Keep skep­ti­cal eye on mom who has a his­tory of ly­ing

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360BETS - Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Dear Abby ap­pears on Sun­day, Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day. E-mail Dear Abby at

Dear Abby: My mother has a long his­tory of ly­ing in what ap­pears to be her at­tempt to ma­nip­u­late oth­ers. She is now 75, and my sib­lings and I know not to ac­cept any­thing she says as the truth and to al­ways check with each other in or­der to find out the whole story.

The other day she lied to me about a doc­tor’s ap­point­ment. Shortly af­ter I talked to her, my sis­ter called me, fu­ri­ous about what Mom had re­ally done. I called Mom back that evening to give her a chance to tell the truth. In­stead, she made up an­other lie to cover up what she had done. That’s when I told her I had al­ready spo­ken to my sis­ter.

The whole sit­u­a­tion makes me very sad, which I told her. I let her know I am “on to her” and have de­cided to give both of us some time to think about the sit­u­a­tion. I know you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and I have given up try­ing.

I love Mom, but her con­tin­ued ma­nip­u­la­tion of oth­ers has driven me away from her. Is there any way for her to see how much her in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior af­fects those of us who care about her?

— Sad Son in Austin

Dear Sad Son: No. And by cross-check­ing what­ever your mother tells you with your sib­lings, you are han­dling a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion as well as you can.

Dear Abby: Our 19-year-old son is home from col­lege for the sum­mer and he “knows ev­ery­thing.” His fa­ther and I have told him to wash fruits and veg­eta­bles be­fore eat­ing them. He feels this is not im­por­tant and con­tin­ues to eat ap­ples, straw­ber­ries and let­tuce di­rectly from the con­tainer or plas­tic bag.

Please let me know if our fears are real. I have al­ways been told wash­ing is nec­es­sary. I would love to show him some­thing on this be­cause he thinks I’m over­pro­tec­tive. — Mother Knows Best

in Texas

Dear M.K.B.: If see­ing it in print will get your son’s at­ten­tion, I’m happy to oblige. Have him try this ex­per­i­ment: The next time he de­cides to eat a nice, shiny ap­ple, have him soak it for 5 to 10 min­utes in wa­ter to which sev­eral ta­ble­spoons of vine­gar have been added. This will re­move the waxy coat­ing that is usu­ally sprayed on them, and with it any dirt or “lit­tle crit­ters” that might have be­come at­tached.

Also, pe­ri­od­i­cally on the nightly news we hear an­nounce­ments of FDA re­calls be­cause of sal­monella or E. coli that has been dis­cov­ered on var­i­ous veg­eta­bles. Al­though some are pack­aged as ready-to-eat, they, too, should be rinsed be­fore us­ing. Con­sider it “health in­surance.”

Dear Abby: I am the par­ent of a child with spe­cial needs. To an out­sider he looks dif­fer­ent; adults and chil­dren stare at him when we’re out.

My son is not aware of their im­po­lite be­hav­ior, but I am. What should I say to these in­sen­si­tive peo­ple?

— Boil­ing Mad in New Jersey

Dear Boil­ing Mad: I don’t think you should say any­thing. It is not un­usual for in­di­vid­u­als of ev­ery age to do a dou­ble take when they see some­one — or some­thing — that is “dif­fer­ent.” Of course star­ing is im­po­lite, but un­less some­one makes a re­mark or asks a ques­tion about your son, you should ig­nore the per­son.

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