Expensive Annie: Closing the e-book on infantile habits

Dear Annie, my stepmother is the epitome of a wicked stepmother. My sister and I are grown up and have our own lives and families. Our father married “Mary”. We believe it was from loneliness. She is 15 years younger than him and has a drinking problem. She says the drinking is under control, but it’s pretty clear that it’s not. She has a record for driving under the influence and for drug possession charges. Again we were told that everything was under control.

My sister and I were ignored, discussed, lied to, and made unwelcome to our father’s house. We put all that aside because our dad said he was happy and she took care of him. We kept trying to get along with Mary.

The problem is that he is seriously ill now after his second stroke and she is very cruel and mysterious with information and updates about our father’s health. She has said more than once: “He is my husband.” So? He is and remains my father and my responsibility. I tried to explain that this is not the time for childish drama. We must come together and do what is best for our father. But she slams the door in our face every time. I am not leaving my father. What’s the resolution here? When our father comes out of the hospital, he doesn’t need to. What am I doing? – Emotionally drained

Dear, emotionally drained: First of all, I am very sorry for your father’s stroke. May his recovery and rehabilitation be easy. Second, I am sorry to hear that your relationship with your stepmother is so strained. You don’t deserve to be treated rude, and Mary doesn’t own your father.

However, let’s look at who’s childish here. They have called Mary a “bad stepmother,” called her addiction story a moral failure, and accused her of wanting to take care of her husband. I agree with you. It’s time to put the drama aside and focus on what’s important here – your father’s health. If you are ready to own where you were ever to blame, your “bad” stepmother might do the same.

However, if your stepmother continues to keep her husband away from his children, it can constitute abusive behavior. It is best to find a lawyer who can advise you on your options.

Annie Lane writes the advice column Dear Annie.

Dear Annie, I would like to comment on the letter from Wedding Woes in which the husband of the disabled daughter is not invited to the wedding. This is wrong on every level. But if the daughter really wants to leave, maybe her husband could help her with the preparations and travel, but not attend the wedding. (Perhaps her mother could take over during the ceremony and reception.) Then the daughter and her husband could enjoy a few days of vacation and turn a “challenging” trip into something fun. The wedding only lasts a few hours, but the fun vacation memories could last a lifetime. – Make the most of it

Dear Sir or Madam, Thank you very much for your letter and advice on accepting a potentially stressful event and making it work for everyone. When life gives you lemons, make some lemonade and enjoy.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice from Dear Annie” has arrived! Annie Lane’s debut book with Favorite Pillars on Love, Friendship, Family and Etiquette is available in paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions to Annie Lane at [email protected]


Read more advice:

Ask Amy: Separate soulmates seek to bond

Dear Annie, I want to jump off the hamster wheel

Dear Abby, children cut off the stepmother with their father’s authority

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