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Annie's Mailbox: Want It To Stop

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: My brother has been separated from his wife, "Sherrie," for a year. They have three girls under the age of 5.

Sherrie is crazy. She stalks him. She has gone to his job and caused a scene. She's called every one of his female workers and accused them of sleeping with him. She phones my elderly, sick parents crying hysterically, saying he's cheating on her and she's going to keep their daughters from him. When the girls cry in middle of the night, she records them and sends him the video. What kind of mother does this? A mother should comfort her children. When they are with my brother, they don't want to go back home to their mother.

We all have tried to stay out of it because we know Sherrie will keep my nieces from us if we say anything. But enough is enough. I know my brother isn't entirely innocent here, but it doesn't justify what she is doing, and it hurts us to watch how it affects my brother and, more importantly, my nieces.

In the meantime, Sherrie's parents know nothing about her behavior. My older sister has tried talking to Sherrie, to no avail. Should I speak to her parents and hope they can help control her? -- Want It To Stop

Dear Want: Sherrie is out of control and doing emotional damage to her children. She could benefit from professional counseling. Your brother should talk to a lawyer immediately, get temporary custody of those girls and make sure Sherrie is legally prevented from contacting his workplace. There need to be consequences she understands so that she can take the necessary steps to calm down and behave rationally for her own sake, as well as that of the children. If your brother wants to call his in-laws and ask them to talk to Sherrie, fine, but you and your parents should stay out of the war zone. Instead, be a place of comfort and security for those kids.

Dear Annie: My 20-year-old granddaughter lives in another state. I send all my grandchildren a birthday card and a gift card for $50. It is very rare that I get a thank-you either by text, Facebook or email, let alone a phone call from this particular grandchild. Last year, I finally said something to her about the lack of response. When she came to visit, she mentioned my "angry" Facebook message. (It wasn't angry. I said only that I'd appreciate it if, when I send her something, she would let me know she received it.) She just had a birthday, and I sent the usual gift and have not heard back. I sent her a Facebook message on her page, but still no reply.

I know this happens a lot today, and my husband says she's too busy. I can appreciate that, but I don't get how she can't reply on Facebook or by email saying, "Thanks, I got the gift," and be done with it.

 

I am considering saying something to her dad in an email, but he rarely responds, either. So what should I do? -- Fuming in Washington

Dear Fuming: The solution is simple: Tell this grandchild nicely (and privately) that if she is too busy to thank you for the gifts, you will stop sending them, because she obviously doesn't care whether she receives them. Then DO IT.

Dear Annie: This is for "Can't Handle Much More," the grandmother whose 42-year-old granddaughter is living with her.

She should look for subsidized apartment complexes in her area or a Section 8 voucher program where rents are based on income. There also are programs to help pay for childcare, which makes it easier to work full time. See whether the area has a Children's Bureau. The granddaughter may be trying her hardest, but struggling in poverty with children is a difficult situation to rise above. -- Works at HUD

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This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.

 

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