m unsure how to do this. My husband feels things should continue as they are. He seems to relish the role of martyr at the hands of a horrible wife. It is difficult to discuss this with him, as he has an uncontrollable temper and sometimes resorts to physical violence.
Should I simply accept that I never will be able to call anyone family? Sadly, divorce is out of the question for many reasons. — Alone in Minnesota
Dear Alone: Your husband is a coward, as well as an abuser. After 25 years, we wouldn’t count on his family being more accepting, particularly if your husband discourages it. Instead, please consider “family” those people who care about you. If you have children, they, their spouses and their in-laws are your family. If you don’t have children, your friends can become the family you need. Since divorce is not an option, we recommend counseling on your own to help you cope better with the hand you’ve been dealt.
Dear Annie: My wife and I own a place in a resort community where golfing greens fees at a public course are included in our annual charges.
We are not sure how to handle it when guests visit and want to play golf with us. It feels awkward when they pay the full amount while we appear to be getting in for free. Should we subsidize our friends even though we’ve already paid our fees as part of our yearly dues? — Paul
Dear Paul: You should treat this as you would if taking your friends to a museum, concert or out for dinner. If you’ve invited them to golf with you, you should pay the greens fees. However, if they invite themselves, they should handle their own costs. What you and your wife pay is irrelevant, although you could explain the circumstances if it would make you feel better.
Dear Annie: “Indianapolis” said her brother is in hospice and the wife has disconnected his phone and won’t let anyone visit. Please tell her that even with power of attorney, the sister-in-law and the hospice care facility cannot interfere with his visitors without evidence that such visits are not desired by the brother or are prohibited by a court-ordered restraining order based on the visitor being a danger.
I would suggest that “Indianapolis” contact her local Adult Protective Services or Long-Term Care Ombudsman program (www.ltcombudsman.org). Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are federally mandated, state certified volunteers dedicated to ensuring that individuals in long-term care facilities are treated with dignity. — Kathy Terry MS, Field Services Coordinator, Long-Term Care Services of Ventura County, California, Ombudsman Program
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third 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 www.creators.com.