Dis­tressed daugh­ters

Cape Breton Post - - ADVICE / TV HIGHLIGHTS - Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

Dear An­nie: My fa­ther has al­ways been es­pe­cially un­kind to my sis­ter, “Por­tia.” She al­ways has had be­hav­ioral prob­lems, not to men­tion she is a bit para­noid and has a fe­ro­cious tem­per. Por­tia also drinks too much and con­tin­ues to con­tact her abu­sive ex-boyfriend.

My older sis­ter and I try to show Por­tia lots of love, but Dad usu­ally deals with her prob­lems with anger, in­sults and gen­eral vit­riol. Though he has oc­ca­sion­ally shown her sup­port over the years, he usu­ally sin­gles her out as the “prob­lem” child. There have been times when he has screamed and even in­ter­vened phys­i­cally when my sis­ters have fought, al­ways pin­ning the blame on Por­tia.

Re­cently, Dad’s anger has grown and he re­acts testily to ev­ery com­ment or ques­tion Por­tia makes. He even re­acts poorly to my mother, and is now talk­ing about mov­ing in with his sis­ter in another state un­til his de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety sub­side.

Dad’s be­hav­ior seems re­ally dis­turb­ing to me and borders on abuse. Yet my mother sub­mits over and over to his anger. What should we do? — Afraid of Es­ca­la­tion

Dear Afraid: There’s not much you can do for your mother, who doesn’t see this as a se­ri­ous prob­lem. She is ac­cus­tomed to Dad’s moods and prefers to avoid con­fronta­tion. Would your fa­ther see a doc­tor about his de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety in­stead of wait­ing for them to “sub­side” on their own? Por­tia’s is­sues may be ge­net­i­cally linked to her fa­ther’s, and she also is likely to ben­e­fit from both med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion and ther­apy.

If your fa­ther wishes to move in with his sis­ter for a while, then that will pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­one to calm down. Dad ob­vi­ously rec­og­nizes that he has a prob­lem and that a lit­tle dis­tance can help. Per­haps his sis­ter will con­vince him to talk to his doc­tor.

Dear An­nie: I’m re­spond­ing to “Feel­ing Unloved,” the di­vorced dad whose teenaged kids don’t seem to want to spend time with him:

First and fore­most, if your kids are an­gry or re­sent­ful, en­cour­age them to talk about it and sim­ply lis­ten with­out be­ing de­fen­sive or blam­ing the other par­ent. It hurts, and it’s hard to hear, but it’s what they need. They are kids nav­i­gat­ing a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion they feel pow­er­less to change.

Sec­ond, re­mem­ber that they are teenagers. Most teenagers can be a bit self-cen­tered and fo­cused on friends rather than fam­ily.

Fi­nally, don’t ex­pect them to call you. In­vite them places, even if it’s out for pizza. And if they de­cline, then ask them when would be a good time. And don’t give up. It will get bet­ter. -- G.

Dear G.: Thank you for your sage ad­vice. Nav­i­gat­ing par­ent­hood with teenagers is al­ready com­pli­cated, and di­vorce adds to the dif­fi­culty. If the par­ents were liv­ing to­gether, they could see the sit­u­a­tion more clearly, but sep­a­rated, they aren’t cer­tain what’s go­ing on. They some­times blame the child or the other par­ent for a change in the re­la­tion­ship, but of­ten it is sim­ply grow­ing pains. Teenagers re­quire a re­vised play­book.

An­nie’s Mail­box is writ­ten by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, long­time ed­i­tors of the Ann Lan­ders col­umn. Please

email your ques­tions to an­nies­mail­box@cre­ators.com, or write to: An­nie’s Mail­box, c/o Cre­ators Syn­di­cate, 737 3rd Street, Her­mosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find An­nie on Face­book at Face

book.com/AskAn­nies.

“If your fa­ther wishes to move in with his sis­ter for a while, then that will pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for ev­ery­one to calm down. Dad ob­vi­ously rec­og­nizes that he has a prob­lem and that a lit­tle dis­tance can help. Per­haps his sis­ter will con­vince him to talk to his doc­tor.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.