Dear Annie: After going to college out of state and graduating a few years ago, I moved home with my parents so I could save money while attending graduate school. Recently, my mom has started to get on my last nerve. If I look good in an outfit, she goes out and buys the same thing. Though this has been happening since high school, it's been happening a lot more recently. I've brought it up in the past, but she hasn't seen a problem with it. We don't even have the same body shape or skin tone, so what looks good on me doesn't flatter her. Also, she gets so excited when buying new clothes that she'll wear the outfit over and over again, never giving me a chance to wear it unless I want to match. As I mentioned, I'm trying to save money for school, so going clothes shopping is a rare treat for me. However, my mom would live at the mall if she could. I really appreciate all my parents are doing for me -- living rent-free is a blessing, I know -- but I'm this close to living in my sweats. Annie, how do I stop myself from unraveling? -- The Empress's New Clothes
Dear Empress's New Clothes: I understand your allergic reaction to Mom's copycat behavior. But the next time she dresses up like her style icon (i.e., you), try changing your outlook instead of your outfit. Perhaps if you look at it as an attempt at being closer with you, it will become less annoying and more endearing. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
What's more, although you might be self-conscious, I doubt many people actually notice that you two are dressed like twins. For one, you wear the clothes very differently, as you said. For another, people are generally too busy worrying about how they look to notice how anyone else does.
Dear Annie: My husband has been battling addiction for a long time. Things seemed to be going better, but then items started disappearing from the house. His behavior seemed off. I questioned him but only heard more lies. We went to marriage counseling. I tried to be a good wife. But then everything came crashing down. He is now in rehab. His recovery is in his own hands, and I hope he takes it seriously.
Meanwhile, I'm left cleaning up the mess he made. I'm so angry, hurt and worried. I'm seeing a counselor, but I'm not sure how long I'll be able to do that because of the cost. I am planning on attending local Al-Anon meetings when I can, but I haven't been able to yet.
I have no idea how I'm going to pick up the pieces of the life his addiction has shattered, but I know I must. I have to carry on for myself and for my daughter. I have been blessed with a huge support group, made up of family, friends and colleagues. Without them, I don't know how I would manage getting out of bed in the morning.
Please share this letter to remind people that compassion for victims of addiction can help save someone who feels she has nowhere left to go. You may not be able to help the addict, but you can help those whose lives have been forever upended as a result of the addiction. -- An Addict's Wife
Dear Addict's Wife: I'm printing your call for compassion. That is one thing we could always use more of. If you are still thinking about going to an Al-Anon meeting but haven't yet, go now and think about it later. Find a meeting that fits your schedule at https://al-anon.org.
"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 firstname.lastname@example.org.