DEAR ABBY: I think a person in my life, "Janine," has kleptomania. I have seen her take things from my house, and I know she steals clothing from stores (as evidenced by the security clips still on them).
A friend witnessed her take boxes of doughnuts from my wedding. When my friend confronted her about it, Janine said that she "deserved" them. She even took my husband's glasses and then, a year later, set them on the kitchen counter -- next to her purse. She has other sporadic behaviors as well.
I'm struggling to be understanding about kleptomania, knowing that it's a mental illness. I don't want to lose my personal belongings or my relationships!
We're no longer comfortable having Janine in our home. I'm reluctant to talk to her about it because she can be combative and defensive. Is it socially acceptable to bring up this behavior with our mutual friends, or should we keep our mouths shut? -- TESTED IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
DEAR TESTED: If you are sure that Janine has kleptomania, it would be a kindness to caution your mutual friends about it so they can protect their belongings. I would certainly want to know if I were inviting her to my home.