Dear Annie: My mom is 67 and pure evil. She manipulates her doctors, who don’t know the real truth. I’ve tried to remain patient and respectful, to no avail.
My mom has pushed everyone away. She has no friends. Since my father died, she’s become severely depressed. I’ve supported her and stood by her after all the evil and hateful things she’s done, but I can’t keep doing it.
Her sister came from Europe after a 30-year absence, and Mom treated her so poorly that my aunt says she’ll never come back. Now my mom has a boyfriend she met online who is 12 years younger. She won’t allow him to speak to his family members. She’s become physically and verbally abusive toward everyone.
I know she must be mentally ill, but the psychiatrist is only treating her for depression. Do I need to go to her doctor and explain? — Unhappy Daughter
Dear Unhappy: We cannot imagine what would make your mother “pure evil,” but mental illness can cover a lot of difficult behavior. Some medications that treat depression also alleviate other symptoms, but this doesn’t appear to be the case with Mom. It’s OK for you to notify her psychiatrist’s office that Mom’s behavior is increasingly abusive, but the doctor cannot discuss the treatment with you unless Mom gives her permission. If you think that’s a possibility, please ask her if you can come along to her next appointment.
Dear Annie: I am a college student working as a nanny for a friend of my father’s. They pay much lower than I usually charge, but I don’t mind helping out.
However, this woman and her husband frequently arrive late. As I write this, they are two hours past the time they said they’d be home. Annie, I don’t mind having to stay for an extra hour or so, but they wait until they are more than an hour late before they call to see whether it’s OK. I have missed several appointments at school because they are never on time, even if they promise to be home by a specific hour.
I hate confrontations, and I like this family, but I am frustrated by their lack of respect for my time. How do I handle this? — Frustrated Nanny in Florida
Dear Nanny: This is your business, not a favor for a friend. Be nice, but be professional about it. Tell these people that you will have to charge more if they are late. Let them know in advance when you have appointments set up, and tell them if they are not back by then, you will have to call a substitute. Insist that they provide the phone number for an available neighbor, or you cannot stay. You also could say, “I’m so sorry, but I’ll have to stop working for you because I am too often late for appointments.” And when they promise not to do it again, get the neighbor’s number anyway. Remember that no one can take advantage of you without your permission.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Not a Fan of the Big Gulp,” who was offended that guests brought their own drinks to a bridal shower.
Lately, I’ve also gotten into the habit of bringing my own drinks. I’m allergic to coffee, and many times, that is the only beverage served. Some hosts get offended if you ask in advance what drinks will be available, and I understand that they cannot cater to every individual. The people who brought their own drinks may have had a similar allergy. — Orlando
Dear Orlando: That doesn’t quite cut it. When you are invited to someone’s home, it is rude to bring your own beverages, especially when they are large soft drinks in plastic tubs. Those who are allergic to coffee, tea, lemonade or anything else can politely ask for a glass of water.
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 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.