DEAR ABBY: My mother was fired from her job 11 months ago and has not yet found work. She drew unemployment, but that has run out. However, her real problem is, she thinks the devil is living in her home and raping her every night.
She also thinks this man at work she had a crush on, and who kept rejecting her, is living in her house.
She often talks about killing herself. My aunts say she is fine, but she is NOT fine. She refuses to get professional help. How can I help her? -- WORRIED DAUGHTER IN ILLINOIS
DEAR WORRIED DAUGHTER: Unless your mother actually does something to prove she is a danger to herself or to others, there is little you can do except watch her closely. Her doctor should be notified about her delusions and her threats, but no one can force her into treatment unless she acts out.
You might also try talking to her spiritual adviser about her problem, and see if some sort of intervention can be done. But I really think her problem is psychological.
DEAR ABBY: I am dating a widower, "Charles," whom I really like except that he doesn't shut up about his "perfect" and "saintly" late, great wife. It grates on my nerves. I mean, what am I -- chopped liver?!
I tried matching him story-for-story about my late husband so he'd get the hint. It only made him rave about her more.
My widowed friends say they've encountered the same problem. If these guys think their wives were the best there is, why do they bother dating?
Charles tells me other women he's dated bore him. I can't believe it's not the other way around. Maybe he has to keep dating to find a new audience.
I don't understand why Charles keeps one foot in the grave with his wife while he's still alive. Is he depressed? Or just dumb? -- BOTH FEET ON THE GROUND
DEAR BOTH FEET: Perhaps he talks about his late wife because they shared so many years and events together that his major memories are bound up with her.
Instead of being resentful, speak up! Tell him it's time to stop dwelling on the past and to focus on the present. Work on creating new, happy memories with him. Take pictures, take trips, host a party together. Get a theater subscription, tickets to sporting events, etc., so his memory bank will spill over with recent happy memories with you. I can't think of a better investment.
DEAR ABBY: I tend to get upset easily and yell at my 7-year-old son when I'm stressed. I don't get physical, but I do get emotional. Sometimes I feel I am going to explode with all kinds of crazy feelings racing through my mind, body and soul. Do you have any suggestions for me? -- OVERSTRESSED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR OVERSTRESSED: It's important that you get to the root of what's really bothering you -- and that may require professional help. Talk to your doctor about things you can do to reduce the stress in your life.
Also, make sure you're getting enough sleep. And consider this: Many people who suffer from emotional overload cope with it by getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. Give it a try. If that doesn't help, re-read paragraph one.
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