Dear Annie: I am a senior woman. Recently, my husband, our adult son and my caregiver have been bullying me.
It began when I witnessed inappropriate behavior between the caregiver and my husband. When I confronted my husband about it, he denied the obvious transgressions and instead verbally abused me. My son piled on and added to the verbal onslaught. This was very painful for me. It felt as though no one had my back.
Meanwhile, the caregiver not only didn't deny the relationship; she actually gloated about it. When I fired her, she was back the next day taunting me. Finally, I left home until she was gone.
I'm attending counseling, but even so, I'm having a hard time getting over this. I can't forget how cruel my husband and son were, as well as the caregiver. How can I get over the pain? Is it even possible? I'm really struggling. — Victim
Dear Victim: Tell your therapist what happened, and ask her or him to report your caregiver's misconduct to the relevant agency in your state. I am sorry that this has happened to you. Bullying is never acceptable. Bullying a loved one is reprehensible.
Dear Annie: I know you have addressed opiate use and alcoholism and ways that people can recover from it. I myself have suffered from alcoholism and found the drug naltrexone to be effective. It doesn't cause any adverse effects; it just reduces cravings. It can be used for opiate addiction as well.
The reason why I want you to print this information is that I am shocked at how few people know about it. I suspect part of the reason is because addiction is still felt to be an issue of morality or willpower, not a biological inclination.
I quit drinking when I was pregnant, but soon after I had the baby, I was back to blacking out a few times a week. I wanted more than anything in the world to be a good mother, but my addiction was making it impossible. I am lucky to have an informed psychiatrist who understands mental illness (which addiction can reasonably be considered) is not a personal flaw but a medical condition. — Not to Blame
Dear Not to Blame: I have heard that naltrexone can be a helpful tool in battling alcohol cravings, as part of a larger treatment plan that includes support groups and/or therapy. I'd encourage readers to speak with their doctors about whether it's a good fit for them. Thank you for your thoughtful letter.
Dear Annie: I plan one fairly large party and a few smaller parties a year. I always ask for guests to RSVP, whether or not they can make it. However, very few people ever respond. Some think if they don't respond, that I should know that means they're coming. Others think that if they don't respond, then I should know that means they're not coming. I send more than 50 invitations, and I get about four responses.
All I ask is for a simple phone call or a text to let me know whether or not you can attend. Is that asking too much? — Party Planner
Dear Party Planner: You're not asking too much. Since this is such a source of stress, I suggest aiming for smaller gatherings or dinner parties instead, winnowing your guest list down to those guests who have been courteous enough to RSVP in the past.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]
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