Dear Annie: I’m 12 years old, and my brother is verbally and physically abusive. Sometimes it’s just playing around, but other times it really hurts. When I yell out, my mom gets involved. She sends us both to our rooms without even knowing what the problem is. She doesn’t want to hear it. She always says, “You’ll just have to work it out on your own.”
I’ve tried to ignore it when my brother hits me, but it really hurts, and when he calls me names, that hurts, too. Recently, I’ve developed some medical problems with my head. I don’t think my brother is the cause, but you never know.
I don’t really have an adult I can talk to, and my friends wouldn’t know how to help. This doesn’t seem like a matter for any authorities. What should I do? — Bruised in Nebraska
Dear Bruised: A certain amount of arguing between siblings is normal, and unkind words are not unusual. But the hitting needs to stop. Your mother sounds as if she is tired of refereeing your fights. Instead, work on what sets your brother off. In most sibling altercations, neither sibling is totally blameless. Consider that you are somehow provoking him, even unintentionally. It’s also possible that your brother cannot control his jealousy or competitive nature, in which case, you may need to avoid him. Discuss this with your school counselor, and ask your doctor if your head problems are connected to your brother’s volatility. Then show your mother this letter, and tell her you wrote it.
Dear Annie: I live in an assisted-living facility. One of the other residents is grossly overweight and has high blood pressure and bumps on his arm that bleed. Any activity leaves him struggling for breath.
I am concerned about this guy because the kitchen staff constantly gives him fattening foods that the other residents do not eat. Worse, they sometimes serve him a second helping of meals. This man does not simply eat food. He attacks it.
I don’t want anyone to get into trouble by complaining to the staff. Should I tell the head nurse or those family members who visit? Or do I say nothing until he drops dead? — Wondering
Dear Wondering: This is something for the family members to handle, so please speak to them at their next visit. However, if the family won’t be coming by for a month, or if they do nothing, we hope you will go to the head nurse and say that you’ve noticed the man eating unusually fattening foods and receiving second helpings. But please keep in mind that the residential facility may simply be doing what the man and his family have agreed upon, in which case, there’s nothing more you can do.
Dear Annie: In your response to “Over and Out,” whose husband likes internet porn, you failed to mention the root cause of surfing such sites — the alienation of affection from the wife.
If my wife touched me, I’d have no reason to look elsewhere. The internet is safer than a bar or the streets. When you get letters on this issue, you should look at the cause, not the result. — Bakersfield, Calif.
Dear Bakersfield: That may be the problem in your house, but not in most. We’ve received mail from women who beg their husbands for sex, create a seductive atmosphere and all but dance on poles (and even that). But those husbands still prefer pornography. We think it’s because there is no pressure to perform or be good at it, the women online will do anything, they look perfect, they make insecure men feel like sex gods, and they do not require any commitment in return. Real women cannot compete with that, and as a result, it destroys the intimacy in the marriage.
Annie’s Snippet for Patriot Day (Credit Kurt Vonnegut): I can think of no more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire engine.
“Annie’s Mailbox” is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. To find out more about Classic Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.