Dear Annie: We need some serious advice about a family member who is driving the entire family insane. When “Billy” was a child, he was considered gifted, and everyone predicted he would accomplish unbelievable things. After six years of college, he has no degree and is only qualified to be a bartender or a rugby player.
But this hasn’t stopped him from getting married and having three little kids. They all moved in with his mother and stepfather. They don’t assist with any of the bills, but occasionally buy food that they mark as theirs and won’t let anyone else eat. His wife has a good job, and we’re afraid she might get tired of him being a deadbeat and leave.
Billy has bounced from job to job and either quits or gets fired within weeks. He lost a managerial position when he was late the first day because he couldn’t find his tie – he blamed it on his youngest child. Worse, he still thinks he’s gifted. Several other members of our family have gone on to get degrees, but Billy makes remarks that indicate he’s the genius and they haven’t achieved anything. He dominates our family get-togethers. I don’t think he realizes his faults or what he’s doing to the rest of the family. He always claims to be the victim.
Now he has found a local doctor to prescribe painkillers for his rugby injuries and is passed out in the recliner most of the time. He actually transported two of his children to school and almost hit a school bus. We are taking on water and won’t last much longer. Please save our sinking ship and tell us what to do. – Reaching for a Life Jacket
Dear Reaching: Has Billy been tested for attention deficit disorder? Is his doctor aware that these painkillers are too strong? Would his wife insist he get counseling to work on his issues? Unless Billy is living in your home, you are limited in what you can do about this. But please help your parents and those young children whenever possible.