Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hearing attitude

How do you deal with constant family misunderstandings?

I'm having issues with my Dad. We tend to take each other's comments the wrong way, but I think he isn't hearing me at all. For example, today I told him I forgot to go to the pharmacy to pick up toilet paper. He offered me the roll in his bathroom, but I would need my own because I had a separate bathroom.

I said "But that's what I'm saying. I need to have some in my bathroom." Then he got angry at me and said I should have thought of that while I was at the store the other day. Later on, we talk about the conversation and he said he thought I copped an attitude and told him to buy me some toilet paper. He said he can't be wrong every time this happens.

I don't know what to do. I can't talk to my parents much. It's like having two angry roommates as opposed to parents.

Can Hear You

Dear Hear,

I read this letter over and over again and while there are clearly other problems at home, I think this one doesn't have to do with any of the others. If you are accurate in your description of what happened, and your Dad wouldn't normally flip out on you for reminding yourself that you need tissues, then I think your father has a hearing problem.

You might want to handle this one delicately. I'd sit down with him and tell him you've noticed the both of you have had a lot of misunderstandings, and you don't think you're copping an attitude with him most of the time. I'd see if he would be willing to go to an otologist and have his hearing checked. If you have to, pay for it.

If hearing is the problem here, and I think it is, maybe a few more problems would clear up in your parents' relationship, too.

Aunt Amy

Monday, July 23, 2007

Totally useless

I have an advice column of my own, and I am concerned about one of my contributors. After a few questions, I feel he isn't up to par with the answers he submits. How can I gently let him know he's fired?

Did I mention he is my brother?

One Useless Man

Dear Useless,

This is going to be much easier since he's your brother. From the time you both popped out of your mother's womb, you two were best friends and mortal enemies. You spent your childhood hanging out and trying to kill each other.

To start, find the appropriate time to tell him. It's best if someone had just killed his dog or his wife cheated on him. As he's weeping, grab him from behind and get him in a sleeper hold. Scream "You like that? You like that? You're fired!" Then wrestle around on the floor a little and take him out to get a beer.

It's the least you can do.

Aunt Amy

Friday, July 13, 2007

Famous friend

I have a cousin named Raph. He left today for Hollywood because he got a part to play as Zack and Cody's cousin on "The Suite Life."

I am so sad he left. What should I do? I didn't even see him leave; I was helping the librarian when he left. I have his e-mail, so should I e-mail him or will he forget me because he's famous?

Keeping in Touch

Dear Keeping,

Some people do leave their friends behind when they become a star, but you'll find plenty of large and small stars who never stopped being friends with those who know them best. Fame on all levels doesn't mean you become a shitty friend.

You didn't say whether or not your cousin was moving, too, but I bet your mom has your aunt and uncle's contact information if you need it. Since you have his e-mail, send him a message. He'll appreciate it.

Aunt Amy

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hard-partying beau

My boyfriend of four years is way too much of a party animal. I knew this all along, but when he had a stroke two days after a real hard binge, I snapped to my senses and realized this is just way too out of hand. He is two different people.

He loves to drink hard, which causes him to do drugs occasionally. I used to party right along with him. He drinks until he has no brain left. I, on the other hand, am interested in health and natural healing. It has gotten so that I do not go out with him. He waits until I go out with my girlfriends, then he goes off.

I so miss going out and having fun with him, but it is not fun anymore because he has gotten us thrown out of places. When we get home, he gets verbally abusive. When I talk to him about it the next day, he is "oh so sorry," and just says it was because he was drunk and stupid. He doesn't want to stop, because it has been his way for his whole life.

I have gotten mad and asked him to leave, but then I calm down and get all kinds of sad to think of him not living with me anymore. He is not much of a companion because he spends most of his time in front of the computer or the TV, which is why I am finding myself out with the girls, just to relax and get some companionship.

I need to be strong and keep my resolve. We are both 50 and way too old for this behaviour. I can't believe I am even writing this, but even as I speak, I am tearing up. Please help me.

Level-Headed Girlfriend

Dear Level-Headed,

I'm having a lot of problems discerning your boyfriend's other personality. He seems to be stuck on the hard-partying, angry side and not on the side you must have seen in him when you first met.

While I don't have all of the details, I think your boyfriend has a serious problem, and I completely understand why you want him to walk away. The man had a stroke from the drink.

I think you need to make a tough decision. If this relationship has only gone south recently, it might be worth giving counseling a try. For this to work, he would probably need to attend Alcoholics Anonymous or some variant thereof and actually give up drinking. If getting help isn't something he's willing to do, I hope you'll rely on those terrific girlfriends of yours to help you get out of this relationship.

When it comes to addiction, it is impossible for one person, especially a lover, to help their loved one break the habit. Remember this as you go forward.

Aunt Amy

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Friend or just tolerated?

I recently made a new friend but I'm not sure if I can really call her that. She only is nice to me when we're at home and our kids are playing, although we did go shopping together once.

Her husband is at home a lot and she doesn't ask him to watch her child, but she doesn't want to take the kid with her either. He does watch the child when my friend goes to work.

She doesn't want to bring her child with her shopping even if I bring my child because her kid is always throwing fits. I asked her to go shopping with me again, but she said "We'll see" and ended up taking off with her family instead.

This is so confusing. If she friends with me or not?

Puzzled but friendly

Dear Puzzled,

You're right, this is so confusing. Your friend can only really take her child to places where he won't throw fits, and seems to not be comfortable asking her husband to watch him for two hours even though he already watches him while she's at work.

I think there are some forces beyond your control here that might prevent a decent friendship from occurring, but only time will tell. Back off a little and see how your relationship with her goes.

Aunt Amy