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Annie’s Mailbox:

Sat., Aug. 16, 2014, midnight

Dear Annie: My mom is in her 70s. She always has had trouble controlling what comes out of her mouth, but it seems to be getting worse.

Mom often insults others by making offensive comments or asking rude questions. When they attempt to respond, she laughs in their face. I have heard Dad rebuke her on occasion for this behavior, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. She goes on to offend or tease the next person.

Mom monopolizes every conversation. She answers every question, even those not directed at her. She chatters nonstop and will not allow for any silence in a conversation. Simply being around her is exhausting.

I worry that Mom is severely limiting her options in terms of who would be willing to care for her in the future. She is so abrasive that no one wants to be around her. She doesn’t seem to realize that the more words she carelessly speaks the greater the likelihood that something regrettable will come out. Is there anything I can do or say to her that might make a difference? – Can’t Think Before Speaking

Dear Can’t: Has your mother had a complete checkup lately? Sometimes these problems are the result of small strokes or other physical or neurological problems. On occasion, troublesome behavior that has been annoying but tolerable becomes less filtered and less controllable over time, especially if there is underlying depression or anxiety. Suggest your mother see her doctor, and offer to go with her so you can discuss this directly. You also can leave a message at the doctor’s office with your concerns.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Concerned Friend” with interest. I started biting my nails in the first grade and never could stop despite wanting to. Fifty years later, I was given medication for depression that also contained an anti-anxiety medication. To my amazement, the nail biting stopped, and I’ve had beautiful nails ever since. – Prescott, Arizona


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