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Misconduct, abuse by caregivers needs to be reported

Dear Annie: I am a senior woman. Recently, my husband, our adult son and my caregiver have been bullying me.

It began when I witnessed inappropriate behavior between the caregiver and my husband. When I confronted my husband about it, he denied the obvious transgressions and instead verbally abused me. My son piled on and added to the verbal onslaught. This was very painful for me. It felt as though no one had my back.

Meanwhile, the caregiver not only didn’t deny the relationship; she actually gloated about it. When I fired her, she was back the next day taunting me. Finally, I left home until she was gone.

I’m attending counseling, but even so, I’m having a hard time getting over this. I can’t forget how cruel my husband and son were, as well as the caregiver. How can I get over the pain? Is it even possible? I’m really struggling. — Victim

Dear Victim: Tell your therapist what happened, and ask her or him to report your caregiver’s misconduct to the relevant agency in your state. I am sorry that this has happened to you. Bullying is never acceptable. Bullying a loved one is reprehensible.

Dear Annie: I know you have addressed opiate use and alcoholism and ways that people can recover from it. I myself have suffered from alcoholism and found the drug naltrexone to be effective. It doesn’t cause any adverse effects; it just reduces cravings. It can be used for opiate addiction as well.

The reason why I want you to print this information is that I am shocked at how few people know about it. I suspect part of the reason is because addiction is still felt to be an issue of morality or willpower, not a biological inclination.

I quit drinking when I was pregnant, but soon after I had the baby, I was back to blacking out a few times a week. I wanted more than anything in the world to be a good mother, but my addiction was making it impossible. I am lucky to have an informed psychiatrist who understands mental illness (which addiction can reasonably be considered) is not a personal flaw but a medical condition. — Not to Blame

Dear Not to Blame: I have heard that naltrexone can be a helpful tool in battling alcohol cravings, as part of a larger treatment plan that includes support groups and/or therapy. I’d encourage readers to speak with their doctors about whether it’s a good fit for them. Thank you for your thoughtful letter.

Dear Annie: I plan one fairly large party and a few smaller parties a year. I always ask for guests to RSVP, whether or not they can make it. However, very few people ever respond. Some think if they don’t respond, that I should know that means they’re coming. Others think that if they don’t respond, then I should know that means they’re not coming. I send more than 50 invitations, and I get about four responses.

All I ask is for a simple phone call or a text to let me know whether or not you can attend. Is that asking too much? — Party Planner

Dear Party Planner: You’re not asking too much. Since this is such a source of stress, I suggest aiming for smaller gatherings or dinner parties instead, winnowing your guest list down to those guests who have been courteous enough to RSVP in the past.

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Dear Annie: I was lucky enough to make several wonderful friends in college a decade ago, and a number of them are still in my life. A kindred spirit amongst them moved to the same city as I did after we graduated, and we conquered and failed our way through the many obstacles of our early adult lives. We were like a living, breathing Taylor Swift song.

One difference was our approach to dating. While my friend “Gabby” has spent her 20s crushing from afar and waiting patiently for the perfect man to waltz into her life, I trenched through the mud of phone number exchanges at bars and online dating. I kissed a lot of frogs, and leaned on Gabby through it, but eventually found my prince.

With any serious relationship, you have less free time, but even though Gabby and I were not romping our way through the city nightlife every weekend, I still made time for her and caught up as much as possible.

Shortly after I became engaged, I saw a lot less of Gabby. True, I was busy wedding planning, but that did not mean I didn’t want to at least be invited to outings with our mutual friends. I approached her about this a few months ago over lunch, expressing to her that I was feeling left out and wanted to know if I did anything wrong. Gabby promised me I didn’t do anything wrong, that she had just been busy.

Since then and since my wedding, I have seen even less of Gabby and my requests to grab brunch or drinks have been fruitless. Just because I’m married doesn’t mean I don’t want to still be friends. And if I did anything wrong, why didn’t she tell me when I asked?

I wrote out a letter to Gabby that I have yet to send, telling her how sad I am to see her slip away, but insisting I will not beg her to be my friend. I thanked her for the good times. Should I send it, or am I being overdramatic and desperate? — Broken-Hearted Bestie

Dear Bestie: Send the letter — but withhold the finality. I encourage you to leave the door open a crack because it doesn’t sound as though you’re ready to fully close it. There are a number of possible explanations for Gabby’s drifting away. Maybe she’ll open up about them after reading your letter. Either way, this gives her an opportunity to reach out.

Editor’s note: Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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