Annie Lane: Lost 1 son, struggling with the other 2

Published 6:11 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2022

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Dear Annie: I lost a son in 2014, and now both of my surviving sons don’t want to have anything to do with me.

Sometimes I feel as if I have lost all three sons. I say that because the two living sons try to control me, always telling me how to do things.

My oldest lives in our house. He and his girlfriend refuse to help pay the mortgage and are now keeping the grandkids away from us. I refuse to fight with them both.

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My husband and I decided to put the house up for sale. Why should we pay for them to live for free? Why should we end up homeless?

As for my other son, he’s called me horrible names. He has told he that I should never have remarried. But it was OK for his dad to have remarried! I never brought different men to the house — just my husband, to whom I have been married for 16 years.

My ex-husband has since passed away, which has been a blessing to me but not to my youngest son. I know he’s struggling with his father’s death and still with the death of his brother.

How do I cope with this abuse from my two living sons? The sad part is that they both keep my grandkids away from us, and that causes the most pain and suffering.

— Sad in California

Dear Sad in California: I am so sorry for the loss of your son. Remember, hurt people hurt people, and your sons are understandably in a lot of pain. First and foremost, acknowledge that they lost their father and brother and that it’s very painful. Sometimes, when people are in pain, they are meanest to the people they love most — people they know won’t leave them, such as their mother. I am not justifying their behavior, just explaining a possible reason why they could be so cruel to you.

I would also look at the way you have treated them. Have you spoken to them with the respect and love that you demand they show toward you? When you say that the death of their father has been a blessing to you, if you are communicating that message to your sons, their resentment is understandable.

As far as living in your house, you have every right to ask them to leave, especially if they are being so disrespectful.

• • •

Dear Annie: Many of the letters in your column address the issue of alcoholism and how it affects the alcoholic’s loved ones. This is not the first time I have written to you, but I am writing again because I feel so strongly about telling your readers what worked for me.

What worked is Al-Anon, the anonymous organization that gives help and support to the families and friends of alcoholics. Please publish this national helpline number so that individuals whose lives have been affected by others’ drinking can find the help they need: 1-888-4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666). They can also go to for more information. Al-Anon saved my life, and it can save yours, too.

— A Friend of Lois W.

Dear Friend of Lois W: Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope it helps others who are coping with similar situations to yours to reach out for help. Over the years, many readers have told me that Al-Anon saved their life, just as it did yours.

“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