Take control of your life - issue a restraining order
Dear Annie: My toxic mother has put a strain on my family. Two years ago, she got into a fight with my husband, and I sided with him. Life has been a living hell ever since. She constantly calls and leaves horrible messages on our voicemail. She has turned family and friends against us.
Our kids are scared to death of her, but she has told everyone that I turned the children against her for no reason. Of course, she would never admit doing anything wrong. She’s been like this since I can remember. She tormented me during my childhood. My psychiatrist says she has mental health issues, and our lawyer says she probably won’t follow a restraining order.
My husband says to ignore her, but that’s impossible. My children and I want to move. I have panic attacks every time I see her phone number show up on our Caller ID. When she doesn’t call, I’m on pins and needles waiting for the inevitable. I dread leaving the house, because I worry about running into her somewhere.
How do I convince my husband that it’s in our best interests to move? If he won’t, how do I get my mother to leave us alone? — On the Edge
Dear Edge: You cannot change your mentally ill mother’s behavior unless she is cooperative. And asking your husband to move is a big step, especially if it means leaving his job. While running away might be helpful in the short term, unless you plan to go into the witness protection program, Mom eventually will find you.
Instead, take control of your life. Issue that restraining order, and if Mom violates it, call the police. Get an unlisted phone number. Refuse to let her bully you. Then, if you still wish to move, you and your husband will have time to find jobs and a home in a new location rather than letting Mom chase you out of town. We also suggest you discuss this with your therapist and work on ways to feel safe.
Dear Annie: In our small social group, the wives insist on attending a local event in which the husbands have zero interest. When I have suggested politely that the wives go without us, they become irritated and veto this plan.
I know a husband who drags his wife to sporting events where she puts in earplugs and reads a novel. Why do people insist that their spouses attend events whether they want to or not? Is it power and control? A test of one’s loyalty?
Please urge your readers to attend these things with those who enjoy them and allow the rest of us to bow out. — Going but Resenting It
Dear Going: There are myriad reasons people do this, although some simply want their spouses to enjoy what they do and keep them company. And there are instances where going to something that doesn’t interest you can lead to actual enjoyment and expand your social repertoire. But we agree that if it’s the same event repeatedly, you shouldn’t have to keep going — provided your spouse has someone else with whom to attend.
Dear Annie: Please tell “Distraught Wife” and any other person struggling with opioid addiction to talk to a doctor and ask about Suboxone. This is a drug for addicts that will help them get off the stronger, addictive drugs in a matter of days. It does involve a couple of days of discomfort, but after that, the desire is gone. — Anonymous
Dear Anonymous: Suboxone is a medication approved for the treatment of opiate dependence, and it has a lower potential for abuse than methadone. Common side effects include flu-like symptoms, headaches, sweating, nausea, sleeping difficulties and mood swings, and Suboxone has been associated with difficulty breathing, especially when combined with other depressants. But under a doctor’s supervision, it can help an addict get sober.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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