Woman re­fuses to cater to ly­ing, al­co­holic sis­ter

Cape Breton Post - - LIFESTYLES -

ear An­nie: I adore my hus­band of 20 years, and we have the best kids on earth. The prob­lem? My par­ents. My older sis­ter is di­vorced and has sev­eral small chil­dren. She is also an al­co­holic and a hor­ri­bly toxic per­son.

In the past few years, “Het­tie” has pulled sev­eral stunts where her drink­ing has put her­self and her chil­dren in ex­treme dan­ger. She in­sists she is sober, but I know from sev­eral re­li­able sources that she is not. She won’t ad­mit that her cheat­ing and drink­ing drove her hus­band away, and she has my par­ents snowed into think­ing it was all his fault. She swin­dled her ex and my par­ents out of enough money to net her a nice in­come, yet she twists ev­ery­thing so that she comes out the vic­tim.

I do not al­low my teenagers to babysit for her or get in her car be­cause she al­lows strange men in her home and drives drunk. She only calls when she wants some­thing, and if I don’t drop ev­ery­thing ( I work full time), she screams at me.

My par­ents be­lieve I am a hor­ri­ble per­son be­cause I don’t buy in to Het­tie’s lies or give her money. I’ve tried to help in the past and it brought noth­ing but trou­ble. She is a mean, ly­ing drunk. My par­ents say I need to look past this be­cause she is “ fam­ily.” I can­not deal with the drama any­more. I am cor­dial to Het­tie, but won’t make her our char­ity poster child like my par­ents do.

I have done my best, but I am still the “dis­ap­point­ing daugh­ter.” Last year, their in­tense dis-

Dap­proval sent me into the hospi­tal with a ma­jor anx­i­ety at­tack. Talk­ing to them doesn’t help. This is break­ing my heart. — Refuse to be an En­abler

Dear Refuse: Your par­ents have blin­ders on when it comes to Hett ie . Ac­cept­ing that she is a “ mean, ly­ing drunk” makes them fear it’s their fault, and that is why they blame you in­stead. You can­not change the way they think, but you can change how you deal with it. If you need help, get some coun­sel­ing to learn bet­ter cop­ing skills.

Dear An­nie: I have re­peat­edly told my daugh­ter to re­move her things from my home be­cause we no longer have room for them, but it does no good. We plan on mov­ing soon and can­not take along 10 boxes of our daugh­ter’s books and clothes. She lives out of the coun­try and vis­its two or three times a year. Each time she vis­its, she buys more than she can pos­si­bly take back and leaves the rest here. It is pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive to ship boxes of books to her. What do we do? — Out-of-Space Mom

Dear Mom: No­tify your daugh­ter that you will pack up her things and put them in a stor­age fa­cil­ity for six months or un­til her next visit, whichever comes first. Af­ter that, you will stop pay­ing stor­age fees. She can then de­cide whether she wants to keep pay­ing the fees her­self, ship the items to her cur­rent lo­ca­tion, sell them or make other ar­range­ments that don’t in­volve you. The im­por­tant thing is that you stick to your guns.

Dear An­nie: “Might As Well Be Sin­gle” said her hus­band couldn’t hold on to a job. Thank you for men­tion­ing the pos­si­bil­ity that he is suf­fer­ing from At­ten­tion Deficit Dis­or­der. The fact that he has had many jobs could mean he is mak­ing an ef­fort to be em­ployed.

I am 70 years old. I had job and school prob­lems all my life and only re­cently dis­cov­ered that I have ADD. I al­ways man­aged to make a de­cent liv­ing, but might have done a lot bet­ter had I known ear­lier what I was up against. And my wife would have had a hap­pier life. — Wish I’d Known

Dear Wish: ADD was not a re­al­is­tic di­ag­no­sis when you were younger, but we’re glad you know now.

DEAR DR. DONO­HUE: My daugh­ter started smok­ing as a teen. Twenty years later, she de­vel­oped asthma. Two years ago, she stopped smok­ing and her asthma wors­ened.

The doc­tor gave her steroid in­halers, and she gained an enor­mous amount of weight. I am con­cerned about her. Can you tell me about al­ter­na­tive medicines? Or breath­ing ex­er­cises? — J.H.

AN­SWER: Your daugh­ter is an ex­cep­tion to the rule. Stop­ping smok­ing im­proves asthma for most pa­tients. Even if she feels that she was bet­ter off smok­ing, she wasn’t. The dual in­sults of smok­ing and asthma are too great a bur­den for any­one’s lungs.

For asthma treat­ment, steroids are drugs of the cor­ti­sone fam­ily. Cor­ti­sone drugs are the most po­tent anti-in­flam­ma­tory medicines avail­able. In asthma, air­ways (bronchi) are in­flamed and pro­duce thick mu­cus, which ob­structs the in­flow of air to the lungs and the out­flow of air from the lungs. Steroid in­halers have been a boon to asth­mat­ics. The side ef­fects of steroids are min­i­mized when they’re de­liv­ered by an in­haler. I checked five steroid in­halers for men­tion of weight gain and couldn’t find it listed for any of them. Weight gain is a side ef­fect of orally ad­min­is­tered steroids. I’m not pos­i­tive that her weight gain is due to them. I’d hate to see her stop us­ing them. She would be los­ing one of the most ef­fec­tive treat­ments for asthma con­trol.

How­ever, other medicines do ex­ist. She should have a talk with her doc­tor about mak­ing a change if she wants to. Sin­gu­lair, Ac­co­late and Zileu­ton are ef­fec­tive asthma drugs, and they are not steroids. I haven’t men­tioned all the pos­si­ble asthma medicines.

Asth­mat­ics are en­cour­aged to be as phys­i­cally ac­tive as they can be. Breath­ing ex­er­cises are not likely to make a big im­pact on asthma con­trol.

DEAR DR. DONO­HUE: Is short­term mem­ory loss de­men­tia? My hus­band has it, but he is still sweet, loves to paint and acts nor­mal 99 per cent of the time. I put him in a

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