DEAR ABBY: One night I woke up to my cat scratching at my bedroom door to be let in. When I got up and opened the door, I heard my parents making love. They were so loud it grossed me out, because my little sister is 10 and we share a room right next to theirs. She still doesn't know about this kind of stuff.
I want to tell them they don't need to be doing that, because what if she got scared and woke up and tried to go in there? What should I do -- tell them to go to a motel? -- GROSSED OUT IN MADISON, MISS.
DEAR GROSSED OUT: Do not tell your parents to go to a motel. If the cat hadn't wakened you and you hadn't opened your bedroom door, you wouldn't have heard a thing. Be glad that you have parents who love each other and that you didn't overhear them fighting.
If your sister ever wakes up and gets scared, she should know she can wake you up.
P.S. At age 10, your sister shouldn't be completely in the dark about the facts of life. And the person who should be talking to her about them is her mother.
DEAR ABBY: I have an aunt (by marriage) who I think may be suffering from mental issues. All of a sudden, she is calling members of our family and telling them that "so-and-so" (it varies) is talking about them behind their backs. Of course, none of it is true, but it has caused a huge rift in our family. Family members have had big arguments over these calls.
The aunt is in her mid-50s and has always been quiet and sweet to everyone, so of course when someone gets a call, the person tends to believe her. This is tearing our family to pieces, and no one knows for sure if she's having problems or if she is telling the truth.
Help! My cousins are no longer speaking to one another or me. I'm not close to her, but I have fallen prey to her phone calls to others. What should I do? -- SLANDERED IN INDIANA
DEAR SLANDERED: A sudden change in personality can indeed be a sign of mental illness or a physical problem. Those family members who are still speaking to one another should approach the uncle to whom the woman is married and express the family's concerns. She may need a physical and neurological evaluation. (And the cousins need to mend fences.) How sad.
DEAR ABBY: Have you ever dealt with work addiction in your column? Many mental health care professionals do not take workaholism seriously -- probably because many of them suffer from the problem themselves.
I recently researched the topic because the behavior of a close friend was making our relationship suffer. Workaholics Anonymous exists, and some books have been written on the subject. Perhaps you could spread the word. -- CARING FRIEND IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR CARING FRIEND: I'm pleased to do that. Workaholics Anonymous is an international organization that was founded in 1983. It's a 12-step program based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous for individuals who feel their work lives have gotten out of control. It offers mutual support in solving problems related to compulsive overworking, and it also helps families and friends who are affected.
To find out about weekly meetings and group development guidelines, contact Workaholics Anonymous, P.O. Box 289, Menlo Park, CA 94026; call 510-273-9253; or go to www.workaholics-anonymous.org.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)