Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012 8:00 pm
Dear Annie: My niece, “Anna,” is married to “Andy.” He is a real loser. Andy was in the military and was discharged early with a supposed disability from a pain in his hip. He refuses to get a job, because he’s “disabled.” Yet he plays football and basketball, roughhouses with his cousins, and spends the rest of his time playing video games and watching TV.
Andy has Anna brainwashed. She is not allowed to have friends or contact her family. He also doesn’t want her to work. Consequently, they don’t pay their bills. His parents do. They give Andy money and enable this behavior. Worse, they put on airs to impress others and trash talk Anna’s family. Meanwhile, Anna’s family provided a home for them with the understanding that the couple would reimburse them down the road. They did this because Anna was expecting, but she subsequently miscarried.
Andy’s family is very dysfunctional. They’ve always cleaned up his messes and made excuses for his behavior. Anna was reared in a loving, normal family atmosphere. I fear that Andy has her so emotionally cowed that she has forgotten her own potential. Do we continue to keep our distance and not interfere, hoping Anna will come to her senses? — Watching Through Tears
Dear Watching: If Andy prevents Anna from getting a job and keeps her isolated from friends and family, it is abuse. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Give Anna the number for the Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233). You also could call and find out what you can do. But please don’t keep your distance. Anna needs to know she can count on her family to be there when she needs them.
Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for six years. “Stan” belongs to a pool league, which means the guys play in local bars. Stan and one of his buddies told us that wives are not allowed to attend games. But the other two members of the team often have their wives join them. Am I wrong for feeling left out, or should I question his motives? — Peeved in Pennsylvania
Dear Peeved: Obviously, Stan doesn’t want you around when he plays pool. The motive could be completely innocent. He may prefer to have one night with just “the guys,” or he may think your presence will affect his game. But it’s also possible that he uses the time to drink too much or flirt with other women. Tell him you’d like to come along just once to see him play, and then if you trust him, leave it alone.
Dear Annie: You told “In the Middle” that her overweight daughter, “Barbara,” is an adult and her choices are her own, and so are the consequences. Are you saying that Barbara chose to be fat and deserves to be the target of her relatives’ negative remarks?
No one chooses to be fat, and there is a lot of data saying there is a genetic component and that dieting doesn’t work. Barbara and her mother both need to tell Dad and Grandma that they don’t want to hear any more about it and from then on walk out whenever the subject is brought up. — M.
Dear M.: Oh, for heaven’s sake. Regular readers of this column know that we have said numerous times that weight is affected by many things, including genetics, and that negative feedback is counterproductive. Barbara may not choose to be overweight, but she does decide what she eats and how much she exercises. Those choices belong to her, and she should take responsibility for them. Mom has already asked Dad and the other relatives to stop saying unkind things about Barbara’s weight, and it hasn’t made a dent. Mom is stressing out and needs to step back and let Barbara handle this herself.
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.
Published in The Messenger 10.08.12