Dear Annie: I am a divorced dad and my 20-something son, "Adam," is deeply troubled. He lacks drive and ambition, and he also drinks and uses drugs. Worse, he is a chronic liar.
I reached the end of my rope and arranged to send him to a rehab facility. Adam then approached my siblings and told abssurd tales that I was abusing him. My siblings, who all live on the opposite coast, did not know the true circumstances. They got the idea to stage an intervention, and invited Adam to stay with them. Nobody discussed any of this with me. Rather, they chose to believe his lies and take action based on misinformation. Needless to say, once he moved in, they found out just who he is and the whole thing turned into a disaster. Meanwhile, Adam has gone back to his old habits while he lives with my ex, who enables this behavior.
I am furious that none of my siblings bothered to talk with me about this. After all, he's my son and their contact with him has always been minimal. I would never dream of interfering with their children in this manner, and I feel betrayed and extremely angry. I would like to confront them. What do you suggest? — Frustrated LA Dad
Dear Frustrated: Your siblings should have told you what was going on and asked for your side of the story. However, when children claim they are being abused, most folks take it seriously, and if you were actually abusing Adam, talking to you would have been counterproductive. Your siblings undoubtedly thought they were protecting your son. As much as you believe they know you, it's impossible to know everything about another person, and drug addicts can be convincing liars.
Now you need to clear the air so you can save these relationships. Phone your siblings. Tell them that you appreciate their desire to help Adam, but it was terribly hurtful that they believed his story without giving you the benefit of the doubt that you expected from loved ones. Then please try to forgive them.
Dear Annie: I would like to comment on the letter from "Pat," who spends 12 hours a day visiting her mother in the nursing home, and is unhappy that her siblings do less.
Why is she paying the cost of having Mom in a home if she is going to be there for hours at a time? The idea is that the staff will care for Mom and you can have the freedom to come and go, checking to make sure Mom is OK while you live your life. Being a martyr only makes you resent the rest of the family for not spending the same amount of time with her. I say, get a life for yourself before you end up alongside Mom. — Don't Have to Visit So Much
Dear Don't: We agree that 12 hours a day is a lot and no one should expect that of others. But the care that Mom receives in a nursing home doesn't include the comfort and stimulation that a loved one can provide. The fact that she gets a shower twice a week does not make up for the companionship and personal interest a family member brings. Regular visits are important.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. 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.