Her elderly boss is making life tough

Dear Annie: Right now I am having an anxiety attack and a headache, all because my elderly boss started the week by screaming and belittling everyone in sight. The man can’t hear, can’t see and barely gets around, but he insists on running the business with an iron fist. His adult children are perfectly capable of taking over, but he refuses to let them have any responsibility aside from their hourly jobs.

He has started making major mistakes, which I’m expected to find and fix. Yet when I do, it makes him angry and he gives me grief. I am working two jobs to make ends meet and can’t afford to quit. I’ve spoken to his children and they say there is nothing they can do, he is the president of the company and they have no recourse. They’ve approached him about letting them do more, but that only upsets him more. Please help me find a way to deal with this situation. New York Employee

Dear Employee: Your boss is frightened to realize he is no longer as capable as he once was. He thinks if he gives up control of the company, he will become useless and unnecessary because, like many men, his identity is entirely wrapped up in his job. Since the situation cannot be changed and you are unwilling to quit, we recommend you turn a deaf ear as often as possible, and cultivate sufficient sympathy and understanding to make his tirades less upsetting. No matter how it appears, you are not the real target of his anger and frustration.

Dear Annie: My friend “Lucy” turned 50 this year, and so did I. I asked her weeks in advance if she wanted to have a party at my house, but no one in her family was willing to help me pull it together. Instead, she had a small party at her parents’ home. I brought a nice gift and had a lovely time.

For my birthday, my husband and kids threw a party at my house and all my friends and family attended, except Lucy. She said she was definitely coming, and I offered to let her stay overnight since she lives two hours away. I called her the night of the party and left her a message, as did another friend, both of us asking where she was.

That was a month ago and I haven’t heard from her since. My feelings are really hurt. I’ve known Lucy since high school. We were in each other’s weddings. We watched our kids grow up. My daughter ran into Lucy’s daughter, who said, “Oh, something came up and Mom feels really bad.” But I guess not bad enough to pick up the phone. So, should I call her or simply write her off and move on? I’m so hurt, I’m ready to do it. Upset in Iowa

Dear Upset: We think Lucy’s guilt is keeping her from phoning. She owes you an apology, but it doesn’t look like she’s going to volunteer it, so we suggest you call and say you’ve missed her. A decades-long friendship deserves a second chance.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Flustered Wife,” who discovered her husband is looking at porn and asked if all men do that. I just want to point out that while men like to look at pictures of naked women, women like to read romance novels, which include plenty of sex. In fact, in this down economy, the sales of romance novels are way up. The subject (sex) is the same.

How we approach it is different. Biologically speaking, while men like to look, women like to imagine. There’s nothing to be flustered about, unless, as you pointed out, there are signs of a problem. Looking vs. Imagining

Dear Looking: This is a subject for a much longer column, but let’s just say that fantasizing while reading is generally a lot less destructive to a marriage than pornography.

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