Dear Annie: My daughter has been married to a drug abuser for 10 years. “Rob” can’t keep a job and sells everything on the premises for money to buy more drugs. He even took his nine-year-old daughter with him to trade her TV and other electronics for narcotics.
Rob has been in rehab three times and makes lots of promises, but always goes back to the drugs. My daughter has a responsible job. She has taken Rob’s name off of the chequing accounts and credit cards, and she hides her purse and jewelry every night. She was unable to keep up the house payments, and they are in foreclosure. She is currently living in an apartment, and Rob lives with his parents. With my financial support, she has filed for divorce. So far, I have given her more than $3,000. She lives in another state and has emotional support from her siblings and us by phone.
Here’s the problem. I feel like she is wavering. She keeps talking about what a great dad Rob is when he’s sober and how hard the separation has been on the kids. I know how difficult it is for her to be a single mom. But I have told her that if she does not go through with the divorce, I will not help her again.
Is this too harsh? I want to be there for her, but I have to work, and my income isn’t that big. Any advice on this situation? — Loving Mom, Disgusted Mother-in-Law
Dear Mom: You are not obligated to support your daughter regardless of the circumstances, but we are certain your financial assistance helps her to manage as a single parent. Still, she undoubtedly loves her husband and wants her children to have a full-time father.
And it’s easier to forget the hardships once you are separated from them. Instead of issuing ultimatums, urge her to get into counselling to figure out why she continues to be drawn to someone so needy and incapable of being a true partner to her. Help her to be stronger so her choices will be better.
Dear Annie: During the past year, I have noticed that my 73-year-old mother-in-law seems to be losing her memory and becoming very rattled. She forgets where her son works, what day she is having dinner with us, and where her grandchildren attend school, although she has been there a hundred times. She writes everything down on pieces of paper that she sticks in her purse or strews about the house.
Her friends convinced her to see her internist, which she did. He gave her a series of general questions, which she answered and from which he determined that she was absolutely fine. Mom was thrilled.
How can we get her to see another doctor when she is now convinced that she is perfectly healthy? We know something is going on, and it is just getting worse. — Want To Help
Dear Want: Your mother’s doctor should have tested her for executive functioning, which is probably a different test than the one he administered. However, it still may have been possible for her to pass any test if she was feeling OK that day and not under any stress. Your mother could benefit from seeing a geriatrician, and we recommend you have a referral handy for the next time she is concerned enough about her memory that she is amenable.
Dear Annie: My heart went out to “Worried Woman,” the 54-year-old woman who has no family or friends.
Please tell her to contact the Red Hat Society, an international organization for women of any age, single or married. The goal is friendship and fun. We wear red hats and purple clothes to all of our activities, including outings, dinners and travel. She can find a chapter in her area by searching redhatsociety.com. — M.L.
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.