Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 25 Sep 2017 04:05:37 -0700 Classic Annie's Mailbox from Creators Syndicate a47e52dca3b90ba46e21d41aa1e10a13 You Are Not a Joke for 09/25/2017 Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: When I was little, my mother would insist, "I'm not your mother." I'd be convinced and start to cry. Then she would say, "I'm just kidding." As a 6-year-old, I was afraid of the vacuum. She unplugged it and told me it was OK to sit on it. When I did, she turned it on and scared me to death. When I was a teen, she said, "No one will ever want you." When I reached my 20s, she told me I was an unwanted pregnancy. </p> <p>My entire life, I've been the butt of her "jokes." Any kindness from her comes with the price tag of putting up with her nastiness. Honestly, I feel bullied. Nothing I say or do is good enough. The days of expecting her approval are long past, and I know she will never give me the positive acceptance I crave. But where do I go from here? &#8212; Grown Up</p> <p>Dear Grown Up: No stable person would play such sadistic practical jokes on her child. It's possible this is the way your mother was raised or, just as likely, she suffers from some type of mental illness. Knowing this might help you respond to her sickness with a more distant compassion, instead of making it a reflection on you or your relationship. Please contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness ( at 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264) for more information.<p>Updated: Mon Sep 25, 2017</p> 945e77dce8629bab5be1e15c3cc8d9be Punishment by Proxy for 09/24/2017 Sun, 24 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I have been with my boyfriend, "Tom," for more than a year. We love each other very much. </p> <p>However, early in our relationship, I was coming out of a rough breakup with my ex. I made a huge mistake thinking I could keep the ex as a friend. We met for dinner and ended up kissing. I confessed to Tom, who briefly broke things off. He eventually took me back, and I haven't spoken to my ex since. </p> <p>The problem is, Tom's sister and mother have not been so forgiving. His sister ignores or insults me when I come to their house. Tom's mother does the same, although only when his sister is around. At first I accepted it because I deserved it. But it's been nearly a year, and things have only gotten worse. I have apologized repeatedly, to no avail. Tom's best friend recently moved in with him, and now the guy's girlfriend is at Tom's house a lot. We used to be on good terms, but they have poisoned her against me. <p>Updated: Sun Sep 24, 2017</p> 910fe18cf2bdd6f618f9e0e33368c339 Dreading Debt for 09/23/2017 Sat, 23 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My daughter, "Gina," was the first one in our family to go to college. Of course, we all were proud. She chose a school that was rather pricey, but she had some scholarships and loans. She graduated last year.</p> <p>In college, Gina needed me to be a cosigner on her loan. Now I am discovering the cost of doing so. Gina did not get a job right after graduation, and her bills have come due in a big way. The loan companies are demanding their money and are going to start tapping Gina's wages. She makes just enough to get by as it is. </p> <p>I understand the loan companies are due their money, but they are not willing to work with Gina so she can pay an affordable amount each month. I assume they will get around to going after my wages, as well, and I can't afford that, either, since I am a sole homeowner with my own bills. <p>Updated: Sat Sep 23, 2017</p> 3845b0a42e37a4684bb64b39c7fa445d It Takes Two to Tango for 09/22/2017 Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: May I, a male in his 70s, respond to "Bob," who said that aging, obese, snoring and unhealthy women are the reasons for bedroom problems? Perhaps in his home, but not in ours. I can't pinpoint exactly when intimacy began evolving into something deeper, but when I retired, I became so appreciative of this woman who, for more than 30 years, managed our home and family and always ensured that my life was as comfortable as possible. I show my love and thanks by having her coffee ready each morning and performing household labor. I don't mind that her body has added weight (so has mine). I compliment her continuing beauty, magnificent heart and kindness to others. &#8212; Kathy's Grateful Husband </p> <p>Dear Grateful: Bless your heart. We were overwhelmed with mail from men and women, agreeing and disagreeing with Bob. Read on for a tiny sample:</p> <p>From Kentucky: "Bob" is right. Men don't look at obese women walking by. But you won't see a woman taking a second look at an obese man, either. The majority of obese people have chosen that course by eating too much. <p>Updated: Fri Sep 22, 2017</p> ed1a1e751458b064307aa1e77ce62397 Your Reaction is Fueling Her Fire for 09/21/2017 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My wife, my granddaughter and I recently took a six-hour flight home. I thought we'd have the middle section to ourselves, but when we boarded, I noticed there were four seats. As I put our carry-on luggage into the overhead bin, I saw my wife plop herself next to a male passenger. </p> <p>Whenever I fly with my wife, she always says she needs to sleep and doesn't want to talk. But on this flight, she started a conversation with this man and never once looked in my direction. When snacks were served, my wife handed one to the guy, but paid no attention to our granddaughter or me. Then, when I pulled out the breakfast sandwiches I had purchased earlier, she gave hers to the male passenger.</p> <p>I was furious. She chatted with this guy for the entire flight. The only time she spoke to me was when she needed me to move in order to use the restroom. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 21, 2017</p> a062c3a6656484201f0cb196d616bdbb She is Rude for 09/20/2017 Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: Our son has been dating "Nicole" for several years. She has two teenage daughters from a previous marriage. Although they live several hours from us, my husband and I have done everything to make "Nicole" feel welcome. </p> <p>Last Christmas, she and her daughters opened their gifts, tossed them aside and went to watch TV. In May, I sent her a Mother's Day card wishing her a nice day with her kids. She responded with an e-mail saying that since her mother passed away, she no longer celebrates Mother's Day. A month later, she was in an accident and spent a few days in the hospital. We sent flowers and wishes for a speedy recovery. Our son said the flowers were not her favorite so she threw them out. </p> <p>Two months ago, my son proposed to Nicole. We sent a nice engagement gift with a note saying we would be happy to help with the wedding preparations. After two weeks, I asked my son whether the gift had arrived. He said, "Yes. It's sitting on the table. She hasn't got around to opening it." A day later she sent an e-mail that said, "I will be making my own decisions about the wedding." No mention of the gift. <p>Updated: Wed Sep 20, 2017</p> 425fdc3603c4c9e389123057a1d9ad55 Occupy Yourself Without Him for 09/19/2017 Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am 23 years old and have been dating "Tom" for two years. He works in a demanding job that requires an extensive amount of travel. He's away almost six months of the year. </p> <p>When Tom isn't traveling, he's with me during the week, but spends most weekends going places with his fraternity or visiting his parents. This means for the six months he's in town, I get perhaps one weekend.</p> <p>We are saving for a house, and Tom's constant recreational travel is cutting into our budget. I want our couple time back, as well as time to take care of things at home. I've suggested compromises (such as two weekends away and two weekends home), but things always come up that he "has to do." Two months ago, I was let go from my job. That same afternoon, Tom left on a trip with friends that could have easily been cancelled. I can't use those same weekends to visit my family because they are too far away, so I spend a lot of time sitting home alone.<p>Updated: Tue Sep 19, 2017</p> 9d273e93152e25dafed3fc08e9134ff7 Do Not Repeat the Cycle for 09/18/2017 Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My brother and I grew up in the shadow of our older sister, "Nina." Nina had new clothes while we had stained, torn hand-me-downs. If I asked for something, I was called a "spoiled, selfish brat." If our plans conflicted with Nina's, we had to cancel ours. Mom always favored her. Nina's needs always came before ours. My father didn't notice or didn't care. </p> <p>I am now an adult, living on my own, and my mother still treats me like this. The thing that kills me is that she will ask me for an extreme favor and become furious if I turn her down. Of course, when I ask her for help, she runs for the hills. </p> <p>My boyfriend and I are talking about marriage and children. I don't want this cycle repeated. I cannot have my mother treating my children as second-class grandchildren. The things she has said to me over the years still hurt to this day. But I do want a relationship with my parents. Is it possible to have one like they have with Nina? Is it worth it? &#8212; Distraught Daughter <p>Updated: Mon Sep 18, 2017</p> ed0310a84fcd25eade4e4beb153fba51 Anxiety is More Common than You Think for 09/17/2017 Sun, 17 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: Am I strange? I like to keep my house clean and neat. In addition, I check for items that may need fixing so the house is not in disrepair. Although friends and family think I am "anal," I do not feel that I am obsessive. </p> <p>I also have many fears, some of which are entirely baseless. I am in anguish if I have to travel on a highway, imagining worst-case scenarios. Five years ago, my husband and I started driving 1,500 miles for our winter vacation. (Flying is too expensive.) With speed limits up to 70 mph, I am scared out of my mind. Last year, on the day of our trip, I awoke with a migraine and started to vomit. Another trip is coming up in the fall. I might as well have a heart attack and get it over with. </p> <p>I believe I inherited this type of thinking from my mother. I am sure that I am not alone with these problems. Can we change who we are? Please do not suggest counseling. &#8212; Too Clean, Too Fearful <p>Updated: Sun Sep 17, 2017</p> 572386682fccec7f1a07b7c2bf18284e How Do We Help? for 09/16/2017 Sat, 16 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I've been friends with a small group of people since junior high. We're in our late 50s now, and though none of us has set the world on fire, we have good families and stable careers. All except "Joe." </p> <p>Ever since he was a boy, Joe dreamed of making it big in a profession in which, with a good deal of skill and some luck, you can make a lot of money in a relatively short time. Unfortunately, Joe's skills are no better than average, and he's never had much luck. He hasn't gotten further than the fringes of his dream profession, no matter how hard he's tried. But that's his dream, and he is absolutely sure his big break is right around the corner. His interests haven't changed since junior high.</p> <p>Joe has had one entry-level job after another, with no interest in moving up the ladder. He's never had a serious relationship. Joe is a nice guy, and we all like him, but if we hadn't been friends all these years, no one in our group would have anything in common with him at all.<p>Updated: Sat Sep 16, 2017</p> bc8587a4fbbaecf3a479152830b0b8f4 Are You Helping or Enabling? for 09/15/2017 Fri, 15 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: When can we stop giving our children money? When is enough enough?</p> <p>My daughter and her husband are in their mid-30s. They bought a house they could not afford. On top of that, they are in the middle of filing for bankruptcy, as they have been overspending for years. My daughter works two jobs that provide neither a consistent paycheck nor benefits. Her husband's job is more stable, but his salary is low. </p> <p>At one point, we gave her one of our used cars, which she was able to keep running for a couple of years. When that car died, I took money out of my retirement fund to buy her a used car. My son-in-law's mother just bought them a new oven.<p>Updated: Fri Sep 15, 2017</p> 6a474493748e16188f5723d881c2338a There is Only So Much You Can Do for 09/14/2017 Thu, 14 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I am a teenager in high school with two close friends, "Emma" and "Vienna." Emma was recently diagnosed with OCD and bipolar disorder. Ever since the diagnosis, there have been many conflicts. Emma is now really sensitive, and if Vienna or I say anything even mildly offensive, she gets super angry. </p> <p>This past summer, we all worked at a local kids' camp. When one of the instructors joked around, Emma took it seriously and became upset. She then talked with the instructor and his boss. All I know is that it didn't end well, and Emma quit. </p> <p>I will often get a call from Emma saying she is lonely and needs someone to talk to. She likes to reminisce, regretting things she said and did in the past. I try to comfort her by keeping her company. <p>Updated: Thu Sep 14, 2017</p> efb82b8a0511720e90c334eaf949b619 Mentally Ill or Pure Evil? for 09/13/2017 Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>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.</p> <p>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. </p> <p>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. <p>Updated: Wed Sep 13, 2017</p> ea9767e795f6cababd7e7cec9783815d He Needs to Help Himself, Too for 09/12/2017 Tue, 12 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My wife's sister and her husband moved in with my mother-in-law 30 years ago. Mom was the sole caregiver until age limited her ability, and then government aid allowed for home assistance. Mom supported them while my brother-in-law spent every dime on alcohol and toys. When Mom died two years ago, my sister-in-law ended up in a nursing home. My brother-in-law is in bankruptcy and has done nothing to plan for his wife's needs.</p> <p>My wife owns the house, although there is a lien on it from the state because of the aid my sister-in-law received. My wife and I cannot manage the responsibility or expense of maintaining the home, and we'd like to sell it and pay back the state. </p> <p>Four months ago, we informed my brother-in-law that we will be putting it up for sale. But he has not moved out. In fact, he says his lawyer told him he can drag it out for a year. <p>Updated: Tue Sep 12, 2017</p> 89c22f2fd44c301401841e2a55a4dc0e Let Her Fight With Herself for 09/11/2017 Mon, 11 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I live far away from my family, but try to keep in touch. The problem is my sister, "Diane," who always misinterprets what I say. </p> <p>Last month, for example, we were talking about Dr. Oz when I commented that we'd have to wait 20 years to see whether some of those suggestions work. That night, Diane told my brother that I said I wouldn't care if she died. I tried to call, email and text to smooth things over, but she wouldn't answer. My mom doesn't want us to fight. I had no idea we were "fighting" until my brother told me. </p> <p>A week later, Diane allowed me to apologize, and things were fine, but it has happened again. I suggested that we limit our Thanksgiving guests to the immediate family (24 people). Again, I got a call from my brother saying Diane thinks I hate her in-laws. I tried to contact her to explain, but she is ignoring me.<p>Updated: Mon Sep 11, 2017</p> 2a71186c9fecf3e19c1b94ff730d6c55 Suicide Prevention for 09/10/2017 Sun, 10 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: On September 10, people throughout the world will be observing World Suicide Prevention Day, an annual event co-sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). </p> <p>Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the world. Approximately one million people worldwide die by suicide each year. This corresponds to one every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined. These figures do not include suicide attempts, which may be up to 20 times the number of deaths. </p> <p>The economic costs associated with self-inflicted death or injuries are estimated to be in the billions of dollars a year. The psychological and social impact of suicide on the family and community is staggering. <p>Updated: Sun Sep 10, 2017</p> 51fd9c7d217d63136adfac22ad114418 See Your Grandchild for 09/09/2017 Sat, 09 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 30 years. We each have adult children from previous marriages. One, "Luella," only wants a relationship when it suits her. We don't hear from her on Father's Day, but if you miss something for her, she's "hurt." She's a taker, not a giver. </p> <p>A year ago, Luella had a baby. We asked about visiting, but Luella simply didn't respond. We offered to help when the baby came home from the hospital, but were told they wanted to "bond as a family," and we respected that. Finally, in desperation, I put the ball in her court. She didn't like it one bit, but after a particularly vitriolic email, she finally gave us a date to come visit.</p> <p>Luella lives across the country, and it's not easy to get there, financially and physically. We would be willing to go if we felt we were welcome. So should we go or wait until she is more eager to see us? We don't want to be labeled as disinterested grandparents, nor do we want to be resented. The joy of meeting our new granddaughter has been diminished by Luella's attitude. What would you do? &#8212; The Undoubtedly Wicked Stepmother <p>Updated: Sat Sep 09, 2017</p> 2eeb75ac30ea3f463c9f489c487d290c I Had No Idea for 09/08/2017 Fri, 08 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: I had to respond to the letter from "Seeing Red About Blue," whose son is in a wheelchair. She often finds the striped area next to the handicapped parking spot occupied, blocking safe passage back into her van. </p> <p>I have a motorcycle. I used to park in those blue-striped areas because they were a perfect fit for my bike. I had a feeling they might not be OK to park in, but I had no idea what they were for and didn't see any harm in leaving my bike there. </p> <p>One day a woman approached me and actually explained that parking my motorcycle in the striped spot made it difficult for someone in a wheelchair to safely access their car, because I was blocking the route. <p>Updated: Fri Sep 08, 2017</p> 4f5d60101a2c4f591dc50fdcb4fc42e6 Ask Without Pushing for 09/07/2017 Thu, 07 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My older sister, "Susie," is 33 and has been receiving financial support from my parents for more than a decade. They give her money outright and also pay her car insurance, health insurance and other bills. Susie does not work. She's in a master's program, but it is unclear whether she will finish. My mother believes she needs to help Susie, as she has had mental illness issues throughout her adulthood. </p> <p>I am not upset that Susie is receiving money from my parents. It also doesn't bother me that I am not likely to receive similar assistance. But I worry that my parents are giving Susie no reason to finish her degree or pursue a job. I consider it enabling.</p> <p>On several occasions, Susie has maxed out her credit cards, and my mother paid those off. My parents do not have the money to continue doing this. Is it appropriate to speak with them about this? &#8212; A Sister Who Doesn't Know What To Do<p>Updated: Thu Sep 07, 2017</p> 477201c91d06478cb2828771acea1655 Communication is Key for 09/06/2017 Wed, 06 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 18 years, and we have three children. I always thought we got along great. Over the past few years, we have not been as intimate as we once were, and I attributed it to busy schedules, children, etc. However, recently I discovered that my wife has been having internet chats with a particular gentleman, and these chats get rather steamy. </p> <p>Annie, I cannot even get my wife to hug me without resistance, but yet she can talk to a stranger like this. She doesn't know that I have seen these conversations. Is the handwriting on the wall? Should I prepare myself for her to leave? &#8212; Confused in Virginia</p> <p>Dear Confused: Some women (and men) enjoy flirting online with anonymous strangers. It's playacting and fantasy, and they don't believe these relationships will threaten their marriages. But even if your wife is not looking for real-life excitement, you should not ignore this. Please don't jump to conclusions. A crucial part of marriage is good communication. <p>Updated: Wed Sep 06, 2017</p>