Life Advice



Annie's Mailbox: Mean Mother Award Winner

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: For four years, I have been trying to leave an abusive marriage. I've been working with various agencies that are budget strapped and overwhelmed with clients. I finally found a friend who offered to let me stay with her, but she lives four hours away, and I cannot afford a rental car. Then my husband tells his boss that he needs time off because I have a disability. That part is true, but I know now that he is using it as an excuse to be home and control the situation.

Worse, my husband brought home a dog, knowing I would never leave the poor thing with him. Taking the dog makes things more difficult.

Our local abuse shelter is crowded right now. In a perfect world, I would grab what I could and leave, taking the dog. I tried once, and he caught up with me. Any suggestions? -- Gloria

Dear Gloria: You need a better plan. First, please don't tell your husband you are leaving. He will use whatever means necessary to stop you. Would your friend offer to pick you up? Is there a bus or train you can afford?

Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE and ask them to help you find a safe way out.

Dear Annie: A year ago, I fell ill with diabetes. Due to financial problems, I have had lots of complications in treating it. I also have a troubled past, but I turned it around a few years ago, and I'm proud of myself.

I was so ill that I had to quit my job. Now I have problems affording the medication, and it depresses me. My parents seem to believe that I am simply back to my old habits and say I should be working. But I have documentation saying I cannot work due to diabetes complications.

I have asked both of my parents to go with me to see the doctor, but they refuse. I am so lost right now, I don't know what to do. Please help. -- Confused in Northwest Illinois

Dear Confused: You may be eligible for reduced-cost medical care, including medications, which would help you get back on your feet. Right now, your health is the most important thing, and you'll feel better if you can be proactive about your care. Please contact the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES. You also can try Partnership for Prescription Assistance for low-cost medications. And you may be eligible for low-cost hospitalization and clinic care through the Health Resources and Services Administration.


Dear Annie: I am responding to "Growing Up Way Too Fast," whose young son likes to play with the neighbor boy who plays adult video games and is allowed to watch frightening, sexually suggestive adult TV shows.

Our three kids sometimes had friends from homes with questionable parenting skills. Our kids were allowed to play only at our house with those friends. The first time they acted inappropriately, I explained that their behavior was rude and unkind and not permitted in our house, and the consequence was that they would be sent home. The second time, they were sent home. That usually solved the problem. But if it happened again, they were sent home and not allowed to return for several days. Of course, I phoned the parents to let them know their child would be coming home, but unless the parent asked, I gave no reason.

Our kids didn't like this rule, but that is where parenting comes in. Watchful supervision was always on high alert when these kids came over. -- Mean Mother Award Winner

Dear Mother: Congratulations on understanding what it takes to be an effective parent and not letting an unpopular rule deter you.

Annie's Snippet for St. Patrick's Day: As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.


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



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