August 1, 2020

By Marcy Sugar

By Kathy Mitchell

August 1, 2020 4 min read

Dear Annie: My father has been a bully for as long as I can remember. He has unending excuses for his behavior, but the bottom line is, he thinks nothing of browbeating people to get what he wants, sometimes to the point of being cruel. He never sees it as wrong. It is always someone else's fault.

It doesn't matter whether it's as simple as passing the salt. He refuses to ask. He demands. And the words "please" and "thank you" are not in his vocabulary. Neither is "I'm sorry." Nor does he appreciate anything nice that you might do. He only finds fault with the way you did it.

Dad is a senior citizen and claims he is entitled to behave this way. I don't believe anyone is entitled to be rude and nasty, especially to his own family. I know I cannot change him, but this is taking a toll on our relationship. He would never consider counseling. He says I need to respect him and cater to him. How can I respect someone who is so toxic? — Crying Kid in California

Dear Crying: You have a good grasp of the situation — your father's behavior is rude and nasty and you aren't likely to change him. You can, however, spend less time with him and make it clear that you refuse to be treated so poorly.

The fact that he doesn't say "please" or "thank you" is ill-mannered, but not a deal breaker. We'd let that pass. But if he browbeats you to the point of cruelty, try to be more assertive. Say calmly, "I don't like to be treated this way. I am leaving and will return another time." Then walk out. If that doesn't tone things down a bit, at least you won't be where he can target you. Do this as often as necessary. It is not disrespectful to Dad. It is a matter of self-preservation.

Dear Annie: We are blessed to live on a lake where many people vacation. Our dear family and friends, who live several hundred miles away, like to stay with us, sometimes for weeks at a time. It gets so busy that we have to take reservations, leaving a few days to launder the linens, clean the rooms, restock the fridge, catch up on household responsibilities and recuperate between guests.

Over the years, we have learned that there are two kinds of guests: Visitors and Vacationers. Visitors are those who come primarily to see us and do everything they can to make it easy, enjoyable and memorable for everyone. They pitch in, make no demands and are a pleasure to have. Vacationers, however, regard our home as a hotel and restaurant at which they expect to be served their favorite meals, be waited on and catered to, and entertained by us. They are tolerated because they are family or close friends.

As much as we enjoy these people, it can be a stressful, exhausting and expensive time for us senior citizens. Thus, we eagerly await the arrival of Visitors and the departure of Vacationers. — Living Where People Vacation

Dear Living: It may be time for you to set some house rules so people stop taking advantage of you. Provide a list of nearby restaurants and suggestions for entertainment. Then tell them to have a great time and that you'll see them later.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at

Photo credit: strikers at Pixabay

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