Dear Annie: My parents adopted my brother, “Kyle,” when he was 6 weeks old. As he grew up, it was apparent that something wasn’t right. When Kyle was 18, he was diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic and was put on a cocktail of medications. He is now 30 and living at home with my father. (Mom passed away a few months ago.)
Dad and I have noticed recently that Kyle doesn’t appear to be taking his medications. He insists he is being compliant, but he is so delusional that he claims my father’s house is actually his and my father needs to move out. He is constantly stealing money from Dad and has a horrible gambling problem. The small amount he gets from Social Security is gone the minute his fingers touch it.
Dad is in control of Kyle’s bills and gives him a monthly allowance, but when it’s gone, Kyle harasses Dad for more. My father feels like a prisoner in his own home. He won’t throw Kyle out of the house, although we have considered admitting him into an adult home. We know Kyle will not go willingly. We don’t know what to do. Please help.
— Going Crazy
Dear Crazy: You cannot make Kyle compliant, nor can you force him to see a doctor. But your father should get him out of the house, not only for his own sake, but for Kyle’s. At some point, Kyle will need to learn how to live independently, and the longer he avoids it, the harder it will be to adjust. You may need legal assistance to remove Kyle, but we hope that won’t deter you. The situation will not improve if nothing is done to change it. We also suggest you contact the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (dbsalliance.org) at 1-800-826-3632 for help.
Dear Annie: I am 13 years old. After school, my friend “Cara” sometimes calls and invites me to her house to hang out. But when I get there, she is usually on Facebook or using her iPod Touch. I tell her that this is boring and maybe we should go outside and enjoy the nice weather, but she just waves me off. But if I ask to use the computer, she gets angry and says that we should go outside. It’s like I’m a third wheel when she’s playing with her electronics.
Cara and I have had fights in the past, and I always forgive her because I don’t like to hold a grudge. But I am wondering if I should end our friendship. Do you have any suggestions?
— Fickle Friendship
Dear Friend: You can try to “reprogram” Cara by saying sweetly, “Oh! I didn’t realize you were busy! I’ll come back tomorrow.” And then leave before she can argue with you. After one or two of those, she is likely to put her gadgets aside. Otherwise, let Cara be a Facebook friend, and you can spend your after-school reality time with girls who are more interested in your company.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Desperate for Advice” struck a nerve. She found out a girlfriend tricked her husband, claiming her pregnancy was accidental. Now “Desperate’s” husband wants to spill the beans.
I married my wife with the understanding that we would not have any children. A year later, one of her friends let slip that my wife had stopped using birth control. I felt betrayed. My trust was shattered. Counseling helped me see how important motherhood was to my wife, and we eventually had a beautiful daughter. I don’t regret it, but even after 23 years, those old resentments occasionally resurface.
I agree with you, Annie. “Desperate” should ask her husband what he hopes to accomplish by telling. It will only bring pain and hurt to everyone. He should keep his mouth shut and stay out of it. I would have been happier not knowing.
— Ignorance is Bliss
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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.