I am not a psycho

My husband and I have been happily married for 20 years. After the kids were grown, we decided to downsize.

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been happily married for 20 years. After the kids were grown, we decided to downsize.

We put our home on the market and moved to a different state.

My husband’s mother did not want us to move. She started interfering with the real estate office that was showing our house. She was given written warnings to stay away from the property. She then stripped all our perennials and trellises and took the picnic table and hoses — anything she could get off the property. She left a huge mess, and I had to pay someone to clean it up.

She wouldn’t stop, so I finally called law enforcement. Now members of the family have labelled me “psycho” because I filed a complaint, but the local police haven’t done anything. Mom continues to arrive at showings and claims she is the caretaker. What can I do to stop this woman without breeding more ill will? — Fed-Up Psycho

Dear Fed Up: Your mother-in-law’s behaviour is outrageous. Where is your husband in all this? He should quite firmly inform his mother that her punitive and destructive actions must stop immediately or she risks estrangement from his family. It is obvious that she is so frightened and upset by your departure that she believes her only recourse is sabotage. You both need to reassure her that living elsewhere will not keep you from calling, writing and visiting often. If she is incapable of adjusting, however, suggest she get professional help. It sounds like she could use it.

Dear Annie: I am a 15-year-old freshman. My best friend, “Ella,” recently told me she is constantly depressed. She said she’s tired of living behind a mask and wants people to understand.

Ella told me she’s thought about cutting herself. She is usually a bright and cheery person, so this came as a shock. I can’t help thinking maybe I never knew the real girl. She absolutely refuses to talk to her parents because she dislikes them. To me they seem like great parents, but I don’t live in her house.

What should I do? I don’t want to let Ella down in her time of need — Trying To Understand

Dear Trying: If Ella won’t talk about this with her parents, encourage her to talk to the school counselor, a favourite teacher or other trusted adult. Suggest she get some exercise. It boosts endorphin levels and can make her feel better.

You are a good friend to care about Ella’s mental health. Both of you can get more information through the teens site at kidshealth.org. You also should discuss this with your own parents so they can help you work on it.

Dear Annie: I need to comment on the letter from “Disheartened in Louisiana,” the widow who says all the men she meets want sex, not a relationship. She is either approaching men with the wrong signals or the wrong attitude.

I’ve searched for a companion for 30 years and have been quite discouraged that the women I meet invariably believe the outrageous falsehood “Disheartened” mentions — that all men are sexual creeps out for one thing. We are not. We are human beings and do not deserve to be collectively punished this way.

I have a strong suspicion “Disheartened” finds what she expects to find. And yet, if men did not show any interest in sex, we’d be labeled gay and rejected.

If she operates by testing men and holding our behaviour up to an impossible light, of course we will not wish to have a long-term relationship with her. There is no trust, loyalty or openheartedness in such a woman. — Much Maligned in Michigan

Dear Michigan: You’ve made some good points, but you are just as guilty of stereotyping women. After 30 years of looking, you should get some honest opinions from your friends and relatives about your approach and see if you can learn something.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

Kris Sturgess with Calgary Ghostbusters. (Photo from GoFundMe)
GoFundMe account salutes Red Deer prop builder

Kris Sturgess died unexpectedly April 28

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Gymnastics Canada skipping Olympic qualifier because of COVID-19 concerns

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, in Montreal, Thursday, July 25, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

After pregnancy, injuries and a pandemic, Bishop-Nriagu finally hitting her stride

Lille's Burak Yilmaz, center, reacts with teammates after scoring during their French League One soccer match between Lille and Nice in Villeneuve d'Ascq, northern France, Saturday May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Canada’s Jonathan David scores milestone goal as Lille moves 4 points ahead of PSG

Jean Carlo Salas of Costa Rica vies for the ball with Canada's Ian Bennett (right) during a CONCACAF Futsal Championship in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CONCACAF-Norvin Mendoza MANDATORY CREDIT
Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canada denied a trip to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in penalty shootout loss to Panama

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Canadian Stephen Ames one shot back of leaders at Regions Tradition

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson leaves the ice after defeating China at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Friday, May 7, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Canada’s Einarson beats China 6-4, qualifies for playoffs at world curling playdowns

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. A broad coalition of MPs from all five parties wants the federal government to support waiving the global rules that guard vaccine trade secrets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

As MPs urge support, Trudeau demurs on whether government backs COVID-19 waiver

Most Read