My dad tells lies to puff him­self up, bris­tles when busted


Dear Abby: My fa­ther, who is in his 60s, has al­ways been a sto­ry­teller, but since re­tire­ment his tales have got­ten longer, and so has his nose.

I sus­pect he’s con­cerned about his wan­ing influence in the world and that’s why he puffs him­self up. He tells peo­ple he has aca­demic de­grees he hasn’t earned, takes credit for coin­ing phrases that pre­dated him and claims the hero role in events he couldn’t pos­si­bly have par­tic­i­pated in.

Most of the time I let it go. But some­times he starts spout­ing “facts” that are not only un­true but also po­ten­tially harm­ful, or he takes credit for work done by others who de­serve the recog­ni­tion.

Is there a way to call him on it that lets him save face? Speak­ing to him pri­vately does noth­ing. When prod­ded in a more truth­ful di­rec­tion, he be­comes im­me­di­ately hos­tile. Sug­gest­ing other ways for him to con­trib­ute to the world (vol­un­teer­ing, etc.) have been non-starters. Be­fore you ask, he has been to the doc­tor and this be­hav­ior isn’t the re­sult of a med­i­cal is­sue. Em­bar­rassed in Texas

Dear Em­bar­rassed: It should be ap­par­ent to you by now that you can’t change your fa­ther. His bids for re­spect and at­ten­tion are sad, be­cause the in­di­vid­u­als be­ing lied to usu­ally learn the truth even­tu­ally.

Be­cause we can’t change the be­hav­ior of others, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that we can change the way we re­act to them. Be­cause cor­rect­ing your fa­ther in public hasn’t worked, if you catch him telling some­one some­thing you know is un­true — and which could be harm­ful health wise or fi­nan­cially — con­tact the per­son pri­vately and ad­vise him or her to ver­ify it with a doc­tor, lawyer or trusted fi­nan­cial ad­viser.

Dear Abby: I am di­vorced. Three years ago, I met a woman and had a brief re­la­tion­ship with her. She was es­tranged from her hus­band at the time. I fell deeply in love with her, but she de­cided to go back to him. It has been sev­eral years, and we have been “talk­ing” again. She’s now di­vorced, and she told me she has feel­ings for me. She’s dat­ing some­one else, but she texts and calls me at least once a day.

I have sent her flow­ers and gifts for which she has thanked me, but de­spite all that she won’t “date” me. I’m be­side my­self be­cause I’m still very much in love with this woman. I know she loves me too, be­cause she has said so. What do I do? I feel like pulling my hair out. Can you of­fer any ad­vice? Won’t Date Me

Dear Won’t: You feel like pulling your hair out be­cause you have been get­ting mixed mes­sages from your love ob­ject. Women who love men rarely refuse to date them. Women who are hon­est and eth­i­cal do not date one man and text and call exboyfrien­ds at the same time. My ad­vice is to do a 180, “detox­ify” and find a lady who is emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally avail­able. Good ad­vice for ev­ery­one — teens to se­niors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To or­der, send your name and mail­ing ad­dress, plus check or money or­der for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Anger Book­let, P.O. Box 447, Mount Mor­ris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and han­dling are in­cluded in the price.) Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.


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