Dear Annie: My relationship with my mother has always been challenging. When she could no longer grab me by the hair and shake my head, she adopted inappropriate behavior with my boyfriends, called me stupid, worshipped my brothers and sister-in-law over me, and much more.
The final straw came in a telephone conversation. My mother said she was tired from being out the other day with a friend. She asked, “Do all old people get tired when they go out?” I didn’t want to compare her with my father, who works hard and had visited me earlier that week. I replied, “All old people age differently.” My mother then commenced some heavy and deliberate sighing that lasted the remainder of the call while I tried to make conversation. I politely said goodbye.
When it was time for me to make my annual call to her, I picked up the phone and started to dial but hung up before reaching the last number. I have not called my mother since. That was three years ago. My mother is now 83. I do not believe I am holding a grudge, although that has been suggested to me. I am just so hurt and ashamed that my own mother would reject me the way she has. When is it OK to say enough? — Don’t Miss Her
Dear Don’t: The final straw was a phone call where Mom mostly sighed? And after three years, you are still angry. We recognize that Mom mistreated you when you were younger, but you spoke to her only once a year. It’s not a grudge so much as an inability to deal with Mom’s behavior, and it remains unresolved, which mostly hurts you. Ask yourself how you would feel if Mom died without any further contact. If that bothers you even slightly, please talk to a professional and find a way to work through this, whatever the outcome.
Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 15 years. It seems that if I don’t initiate sex, we never have any. I have told her what I would like, but she shows no interest. She just lies there and neither moves nor makes a sound. I don’t know whether I am giving her any pleasure.
I have discussed my concerns with her and have asked what she would like in the bedroom, but she always says, “Everything is fine. I like what we do.”
I am frustrated. I really love my wife and don’t want to end the relationship, but I have been having thoughts about finding another lover who will fulfill my needs in the bedroom. Please help. — Not Sure What To Do
Dear Not Sure: Your wife may feel inhibited about sex, which is why she is silent in the bedroom and won’t discuss her preferences. It’s also possible that she doesn’t enjoy sex, for physical or emotional reasons, and has no interest in working at it. Instead of talking about likes and dislikes, tell her that her stoic reaction to sex saddens you and that it is threatening the stability of your marriage. Ask her to go with you to see a marriage counselor or a professional sex therapist.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Working Hard,” who futilely complained to her boss and human resources about a fellow employee who isn’t doing his share of the work.
Everywhere I have ever worked, there are people who do more than asked and people who do so little it’s maddening. I have come to the realization that complaining about lazy co-workers is a waste of time. Management would rather put up with a poor employee than admit they made a mistake in hiring or promoting that person in the first place. — W.C.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.