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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Annie’s Mailbox: Put up with sister for nephew’s sake

Marcy Sugar and Kathy Mitchell Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: My younger sister, “Nora,” is 43 and acts like an 18-year-old brat. She became pregnant nine years ago by a drug addict who is currently in jail for raping a 14-year-old girl. I love my nephew, “Michael.” My older sister and I keep him at our homes most weekends.

The problem is, Nora uses our father like her personal banker. He pays for her rent, all bills and a lot of Michael’s necessities. My father can do what he wants with his money – that’s not the issue. The issue is Nora’s attitude toward him. Lately, he’s been complaining that he feels used by Nora. But he takes it out on Michael by making comments like, “I’m done with both of you.” Michael is hurt.

This week my father yelled again after a snub by Nora, and now Nora won’t answer her phone, texts or anything. I don’t see her car at her house. I don’t know where they are, whether she’s taking Michael to school, whether she’s working, and I’m at my wits’ end. She is also ignoring my other sisters.

I’m worried, confused and scared. Nora knows she can control us because we would do anything for Michael. I don’t want to sit back and wait for her to get over it. What can I do? – Sick and Tired of the Drama Queen

Dear Sick and Tired: Can you call Michael’s school and Nora’s place of business and find out whether they have shown up? If not, you should call the police and report them missing. But if they are simply avoiding you, there isn’t much you can do. Nora may be a leech, but that doesn’t make her an unfit parent. It also means that if you want to see Michael, you will have to cater to Nora’s whims until Michael is old enough to see you on his own.

As aggravating as that is, consider the stable example you are setting for the boy, and do it for his sake. Your father, however, has to stop punishing everyone else for his own choice to give Nora money. Please talk to him about this. He could benefit by venting to a professional.

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