Father-in-law's drop-in visits make mom at home uneasy

DEAR ABBY: I am a stay-at-home mom with two little girls. My problem is that my father-in-law insists on visiting us when his son &

my husband &

is at work. I find it weird and imposing. I have already voiced my discomfort to my husband. He tells me I am being ridiculous and selfish. Is that so?

My father-in-law also shows up at my part-time job unannounced to "visit" me. Am I being ridiculous?


DEAR INVADED: Could your father-in-law be bored, lonely or physically attracted to you? Wanting to spend time with the grandchildren is understandable, but visiting you at your job sends another message. At the very least, assuming he can drop by any time and you will entertain him is presumptuous.

You are neither ridiculous nor selfish. Your father-in-law appears to have no boundaries. He owes you the courtesy of calling before coming over to ask if it would be convenient. If you are uncomfortable alone with him, listen to your gut and refuse to have him over unless your husband is at home.

DEAR ABBY: My 3-year-old son, "Jared," died of cancer a year ago last August. Before then, I was afraid to die. Now that Jared is gone I'm no longer scared to die. This may sound bad, but now I can't wait to die.

I would never kill myself because if I did, I wouldn't go to heaven. I'm not formally religious and never have been, but I know that heaven is where Jared is, and I badly want to reunite with him.

Before I was 21, I did a lot of bad things. I am now 28, and I deeply regret them. I stole money from family members. I also took things from stores and drank a lot. (I still drink.) I also did drugs and lied. (Sometimes I still do.)

What can I do to make sure that when I die I'll be with my beautiful boy? Jared was my life, and the only thing getting me through his death is knowing I'll see him again. Please help.


DEAR UNSURE: Please accept my deepest sympathy for the loss of your little boy. I know you are in pain, and while you say you are not formally religious, your faith is what is getting you through this.

While it is impossible to change one's past behavior, there is much you can do to improve your future. First and foremost, cut out the drinking, drugging and lying, and find a way to constructively contribute to this life. Once you do, you will not only begin to feel better about yourself, but will also begin paving the way to heaven. The mistakes of your youth should not prevent this.

I urge you to discuss your concerns with a clergyperson who can offer you guidance. You can also find comfort in talking with other parents who have lost children. They will identify with your pain in a way that no one else can.

A group I have mentioned in my column recently is The Compassionate Friends. There are hundreds of chapters, and if you check its Web site (), it can refer you to local meetings. Please don't wait to contact it.

DEAR ABBY: After 30 years as a widow, I married a wonderful, gentle, caring man. The problem is his son, "Byron." Byron is a 50-year-old druggie who doesn't work and sponges off his father by making promises he never keeps.

My husband forgives him over and over because Byron is his only son. But the fighting is going to cause my husband to have a heart attack. His son rants, screams and threatens. I have personally heard him make death threats.

I finally lost my temper and told Byron exactly how I feel. Now he is refusing to come over, refuses to help his father in any way and blames me. I know what he is doing, and it breaks my heart to see my husband in such pain.

What can I do to mend the fences? Everything I said to his son is the truth. Please guide me.


DEAR HEARTSICK: Your husband's "child" is an addict. One of the things addicts do &

and quite adeptly &

is manipulate those around them into enabling them to continue their habit. The harder a person tries to protect the addict, the more it makes the addict able to continue his/her self-destructive behavior. The reason Byron acts the way he does is because it has always worked.

Believe it or not, your husband needs help right now as much as &

or more than &

his son does. An excellent place to find it would be the Nar-Anon Family Groups, a support group founded in 1967 that offers insight and support to families and friends of addicts. It provides a safe place for members to share their experience, hope and strength with each other. To locate a group in your area, call toll-free (800) 477-6291 or visit its Web site at .

DEAR ABBY: I am 44, a newly single mother of three young children. Two years ago I discovered that my husband had been leading a double life &

including lying, cheating, stealing and substance abuse. One of his affairs was with my favorite cousin, "Charlotte." I had always looked up to her. The news was devastating.

Equally devastating is the reaction of my family. They consider Charlotte to be a "victim" of my former husband. They say I should get over it and move on. They want to invite her to family functions, including my youngest sister's wedding, in which my children and I have been asked to participate.

Since the affair, Charlotte has continued to be an alcoholic. She has never attempted to apologize appropriately. Once she did, but she was drunk and refused to take responsibility for her actions. Out of respect for my feelings, I think Charlotte should be excluded from the wedding. If she is invited, I'm not sure my children and I will attend. What do you think?


DEAR OUTRAGED: You should thank your higher power that you're rid of the substance-abusing, morally challenged philanderer you married. He had the affair with Charlotte because she was handy, vulnerable and addled by alcohol. She has tried to apologize, but because she was drunk couldn't get her message across. Does this absolve her? No! But until Charlotte sobers up, expecting an "appropriate" apology is as unrealistic as asking someone with a broken leg to tap-dance.

Take part in the wedding and allow yourself to have a good time. Stop nursing your anger for Charlotte and direct it where it belongs &

at your ex. Do this if not for yourself, then in the name of family unity. No woman is an island, and with your current mind-set, you're only isolating yourself.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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