Dear Annie: My girlfriend, "Lenna," and I have been together for about 2 1/2 years. She and her 30-year-old son, "Josh," moved in with me about a year and a half ago.
Josh has been nothing but a liar and a thief for most of his life, to the point that Lenna has told me to keep an eye on her purse while she is in the shower. Then, about a week ago, I caught Josh rifling through her purse. She has fibromyalgia and chronic back pain. I caught him stealing her pain pills, and he insisted that he was playing with the cat. I called him a liar, because the cat was sunning himself on the dining room table in front of the window. He said that he is always getting accused of things around the house and that he was going to move out.
The next thing I knew, Lenna told me she would be leaving, too. She said that if her son isn't welcome at my place, she doesn't want to be there. It seems they believe that somehow I was the one who was at fault — just because I caught him stealing her pain pills and I said something about it.
I am just totally confused and feel betrayed. Lenna and I get along really well when he is not around, but when he is, everything falls apart. It's as if he doesn't want to grow up and she doesn't want him to, either. — Confused and Betrayed
Dear Confused and Betrayed: Set foot in this mess and you'll discover it's quicksand. If Josh is stealing painkillers from his mother, he probably has a drug addiction. If Lenna continues defending her son's actions and protecting him from consequences, she is enabling him. If you tie this rope around your waist and get caught in the push-pull routine, you'll sink.
Step back, and keep on solid ground by setting boundaries. Decide what you will and won't accept in your home. Attend a meeting by Nar-Anon or Families Anonymous. Invite Lenna, too, but if she resists, don't force it. It's only a lifeline if the person is reaching for it.
Dear Annie: I go to a large warehouse grocery that requires customers to stand in a line to have their receipt checked before they can exit the store.
Generally, there are two store workers standing on either side of the exit doors, and two lines are formed by the customers.
I have noticed that as I am heading toward the exit, there is a mad rush of people who scurry ahead of the people who are forming lines, wanting to get to the door before everyone else.
With everything that is happening in the world today, I know my complaint about this sounds trivial. But when it happens time and time again, I begin to wonder what has happened to us as a society when common courtesy is completely ignored. Have we become so self-centered that we are blind to this behavior? — Sad Sign of the Times
Dear Sad Sign of the Times: A message to all line cutters: Cut it out. Think of every line as a free lesson in patience.
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