Annie's Mailbox: Concerned One of Three
Dear Annie: I am the youngest of three sisters. My oldest sister, "Betty," lies about everything, from her relationships to her education. When Betty was younger, my mother thought she'd outgrow this phase, but it hasn't happened. Betty is 48, and her stories have only become more detailed. Her specialty is claiming various college degrees.
In the past three years, Betty has told people she has degrees in marketing, finance, sociology and engineering. She says this on her social media pages and on her employment website profile. But Betty has never attended more than a couple of classes at the local junior college, although my sister and I both have degrees.
We are very worried about Betty. She often seems sad. We don't understand why she tells these tall tales. Betty is a fantastic baker, cook and artist, and she runs marathons. My sister thinks Betty should get counseling, but Mom pleads with us not to say anything to her. Betty becomes defensive whenever anyone questions her college education. She is isolating people who love her because she cannot converse without starting in with one of her made-up adventures.
Should I approach Betty about this? How do I let her know that she is loved with or without a degree? I don't want to embarrass her. -- Concerned One of Three
Dear Concerned: Betty may feel that she needs a college degree in order to measure up to her siblings. Your assurances that she's a great cook and artist may not be prestigious enough in her eyes.
In order for Betty to stop lying, she would need to want to change her behavior, which can be done with counseling if she is willing to put forth the effort. She could even get that college degree, either online or at night. But you cannot force her to do either of these things. In the meantime, her lies hurt no one but herself, so please simply accept her as she is, and let her know how much you love her and that you want her to be happy.
Dear Annie: One of my ex-roommates keeps entering my house. He used to do the same at my former apartment. He knows how to unlock the door and steal my belongings, including personal documents.
I'm hearing impaired, and the police will not work with me like they did in the past. I really need help to get him to stop breaking into my home. What can I do? -- Frustrated
Dear Frustrated: The police may no longer believe that you are experiencing break-ins from a former roommate in two different locations. They most likely assume that you are misplacing things, thinking they have been stolen. Nonetheless, if it will give you some peace of mind, please hire a locksmith and have your locks changed immediately. Also put a deadbolt on all of your doors and locks on your windows. If you have an alarm system, reprogram it. If your ex-roommate still manages to enter your home, you may need to set up hidden cameras to catch him on video before the police will take action.
Dear Annie: I'm writing in response to the letter from "Powerless," who was worried about her friend who was being harassed by her religious classmates for being an atheist. As you rightfully pointed out, harassment of atheist students because of their beliefs is bullying, plain and simple, and should not be tolerated.
Please tell Powerless that she can contact the two leading atheist organizations in this country: American Atheists (atheists.org) and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. These sites might help her realize that she is not alone. -- California
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 www.creators.com.