March 23, 2023

Dear Annie: I don’t want my grandchild to be homeless but they can’t live with me

Dear Annie: My son has left home several times in the past, only to return because he can’t seem to get his life together. A year ago, my husband died, and my live-in son, his wife and their baby stayed to “look after me.”

They took over my house with their video games, clothing and trash. When my son became very verbally abusive to me, I made them move out. At first, they moved into his mother-in-law’s apartment, but they are now living in a motel room they can’t afford. Now they want to move back in with me, since they can’t make it on their own financially. I don’t want my granddaughter to be homeless, since she’s just a baby, but I can’t take the constant drama they bring along with them, especially the verbal abuse. Even family counseling did not help our situation. All of my friends and our counselor have advised me not to let them move back into my home. How can I help them out without ruining my own life? — Needing Space

Dear Needing Space: If your son and his family move in, it will only worsen your relationship with them. Tensions will run high, and all of you will grow resentful. I would communicate your boundaries clearly and unequivocally to your son: It is your house, and you will not tolerate the disrespect with which they have treated you and your home.

Though it may not seem like it now, this boundary will allow you a better relationship with your son. Offer your babysitting services for your granddaughter, and tell them they are welcome to come over for dinner provided they treat you with respect. This should help them out financially without taking too high of a toll on your mental peace.

Dear Annie: I have had anxiety for years. I’ve gone to counseling and am considering trying medication, but I don’t know what to do. Most of the time, I seem fine. I can get through the day. But 90% of the time, I’m on a knife’s edge. I’m beginning to find the more exhausted I am, too. It has wrecked my sleep. I wish I could be more confident, but much of the time, I feel like I suck at life. Sorry for rambling like this. Is there anything I could be doing? — Crippling Anxiety

Dear Crippling Anxiety: Let me assure you that you do not “suck at life”; these feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty are just your anxiety at play. And you’re not alone in this battle. According to the World Health Organization, almost 265 million people in the world have an anxiety disorder. It’s an incredibly common, albeit difficult, sometimes paralyzing, human condition, but you are indeed taking the right steps to manage it.

Whether you reach out to your former counselor or seek a new one, revisit therapy. It takes time and patience to see lasting change, but don’t give up. Medication, as you’ve mentioned, can also be helpful. Consider having a physical exam and routine bloodwork done with your primary care doctor first; it’s possible something physiological is having an impact on your anxiety, especially as it pertains to your sleep and mood.

Try to take moments each day to practice self-care in whatever way feels best to you. That might mean taking a long walk, meditating before you start your day, or calling a friend or family member to chat when you feel on edge. Remember to be gentle with yourself. Your anxiety is just something you experience — not something that defines who you are.

“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected].


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