Dear Annie: My 22-year-old son constantly lies.
He lies about lying.
No one believes anything he says anymore.
Recently I went on vacation, and he decided to vandalize my home.
The police were called, and now we have to go to court.
He doesn’t understand why they were called and why he has to pay me for the damage he caused.
He has also bragged to some people about what happened.
But of course, he lied.
I have talked with him until I’m blue in the face, and nothing changes.
It’s been two months since I’ve spoken to him.
I cannot bring myself to forgive him for the damage to my home.
Is there anything that can be done to make him take responsibility for his behaviour? — Fed-Up Mom
Dear Fed Up: Your son needs therapy.
The fact that he doesn’t understand why lying and stealing are wrong indicates a mental health problem.
Since he is now in the court system, this could be your best opportunity to see that he gets help before it is too late for you to make a difference.
Talk to your lawyer about options.
Dear Annie: Even though I have signs posted by my doors requesting that people not wear their shoes in my beautiful, clean house, they totally ignore me.
I have specifically asked workmen to remove their shoes, only to have them tromp through my house as if it were a barn, spreading dirt and germs.
When I provide house slippers, they wear them outside and then come back in with them still on.
Each time this happens, I have to wash the rugs and clean the entire house (which takes three days) in an attempt not to get sick.
The last time, I was bedridden for two months and it cost me a fortune in out-of-pocket medical expenses.
I don’t feel I should have to explain my medical issues to visitors.
If some social slob ignores my requests, I do not invite them back.
I feel it’s a form of passive-aggression.
What can I do?— Trying To Remain Above Ground
Dear Trying: This is a combination of laziness and a lack of understanding.
Unless someone knows how easily you become ill, it simply sounds as if you are overly obsessive about germs, and they feel free to ignore you.
You are not obligated to inform people of your medical issues, but since you are so severely affected, you might want to open up enough to make them partners in your care, rather than adversaries.
Dear Annie: I had to write in after reading several different letters from readers objecting to women and teens wearing low-cut, form-fitting clothing.
I am one of them.
You suggest women dressed this way are assumed to be “unprofessional,” “teases” or “sexually available.”
Why do women have to rearrange their wardrobe because it may attract a man’s attention?
This is no different from the law in some Islamic countries prohibiting women from wearing bright lipstick and noisy heels to curb “rape” and protect a woman’s “dignity.”
Let’s not go back to the time of feeling shameful about our bodies.
It’s quite apparent this is not a women’s clothing problem.
It’s a man’s issue with women. — It’s a Wardrobe, Not a Calling
Dear Wardrobe: We don’t really care how you choose to dress.
It should be your decision and in compliance with the dress code of your workplace.
Regardless, it certainly does not give men the right to attack you.
But telling men they shouldn’t see women as sexual beings is not going to happen nor, frankly, would most women want it to.
So it’s important that women understand the reality — that the way they present themselves says something about them, good or bad.
The same, by the way, also goes for men.
Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.