Dear Abby: My twin brother is an alcoholic and homeless. He has never held a job. Although we have drifted apart, he still contacts me when he needs money, guilt trips me about not having a place to go, and once even faked a drug overdose to get my attention. I have helped him many times, but he always goes back to his old ways.
My heart breaks for him, and the thought of him not having a place to go worries me. I have a family of my own to support and care for. He has shown no gratitude for what I have done to help him, and he insists nobody cares about him. He threatens suicide and won’t get help for his alcohol abuse.
My fiancé refuses to allow me to help him anymore. I feel helpless and exhausted. I’m tired of constantly worrying about him and letting him make me feel guilty for the life he has chosen. Other relatives will have nothing to do with him. He refuses getting professional help. Please tell me what to do.
– Thinking About My Womb Mate
Dear Thinking: The only person who can divert your brother from his self-destructive path is himself. Because your attempts at helping him have all failed, recognize that although he refuses getting professional help, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t avail yourself of it.
You appear to be a kind, loving and generous sister who has been taken advantage of for a long time, and it may very well take the help of a mental health professional to help you separate from your twin. Please consider it, because the sooner you do, the sooner you will begin to feel better.
People are beyond rude
Dear Abby: Three years ago I was laid off from my job and fell into hard times. As a last resort, I moved back in with my parents and got a job at a retail store.
Over the last three years, I have paid off many of my bills and repaired my credit. I’m now saving for a new car, looking for a higher-paying job and searching for a roommate to share an apartment. My parents say my siblings and I are always welcome, that we should move out when we are ready and come back if we need to.
I have met a lot of judgmental people along the way who assume I want to “live with my parents forever and remain a child” when they learn I live with them. My family takes care of one another and does not abandon anyone once they have reached a certain age. What do I say to people who want to advise or admonish me about something that is none of their business?
– Still An Adult
Dear Still An Adult: Since you asked for my two cents, allow me to contribute. I don’t know what kind of people you have been spending time with, but someone who would have the gall to “advise and admonish” you because of the living arrangement you have with your parents is beyond rude. You shouldn’t feel compelled to defend it or offer any explanations. Frankly, I think you should avoid these people.
Boyfriend gets all the perks
Dear Abby: I have been in a relationship for five years with my boyfriend, “Clay.” We live in separate houses. I have three children, ages 18, 17 and 12. My 18-year-old is away at college.
Clay never comes to my house. Every weekend, and sometimes during the week, I must pack my bags and those of my kids to go to Clay’s. This is hard for us. I have discussed it with him, but his answer is he’s “set in his ways.”
He expects me to drop everything at a moment’s notice to host parties for him or meet him for dinner with his co-workers. I have explained that a single mother cannot do this all the time.
I am tired and frustrated. I have stayed with Clay this long thinking that one day he’ll want more from this relationship. But it’s difficult enough taking care of one home without having to look after a second one.
Am I wasting my time? Should I move on? I feel he does love my kids and me. We have never argued, and he has never mistreated me. I just don’t know what to do anymore.
– Miserable in Mississippi
Dear Miserable: Why should Clay want more from a relationship that’s working just fine for him? He has all the perks and none of the responsibilities that come with marriage. When he snaps his fingers, you run, regardless of the stress on you and your children.
That when you have mentioned a compromise he tells you he is “set in his ways” should convey a strong message. It’s time to lay your cards on the table and tell Clay what YOU want and what YOU need from this relationship, so if he isn’t prepared to give it to you, you can make other plans.
Gift hurts her feelings
Dear Abby: As a Valentine surprise, my boyfriend of two years presented me with a donation he had made in my name to his favorite charity. I thought it was impersonal and it hurt my feelings. Am I wrong to think he really doesn’t care much for me?
– Rose-Less in North Carolina
Dear Rose-Less: Let me put it this way: Your boyfriend isn’t very good when it comes to gift selection. Many men aren’t. But more important than candy or flowers is how he treats you the other 364 days of the year, and that’s how you should judge him.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 60069.