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The Trouble with Schizophrenia

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Dear Annie: Thirty years ago, our son was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He has been hospitalized more than once, although he believes it was only to "punish" him. In the past few years, he has refused all psychiatric intervention.

"Robert" has lived independently for 18 years. He displays delusional and paranoid behavior. We do not know whether he still takes the antipsychotic medicine that was prescribed 20 years ago. We are grateful that he doesn't drink or do drugs, but he is a chain smoker and eats voraciously. His weight is more than 300 pounds, and he is diabetic and takes blood pressure pills. He has anger issues and an irrational fear of being injected with anything.

Mental health professionals have given up on him. Robert doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. Living alone only worsens his illness, but he is averse to being told what to do. How do I help him? — Fear for My Son

Dear Fear: It's terribly sad and stressful, but there is only so much you can do to protect a mentally ill adult who refuses to take medication, get therapy or be helped in any way. The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers a 12-week Family-to-Family program for those dealing with family members who are mentally ill. Please contact them at 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264) (nami.org).

Dear Annie: My husband often must go out of state on business for months at a time. In order for us to be together, he buys me a ticket to join him whenever he accumulates enough frequent flyer miles. Right now, he's in California. He recently missed my birthday, saying he didn't have enough mileage to fly me there.

However, I discovered that wasn't true. He had enough miles, but his mother and sister demanded that he use them for them because they've always wanted to go to California. So he's saving his miles in order to have enough for their two tickets.

I am furious.

I have no intention of sitting home alone while they enjoy the time with my husband that should be mine. How do I make them understand that by requesting two tickets, they are using up two future chances for me to spend time with my husband? And how do I make my husband understand how hurt I am that he would even consider doing this? — The Wife

Dear Wife: While we understand that you want every trip to be yours, the real issue here is that your husband didn't consult you first, and then lied about the availability of his frequent flyer miles. We think he avoids confrontation, not only with you, but also with his family members. This is how workable issues turn into major arguments.

Here's a possible compromise: Suggest that his sister pay for her own ticket, allowing Mom to have the freebie. You would only lose one trip. Your mother-in-law likely doesn't get to see her son very often, and she misses him. This would be a special treat. If you approach it in a conciliatory way, your husband will not only appreciate your generosity, but he also will be more inclined to discuss these things with you in the future. And that should be your ultimate goal.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Ex-In-Laws," who are getting calls from debt collectors looking for their ex-daughter-in-law.

Please inform them that all they need to do is call the phone company and put a block on the unwanted calls. They should then inform the ex-daughter-in-law about the route they took to rid themselves of what is a nerve-wracking intrusion. Hope this helps. — Ann from Louisiana

Dear Ann: Blocking calls can work, but it requires regular maintenance because debt collectors often will call from different numbers when the old ones are blocked. But it's worth trying.

Happy Easter to all our Christian readers.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM



Comments

50 Comments | Post Comment
HAPPY EASTER ALL!!!!

LW1: You say that your son lives independantly, does he work? What TYPE of delusional behavior does he exhibit? I'm a little torn on this one. First of all, if YOU are supporting him, there has to be a way to make sure that a condition of his support is him taking his meds. If you are NOT supporting him.... well, there is not much you can do. If his delusions are in any way dangerous, you have to report it to the police, or some kind of county health department. My heart aches for you.. this can't be easy to go through.

LW2: WOW You have much bigger problems than a ticket to CA. I didn't even bother to read The Annies convoluted compromise because it's not the point. The point is you have a marriage that is in deep trouble. Your letter drips with resentment: and it's not about the ticket to CA. It is probably more about the time he spends apart from you. When he DOES see you, do you nag at him? I'm not blaming you, I'm asking you. Because he's obviously afraid to tell you the truth. I feel like a broken record here, but you really need to think about counseling.

LW3: You too, miss the point. You can block calls, not answer the phone, etc. but the bill collectors will ALWAYS find you.
Comment: #1
Posted by: nanchan
Sat Apr 7, 2012 10:05 PM
The Annie's are right about blocking calls and collectors swapping out phone numbers. But they don't offer any help for people who are wrongfully harassed for others debts. I'd love to find out how to put an end to calls for people I don't know!! Two years ago, I bought a house that had been foreclosed, and had sat empty for nearly a year without utilities or mail delivery. As soon as imoved in, turned everything and and started getting mail, I started getting calls and letters for the debts of the previous homeowners. The collection call people flat out accused me of lying to them about my identity and lack of knowledge regarding the previous residents. The calls came at all hours of the day and night, and just about drove me nuts. I blocked one number after another, but the phone company limited me to ten blocked numbers. The calls tapered off after about a year, but I still get a half dozen or so a week.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Jo
Sat Apr 7, 2012 10:52 PM
I was assigned the old cellphone number of a woman who apparently never paid her bills. Most debt collectors were very nice when I explained, but one was a virtual stalker: I had to tell him and write the company president, saying that since they had been informed that I was not the debtor, pursuant to Section 805(c) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, they had to notify me that they were terminating any efforts to collect money from me, the non-debtor. I think the thing that clinched it, though, was that I sent a duplicate letter to the company owner at his home (easy enough to find out who owns what from the Secy of State or Corporation Commission, and where they live). The calls stopped immediately--hope this helps.
Comment: #3
Posted by: angoradeb
Sat Apr 7, 2012 11:20 PM
LW3- Or, you could just avail yourself of the caller ID that you probably already have. Sheesh.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Lucy
Sat Apr 7, 2012 11:26 PM
This is my last try - for some reason, my posts are not posting - go figure--might be the links.

to Jo and LW3; google 8 things debt collectors won't tell you. It is ILLEGAL for these collection companies to even DISCUSS debt collection with a 3rd party person; you could threaten to turn them in, because LEGALLY, you shouldn't even know this persons name they are talking about - or rather, WHY they are calling YOU. Threaten to turn them in to authorities, as well as the company(s) they are working for. might take a while, but I bet the calls will stop. GOOD LUCK!
Comment: #5
Posted by: sotelling
Sat Apr 7, 2012 11:43 PM
* * * * PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT * * * *

LW3 refers to the first letter on 2 March 2012.

Comment: #6
Posted by: Miss Pasko
Sun Apr 8, 2012 12:54 AM
LW3: like Lucy says, use your caller ID, folks... I've had it for 20+ years, and I've probably answered 3 unwanted calls in all that time. If you're the type of person who thinks it's rude to not answer the phone, then this is a perfect example of the unnecessary problems you're causing yourself.
@Nanchan - not true, because the calls weren't for the LW, they were for a 3rd party. I have caller ID and never once spoke to a bill collector for an old roommate (who called hundreds of times). Didn't bother me any.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Steve C
Sun Apr 8, 2012 1:11 AM
I agree with Steve C and Lucy -- simply DON'T ANSWER the calls that show up on Caller ID as "unknown" or numbers you can identify with the bill collectors. I don't know anyone these days who doesn't have Caller ID. I believe the Phone Company charges extra for blocking certain numbers, and the amount of numbers they'll block is limited. I bought a new phone recently and found out after I got it that it has a feature to block up to 60 phone numbers, plus all calls from blocked numbers. It's made by Panasonic and only cost about $40. I don't have bill collectors bothering me, but I've used it to block solicitation calls. I had no idea it had this feature when I bought it, but it's sure come in handy -- and of course, it's FREE.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Kitty
Sun Apr 8, 2012 3:39 AM
Re: Kitty

Could we have the model number of that phone? I'd love to get one!
Comment: #9
Posted by: Lynn
Sun Apr 8, 2012 4:48 AM
Re: Lynn

Sure! It's a Panasonic 6.0, "Expandable Digital Cordless Phone". Several model numbers, so make sure and check which features it has. I'm not sure, but I think all of them have the call block feature, but some have built-in answering machines and some don't.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Kitty
Sun Apr 8, 2012 4:56 AM
LW1: I guess it really does depend on how serious your son's behavior is (especially if you think he is a danger to himself or others) and whether or not he's financially independent or if you are still taking care of him. I'm also a *little* surprised that you say mental health care professionals have "given up on him", because I'm sure that he should still have a regular doctor and he *should* have a regular psychiatrist, especially if there are drug prescriptions involved. If he doesn't have these, he *should* and it really just means finding a new set of doctors if others have "given up". (I wonder if it isn't the other way around, though -- that your son gave up, or he was so difficult that you gave up, taking him).

Few of us here -- including the Annies! -- have the kind of expertise to really tell you what is best, especially since there is a lot of information we still don't have. I would say, however, that IF you think he might harm himself or others, then it doesn't matter if he "doesn't like to be told what to do" -- it may be that getting him into a more controlled environment really is the best option. Maybe the organization the Annies recommended can help you work through the options.

LW2: I'm conflicted -- I'm sympathetic with the idea of wanting to spend time with your partner, especially if he travels a lot for business. On the other hand, it really does sound like there's some kind of communication problem with your husband. If he uses all his extra miles to spend time with you, how often does he get to see his other family members? You don't give us any idea of when the last time he actually even spent any time with his mother was. Of course, you should come first, but if your insistence that he only travel with you has actually limited his contact with his mother and sister, then I think maybe you ought to re-think this and compromise a bit.

And still, though, he should not have hidden this from you or lied about it. That's bad as well. And you should take a step back and ask yourself if you might be controlling him so much that you created a situation where he felt like he couldn't even mention it to you, or if he's got some other problem. (Annies point that he avoids conflict -- with you and with his mom and sisters -- is entirely possible).

So, here, I think it's likely that both the husband and the LW might have some things to work on in this situation.
Comment: #11
Posted by: Mike H
Sun Apr 8, 2012 5:05 AM
"The Wife" sounds like an absolute pill! "I am furious. I have no intention of sitting home alone while they enjoy the time with my husband that should be mine." Because, of course, she is so much more important than this man's mother. And the fact that he lied to her about it makes it pretty clear he doesn't want to deal with her ranting when she doesn't get her way. Maybe she should consider getting a job and a life.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Sun Apr 8, 2012 5:58 AM
LW1--"He has anger issues and an irrational fear of being injected with anything." "...he is averse to being told what to do." Medical professionals haven't given up on your son; your son has given up on himself. This is someone who takes his psychotropic medications sporadically (if at all at this point) due to a fear of injections; eats like a pig in spite of the fact that he's grossly overweight and a diabetic and refuses to listen to anyone's advice because he doesn't like being told what to do. Who wouldn't throw up his arms in frustration when dealing with such a difficult person? If you want your son to lose weight, you're going to have to play hardball. That means you play on his paranoia. Send him article clippings about "pink slime" and other chemicals or suspicious additives found in today's processed foods. Maybe he'll stop injecting himself with so much pizza if he realizes the boxes they come in also contain perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) which is classified as a carcinogenic chemical. Beyond that, there's not much else you can do. You can't help those who refuse to help themselves.

LW2--"I have no intention of sitting home alone while they enjoy the time with my husband that should be mine." Lady, who do you think you are fooling? You're a controlling little egomaniac! That you would deprive your husband a rare holiday with his mother and sister because you DEMAND he spend each and every chance he gets with you is beyond selfish. He lied to you about the tickets because he was probably too emasculated to tell you that you're smothering him. Stop being so clingy. So he missed your birthday, what are you twelve? The more demands you make on your husband's time and the more you try to alienate him from his family the more he's going to resent you. Don't be surprised of your husband begins to accumulate fewer and fewer frequent flier points in the future to the point where one of these days he'll be flying out one-way.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Chris
Sun Apr 8, 2012 6:07 AM
LW3 - Hi there. Welcome to 2012. "The Phone Company" can't/won't put a block on these calls. I've been with "the phone company" for 3O years. The caller will be sold Caller ID and told how it works. But, hey thanks for the 1970's suggestion. Here's a handy tip from the phone company: get call ID and when you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't answer it. Let it go to voice mail* and then, if they leave a message call them back if necessary.

*another late 20th century invention.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Rick
Sun Apr 8, 2012 6:28 AM
LW1 - That sucks. I feel for you. Do what the Annies suggested and get some help for you. Your son's situation is what it is for better or worse and I hope you can get some help in dealing with it. You can't fix him.


LW2 - What a selfish piece of work you are. Your husband can't spend time in a nice location with his own sister and mother without you going all bat shyt crazy? No wonder he lied to you. Your reaction (your letter being evidence) wouldn't have been worth it. Get some hobbies and find something to do with your time besides pining away for your hubby while hes' earning a living for you both. This coming from a guy who's father worked away from home for months at a time before frequeint flyer miles were invented. Mom and kids did just fine, thank you very much.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Rick
Sun Apr 8, 2012 6:33 AM
I'm going to go against the majority and say that I really don't see LW2 as the bad guy here. She doesn't get to see her husband for months at a time. He lies to her and misses her birthday to fly his sister and mother in. Yes, he deserves to see his other family members as well. But I expect my husband to want to spend time with me on my birthday and I know that he expects the same of me. And lies should never be part of a marriage. The Annie's advice is way off. The letter writer's birthday is already passed and the husband has already made the decision.


My suggestion is that the letter writer don't try to confront her in-laws. This isn't their problem. It was her husband who made the decision to lie to her and to use those tickets for something else. You say you are not going to sit home alone. So don't! Take the money you would have spent hanging out with your husband and go out. Pamper yourself. Go to the movie with a friend. Enjoy a belated birthday sans husband. When he gets home from his trip and only once he's settled in (because I know I hate being ambushed at the door), then talk to him. Be open to listening to, in case you really are the demanding shrew that the other commenters see.


It may be that you are a shrew or that your husband is simply clueless and easily manipulated by his family. And/or it could very well be that (as someone said above) your marriage is in a great deal of trouble.
Comment: #16
Posted by: Datura
Sun Apr 8, 2012 6:53 AM
I have to comment on the people who say just don't answer the phone if you don't recognize the number. The daughter of the people we bouht our house from had bad credit. Not long after we moved in, the debt collectors would call. They had apparently done a reverse address look-up to get our phone number since the old number wasn't working. Every time one of these people would call, I would tell them that that woman doesn't live here anymore; I didn't know where she was; we are on the do not call registry and if they call again, I'd report them. Then if/when they'd call again, I'd go to the do not call website and file a complaint. The calls would stop very quickly. If you don't answer the phone to tell them it's the wrong number, the calls will just keep coming. I found the solution that worked for us. I hope this will help the others with the same problem.
Comment: #17
Posted by: Yxl's Mom
Sun Apr 8, 2012 6:55 AM
LW1 I will just steal a statement from todays Ann Landers, "Your letter has a whining quality that really turned me off." Mother + sister OR whining wife. I'm guessing he made his choice. Maybe if you called your MIL and SIL and told them how happy you were that they got this great trip your husband might be more willing to be more honest with you in the future. I also think he should grow a backbone and level with his wife. I agree that the husbands dishonesty was wrong but there is some back-story there as to why he lied. Again, if all the pertinent facts have been included in the letter, I'm siding with the BTLers on this. If the couple were newly weds and the family had been unkind to the LW I might feel differently but certainly that would have been brought up as to the reason why she felt so furious. He's MY husband and he MISSED my birthday seem a very childish. Kinda like 'MINE, MINE, MINE.' I'm guessing that she doesn't get along with her ILs
Comment: #18
Posted by: Penny
Sun Apr 8, 2012 7:09 AM
What's with all this rancor towards LW2?!
I'm telling you right now, I'm no shrew, but if my husband lied to me about frequent flyer miles and refused to fly me to join him on my birthday, and decided to fly my MIL and SIL out there instead (for no special occasion) I'd be pretty furious too. So they always wanted to go to California. Well, why don't they fly themselves out there?

All this sympathy for the husband's lies because he was (supposedly) afraid of his wife's temper. What is he, five years old? When are people going to stop expecting grown men to act like children? It's obvious where this man's priorities lie, and they're not with his wife. I agree with Datura that she should take a nice vacation by herself while he's gone, and if her husband decides to carp about it, she should just say that she's buying herself a birthday gift, since he couldn't be bothered.

I'm totally with the wife on this one. If she's angry, I think she has every right to be. However, it seems that a woman can't get angry. even for valid reasons, without being accused of being a harpy or a shrew.
Comment: #19
Posted by: JMG
Sun Apr 8, 2012 7:19 AM
RE: LW2 - My thought was why is it the husband's responsibility to get his mother and sister to California to visit him? Why don't they pay their own way to see him? If he was "rolling in money" then he would be able to have his wife, mother and sister visit him wthout using flyer miles to get them there. I think it also matters how many months of the year the husband is away - is he gone for 4, then home for 1, then gone again, etc? Or is he gone each year for one 4 month period? If he's gone all the time, then I think it's a much bigger deal that the wife is expected to not see her husband so the mother and sister can have a vacation - remember the LW said that they've always wanted to go to California - not that they missed the son/brother.
Comment: #20
Posted by: Just my opinion
Sun Apr 8, 2012 7:29 AM
Re: JMG, can't say I disagree if the LWs tone wasn't so off-putting. " but his mother and sister 'DEMANDED' that he use them for them because they've always wanted to go to California." How does ones sister demand anything? I'm not giving that one much credence, of course I could be wrong. The LW, from her tone alone, sounds like the demanding one. I am just going by how the LW 'sounds' in her letter. Without hearing the words perhaps the BTLers are not getting the correct take on this situation. Your take on the letter may certainly be the correct one.
Comment: #21
Posted by: Penny
Sun Apr 8, 2012 7:40 AM
@ JMG

"When are people going to stop expecting grown men to act like children?"

Maybe when women and the media stop treating men like overgrown children. Watched any network sitcoms lately? Any commercials for that matter? Have you read half the letters on this site? Men are often treated as though they're oafish Neanderthals who can't function without the gentle but stern guidance of a woman. A study from the Chartered Institute of Marketing found two thirds of people believe women are now portrayed in advertisements as intelligent, assertive and caring, while men are shown as pathetic and silly. Only 14 percent said men came across as intelligent. Who defends heterosexual men when they are depicted as hormonal rejects? Burping, farting, ignorant, and virtually useless; that's how the average man is depicted nowadays. More and more it seems that women are being depicted as the intelligent, all-knowing beings and average Joes are, well, the morons of the operation. Ladies, you should have been more careful with what you wished for...
Comment: #22
Posted by: Chris
Sun Apr 8, 2012 7:50 AM
Before whaling on the guy in letter 1 about what a horrible pig he is, maybe you ought to stop and consider the whole person. The LW says she doesn't know if he is taking his medication but if he is:

From NIMH: "Atypical antipsychotic medications can cause major weight gain and changes in a person's metabolism. This may increase a person's risk of getting diabetes and high cholesterol."

Many of our mentally ill are faced with a choice between taking care of their mental health or taking care of their physical health, a really horrible situation that I'd never want to be in. Unfortunately the problems just get compounded when the ignorant want to sit in judgement of them without knowing anything about their situation.

So what would you do? Would you rather be 300 pounds or would you rather be unable to tell what is actual real in your environment?
Comment: #23
Posted by: SusanM
Sun Apr 8, 2012 7:59 AM
Re: Chris

You do have a point, and you're not the only one who sees that. The theme has been emphasized over and over, that men are depicted as overgrown adolescents and oafish cavemen in the media.

It does trouble me, and it troubles me more when many men seem willing to go along with these stereotypes. (Ex.: movies like 'American Pie' and 'The Hangover') .

But the media, as we all know, is not the ultimate mirror of reality. There are good, mature adult men out there, and I was lucky enough to find one.

Comment: #24
Posted by: JMG
Sun Apr 8, 2012 8:13 AM
UNKNOWN NAME UNKNOWN NUMBER. Yikes! I have to answer all calls because my husband works out of town, maybe a day's drive away on any given day. He never knows where he'll be from one day to the next. We went with a cable provider so our number is changed and that stopped many calls. I found that putting yourself on the do not call list simply made you get more calls! When I get a call that I don't want, e.g. survey, or whatever, I just say "I'm not interested" and hang up. When my husband gets a call, he asks numerous unrelated questions and generally wastes the caller's time! As for collection calls, if you owe money you can expect them. You do, after all, need to pay your debts. If the call is for someone else, I state that I don't know them (except my husband's ex, in which case I gave them all the information they needed to find her!). For example, the people 2 before us lost the house to the bank. If anyone called looking for them I'd refer them to the bank, real estate agent, whatever. If you are in an apartment building, provide the superintendent's phone number. If you give them SOME information, then they are less likely to torment you in future. We all want to protect our family members however if it is really harassing then you do need to let the involved party deal with it, not yourself. I had two men knock on my door once looking for a previous tenant of the townhouse next door. I sent them to see the property manager. I figured she'd probably give as much information as I knew and I didn't want to be involved. For the one who was accused of lying about her identity, I'd threaten to sue if they call back. Ask for the name of the business, the name of the manager, and a contact phone number and address to make a complaint. And do it. Keep copies!
Comment: #25
Posted by: melinda
Sun Apr 8, 2012 8:25 AM
Re: Penny (post #21)
I think you may have something there, sounds like both the wife AND her husband's family may be demanding. I get the impression that there is a tug-of-war going on here. Wife has one of his arms and his mom and sis have the other, and both sides are determined to win even if they end up pulling his arms off.
.
He handled it poorly, I agree. The best thing would have been to say, if that is what he felt, "Look, you go all the time, I'd like to give my mom and sister a chance once in awhile." But based on her anger, I can guess how that would have gone over. Avoiding conflict by lying is not a good way to handle things, but in this case I can understand it. I'm guessing he might actually LIKE the fact that his job requires travel, and maybe it's the only thing saving his marriage.
Comment: #26
Posted by: jennylee
Sun Apr 8, 2012 8:32 AM
Re: Chris (post #22)
Chris, couldn't agree with you more------and I am a female. Makes me furious to see the stereotypical male on most TV shows.
And it also makes me furious to see how they are physically depicted compared to their wives--------a sloppy, careless, unintelligent, often overweight guy married to this beautiful, thin, confident, well-dressed, brilliant woman whose hair never gets messed up.
She can do no wrong, he can do no right.
I know sitcoms are not about reality, but how about a little more even treatment of the sexes? Maybe every other episode SHE could look stupid and HE could rescue her from whatever mess she's gotten herself into?
Comment: #27
Posted by: jennylee
Sun Apr 8, 2012 8:41 AM
I've been here, my brothers ex-wife was sort-of staying with us for a while. By sort-of I mean that most of the time it was her stuff, sometimes just herself, and occasionally herself and my niece and nephew. This was not a problem and when my husband and I found out we were expecting our second child we gave her a time limit to move out. What we didn't know was that she had been giving out our home number to bill collectors. For 2 years or so after she left, we were getting calls for her. It didn't help that her last name was the same as my maiden name. We also discovered a few personal items and some cash missing. This came as a shock and made me very angry. The calls continued until one day I told the agent (it was only one company fortunately) that the person was no longer related to me and didn't live in my home anymore. I gave them her personal cell number and told them if they wanted to reach her to call there. Well, they must have gotten her cause the calls stopped cold. I was prepared to log them and file a complaint but it wasn't needed. I do know that a few months later the number was changed. Gee, I wonder why........

Bottom line, there is always a way to stop them from calling you. Even if it means ratting out the other person. Why should you field the harassing calls for some ungrateful and irresponsible person?
Comment: #28
Posted by: Cathy ARmacost
Sun Apr 8, 2012 8:59 AM
Re: jennyle
know sitcoms are not about reality, but how about a little more even treatment of the sexes? Maybe every other episode SHE could look stupid and HE could rescue her from whatever mess she's gotten herself into?
Remember a long-running sitcom called "I Love Lucy"?
Comment: #29
Posted by: Misa
Sun Apr 8, 2012 9:15 AM
Holy cow I cannot believe the people painting LW2 as the bad guy! It's her birthday, she hardly gets to see him, and he brings his freaking MOTHER and SISTER out there? Oh HELL no. She's his WIFE they are the main family now, he needs to stop behaving like a little boy showing off to mommy how important he is. I see a guy who is probably not near as into his wife as she is him (if he's gone that often he likely has a thing on the side) and/or who never cut the apron strings. I'd be absolutely enraged and book my own trip to Bermuda with some girlfriends or something. I certainly wouldn't be speaking to my witch MIL again. I don't care how many years they've been married, that's seriously not cool. NO excuse. He's a jackass.
Comment: #30
Posted by: wkh
Sun Apr 8, 2012 10:31 AM
Re: Chris - Nice post and I agree. We men have been getting the shaft as far as media goes.
Comment: #31
Posted by: Rick
Sun Apr 8, 2012 10:35 AM
LW2: She sounds very angry and I really don't like the tone of her mail. However, for all we know her tone may well be like this because she's angry (justifiably so IMO) and not because she's a shrew. Having had a long-distance relationship myself, I know first-hand how difficult it is and how much effort is required to maintain one.
LW2 regularly lives separately from her husband for months at a time because of his work. It is only natural to want to have every opportunity to spend some time with him. The husband doesn't seem to make his relationship with his wife a priority as he should. I don't see my parents for months at a time either, because of the long distance between us, but you can maintain a good relationship with parents and siblings by talking regularly on the phone. Your parents will always love you because they are your blood. A husband or wife however, is supposedly a person who shares your life with you and chooses to be with you. He/she shouldn't be taken for granted. I've seen many relationships fail through neglect by one or both parties.
Another important thing is that the husband has been lying to her. Some of you implied that he lies because he's afraid of her temper, but he could have lied because he knew his wife would object to his plan of giving the tickets to his mother and sister. Either way, lying to your partner is never good for the relationship.
IMO, the mother and sister should buy their own tickets for their vacation. Depending on where they are flying from, these tickets are probably worth a good deal of money. That's a very expensive gift to his family members and, unless he's rolling in money which doesn't seem to be the case, he should have consulted his wife for such an extravagant gift. Also, no-one has mentioned how long it takes for someone to accumulate enough mileage for free trips. Again, this depends on the distance the husband travels, but he would probably need to make more than 10 trips to get a free one and it would likely take many months to get two free trips. All this time, the wife wouldn't have a chance to visit.
On the other hand, I think LW2 should only blame her husband for this situation and not his family. His mother and sister asked for the tickets but he didn't have to give in to them. That was his decision and he also chose to lie to his wife about it. I think he needs to spend the free ticket ASAP to fly his wife to California so that they can have a serious face-to-face discussion about their marriage and each person's expectations in this marriage.
Comment: #32
Posted by: SummerGal
Sun Apr 8, 2012 11:03 AM
If my husband used his points and lied about it he would be an ex with no money to fly anyone anywhere. Chis is just a jerk so ignore him.
Comment: #33
Posted by: retired
Sun Apr 8, 2012 11:20 AM
@ retired

Okay, so I'm a jerk because I have a different point of view than you do? And that you're so insecure you'd divorce someone over a trip with his mother and sister? Whose a jerk again?
Comment: #34
Posted by: Chris
Sun Apr 8, 2012 11:29 AM
Re: Misa
Yes, I remember "I Love Lucy", and also shows like "Father Knows Best", "Leave It To Beaver", "The Donna Reed Show", etc. ("Wait till your father gets home from the office, children, and he will tell us what to do/how to think/ and so on.")
They were just as bad, only in reverse. Why does it have to be that one person in the marriage (used to be the woman, now it's the man) is a complete idiot and the other one is the person who rushes in and saves the idiot he/she married?
Could we not see something with at least equal intelligence shown for both people in the marriage? Or is it an unwritten rule that SOMEONE has to be stupid or we can't have the show?
Comment: #35
Posted by: jennylee
Sun Apr 8, 2012 11:34 AM
jennylee:

Yes, someone has to be stupid or there wouldn't be anything to have a show about.

Although surely problems could arise that are not due to stupidity on the part of the main characters, just others around them. ????
Comment: #36
Posted by: jar8818
Sun Apr 8, 2012 11:38 AM
lw1- A voracious appetite and weight gain is a side effect of antipsychotic meds. There is a good chance your son weighs so much because of the medication and if he is constantly hungry moreso than any typical person would be, then there is a good chance he IS taking his meds... they just are not working for him. If it is so difficult for him to live alone because of his mental illness, then he would benefit from a halfway house. There, they could help manage his mental illness, as well as stressors which worsen his mental illness. What would benefit him the most is a psych doctor which could get him on the RIGHT meds for his condition. There are newer meds out there now which work better than the older ones and with less side effects. Switching meds would also help his weight... but unfortunately your son is not open to psych doctors... but he may be open to a halfway house.

You must understand just because a mentally ill person begins having psychiatric "breaks", it does not necessarily mean they are off their meds. Mental illness is a difficult thing to control with medication, at least until you find the right meds. Schizophrenia is especially difficult to control with meds, ESPECIALLY the critically schizophrenics- meaning those who are not just "a little" schizophrenic, but who have a high degree of schizophrenia. Those who have schizophrenia don't just hallicunate... they literally interpret their environment differently than we do. A schizophrenic who has a pap smear while pregnant may interpret the pap smear as 'the doctor is performing an abortion on my baby' and become hysterical. I use this example because it happened at a place where I once worked. This lady was taking her meds at the time... I know because we were giving them as injections. A lot of the patients had a fear of injections and often accused us of poisoning them. It is not an easy illness to intervene and it is why so many commit suicide.

A halfway house would be a good start as this is a very difficult illness to live with, especially alone. Once he is in a halfway house, he may become more open to other treatment. A lot of how a mentally ill person receives the information is in how you present it. Do it in a slow, calm, loving manner when your son is already calm and the environment is quiet. Offer to drive him there for a look at the place before he commits to it. The more control you let him feel over the situation, the more he will be willing to agree to this.

Try to remember though a large amount of this is out of your control. This is not your fault, nor is your son simply being noncompliant to be "difficult". His illness causes him to misinterpret his environment. This is not something he can control, nor is it his fault. He will continue to be this way until he is on the right medicines, but you cannot force him to do this, and his illness will cause him to mistrust people. Remember you cannot save him. If you begin to feel he is a danger to himself, then try to have him legally committed. there is not much you can do.
Comment: #37
Posted by: Maria
Sun Apr 8, 2012 12:21 PM
The best way to handle bill collectors is to send a cease and desist letter certified mail, return receipt requested. You have to point out that you aren't the person that owes the money. After that they can only contact you one more time, by mail, saying that they won't contact you again. If the letter is rejected, send an identical one with proof of mailing from the post office and keep the receipt and the original envelope unopened in case you need to sue. If the same company contacts you again you can have a consumer lawyer file suit on contingency. If you add to the letter that you want them to put you on their Do Not Call list you can sue them under the TCPA, also.

Comment: #38
Posted by: nonegiven
Sun Apr 8, 2012 1:22 PM
Re: nonegiven- Yeah, or if you don't have a relationship with the person anymore (and don't want one) just tell the collectors everything.
I gave the last ones to call the person's full name, last addresses I had, and any/all aliases I knew they used, as well as the information on relatives of theirs, so they could call THEM and try and find out where they were. They quite kindly never called me again after thanking me for the help.
The collectors are NOT the problem.
The problem is people who won't/don't pay their bills and also will not keep in touch with the companies/people they owe money. Collectors don't call around skip tracing debtors if that person is in touch and not trying to avoid their responsibilities.
Comment: #39
Posted by: moon
Sun Apr 8, 2012 2:40 PM
Re: nonegiven- Yeah, or if you don't have a relationship with the person anymore (and don't want one) just tell the collectors everything.
I gave the last ones to call the person's full name, last addresses I had, and any/all aliases I knew they used, as well as the information on relatives of theirs, so they could call THEM and try and find out where they were. They quite kindly never called me again after thanking me for the help.
The collectors are NOT the problem.
The problem is people who won't/don't pay their bills and also will not keep in touch with the companies/people they owe money. Collectors don't call around skip tracing debtors if that person is in touch and not trying to avoid their responsibilities.
Comment: #40
Posted by: moon
Sun Apr 8, 2012 2:41 PM
Re LW2: I was on the fence on this one till I re-read it. Then I realize, it's HIS frequent flyer miles. They are the miles HE earns working hard on the road. Why can't HE decide what to do with them? Apparently the wife isn't working and isn't taking care of children... she's just "sitting home alone". Any reason why SHE can't get out and earn some money so she can fly out and be with him?

And for anyone who says "she's taking care of the house", lots of us (including myself) manage to do that while working a full job. No reason she can't earn herself some tickets rather than berating her husband into having to lie to her.
Comment: #41
Posted by: dave
Sun Apr 8, 2012 2:56 PM
LW2 - I guess I'm the only one who thinks that if LW2's hubby is gone for months at a time & the only time LW2 & her hubby get together is when the airfare is free, then getting together isn't a very big priority for either of them. Maybe he flies thousands of miles a month, but in the plan I'm in, it takes a lot of miles to get a free ticket, so they probably aren't getting together very often if they're waiting for a free ticket. It sounds like he lied to her about planning to give the current free tickets to mom & sis, and that' s wrong, but I don't think that's the only problem going on here. I think the problem is also that seeing each other isn't important enough to both of them to spend some of their own money on it.
Comment: #42
Posted by: kai archie
Sun Apr 8, 2012 3:28 PM
This is in reply to the person who feared for her schizophrenic son. I have the schizo-affective disorder. I spent many years on high levels of anti-psychotic medication. The son is probably taking his if he is eating uncontrolably - weight gain and diabetes are side effects of the medicine - at least the one I am on. Currently, I am on a low level of the medicine. What has helped me keep functioning has been the Recovery method (Recovery International) and, more recently, diet and dietary supplements prescribed by a psychiatrist. The quality of my life has improved hugely with the nutritional approach. Please do not give up on your son. We need people not to abandon us.
Comment: #43
Posted by: Margot
Sun Apr 8, 2012 4:51 PM
LW1-
If his doctors have given up on him, it's because he refuses to listen to anyone, even them. Unfortunately, he is legally an adult and so no one can force him to take his medication, to see his doctor and therapist, to lose weight etc etc etc. Something dire will have to happen and then he can be made a ward of the state.

LW2-
I have read the letter twice and all the comments and I'm still on the fence.

On the one hand, his family gets to see him even less than she does, and while she should come first, she should not come *only*... It is possible that she is a bit of a nag when crossed, hence the duplicity... And yes, they are his frequent flyer miles.

On the other hand... yes, long distance marriages are difficult to maintain and every minute of intimacy is precious. Yes, he should pay attention to her birthday, and definitely he should not have lied, which only exacerbates the problem. And, even though they ARE his frequent flier miles, if they truly are the team and he provides while she nurtures, then all property is supposedly common, including the air miles. Why couldn't the mother and sister buy their own tickets, are they indigent?

There is a lot missing here, too much for me to get off the fence.

@JMG
"it seems that a woman can't get angry. even for valid reasons, without being accused of being a harpy or a shrew."
Oh yeah, same old, same old. When a man gets angry for a valid reason, he is being a real man, he is putting his foot down, refusing to be a wimp and fighting for his rights... When a woman gets angry, no one even bothers to even look if she has cause, any woman getting angry for any reason is automatically frustrated because she didn't get her nookie recently, or mensing... and let's not forget menopause!

Yawn.
Comment: #44
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Sun Apr 8, 2012 5:57 PM
Re LW2 & Lise: i agree, marriage should be a team, but from that point of view, just what is the letter writer bringing to the team? It shouldn't all be on the husband. Maybe she's doing all sorts of good work but that's sure not indicated from the letter. I think if she wants mare together time, she needs to help work as a team to make it happen, rather than sulking at home.
Comment: #45
Posted by: dave
Sun Apr 8, 2012 6:14 PM
Re: moon, "The collectors are NOT the problem." Yes they are. That was what the whole dicussion was about. Granted people should pay their bills but in this instance the question was how to get the bill collectors to lay off on dunning the wrong person.
Comment: #46
Posted by: Penny
Sun Apr 8, 2012 7:16 PM
Here's why people are taking LW2 to task (or at least, why I am):

Her husband missed her birthday. Not just no trip, but also, apparently, no card, no call, no flowers, no gift, no email. And he tells her he doesn't have enough mileage to have her join him, although he has been flying her out regularly.

But he wants to do something nice for his mom and his sister. Maybe it's a milestone birthday for his mom. Maybe he missed HER birthday and Christmas. Whatever, she apparently can't afford a trip out to California.

LW2 can't give up one trip to make this trip possible for the woman who made LW's HUSBAND possible? Really?

What's worse, she's blaming Mom & Sis for "demanding" a trip -- at least, that's what her husband told her. Remember, her husband, who bent the truth in saying he lacked enough miles to fly LW out. Why is she so certain that her MIL and SIL bulldozed him into this trip? Why is she so angry at them when her husband was the one who let her down?

I am not unsympathetic to the demands of a long-distance marriage; Ive been in one, long before Skype, email, texting and cell phones with free long-distance. However, LW sounds like a spoiled child. Those tickets are not LW's, regardless of what she thinks, nor does she have sole say over how her husband spends his time, or with whom. "Time that should be mine" indeed!

If LW is smart, she will shut her trap about this, wish her MIL and SIL a lovely trip, and find something to do with her time. Maybe she could get a part-time or seasonal job that would allow her to save up enough to pay for a few trips on her own. Or maybe she could volunteer her services to improve the lives of people who have far more serious problems than she does.
Comment: #47
Posted by: hedgehog
Sun Apr 8, 2012 7:25 PM
@ Maria
Once again, a wonderfully written and informative post. Please post more often!

@Margot
I, too, struggle with mental illness, and applaud your openness with your illness. Only by sharing our stories will we eradicate the stigma of mental illness. I wish you good luck on your journey!
Comment: #48
Posted by: Barbara B.
Mon Apr 9, 2012 12:22 AM
LW3: Addendum to what I previously wrote - the ACTUAL final solution to this problem - easy, painless, and free - is an "alternate voicemail" system. I use YouMail - they can selectively send certain callers to a "this phone has been disconnected" message. And there are plenty of services like this available nowadays - join 2012, folks. (YouMail is for cell phones, I'm sure home phone versions exist - or just ditch the home phone, not much use nowadays anyway).
I emailed a version of this note directly to the Annie's, I realize it's a pretty minor thing to get all "hot under the collar" about, but seriously? Calling the "phone company" to put a block on a number? Is it 1987 already?
Comment: #49
Posted by: Steve C
Mon Apr 9, 2012 12:51 AM
Re: dave
"just what is the letter writer bringing to the team?"
Are you insinuating that, in the case of her being a homemaker, she brings nothing of value? I sure hope not.

Comment: #50
Posted by: Lise Brouillette
Mon Apr 9, 2012 4:36 AM
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