Dear Annie: Am I strange? I like to keep my house clean and neat. In addition, I check for items that may need fixing so the house is not in disrepair. Although friends and family think I am “anal,” I do not feel that I am obsessive.
I also have many fears, some of which are entirely baseless. I am in anguish if I have to travel on a highway, imagining worst-case scenarios. Five years ago, my husband and I started driving 1,500 miles for our winter vacation. (Flying is too expensive.) With speed limits up to 70 mph, I am scared out of my mind. Last year, on the day of our trip, I awoke with a migraine and started to vomit. Another trip is coming up in the fall. I might as well have a heart attack and get it over with.
I believe I inherited this type of thinking from my mother. I am sure that I am not alone with these problems. Can we change who we are? Please do not suggest counseling.
Too Clean, Too Fearful
Dear Too Clean: You can change if you are motivated to do so. We aren’t concerned about your clean house. You may be a little more attentive than most people, but it doesn’t sound as if your cleanliness is out of control. Your fear of highway travel, however, is an anxiety issue. A combination of therapy and medication is quite effective, but since you are not interested in therapy, look into alternative treatments such as relaxation techniques, acupuncture and yoga. For more information, contact the Anxiety and Depression Association of America at adaa.org.
Dear Annie: You printed a letter about people parking in the striped area of handicapped zones. What do you do when your friends use the handicapped parking permits that belong to their parents or spouses when the disabled person is not in the car with them?
Several times, we girls have gone out together, and one of them uses the permit to get better parking at the venue. No one in the car needs assistance. Shy of creating a problem with my friends, I don’t know how to address this issue. It really bothers me. Do you have some advice?
Dear Nancy: It is important to speak up. Simply say, “It makes me uncomfortable when you use a handicapped spot. I always feel that we are stealing a parking place from someone who really needs it. I’m grateful I don’t. Please park somewhere else.” Your friends may frown and say you’re being silly, but we guarantee it will have an effect on their future behavior. Good for you.
Dear Annie: Tell “Going in Circles in the Circle City” to run as fast as he can and never look back. His situation with a jealous girlfriend is toxic.
I was married to a jealous woman for nearly 40 years, and it was hell on earth. It’s a mystery why we stayed together, and I feel I wasted all those years. My wife passed away, and I wish I could say a bunch of nice things about our marriage, but it would be one gigantic lie.
If you want to live a life of torture, your stomach in knots, constant phone calls, having to justify going to the store, go right ahead and marry that otherwise lovely companion. I can tell you from personal experience that the jealousy never ends. It’s like an incurable disease. For the sake of his health and welfare, he should take a fast hike
Paul from Pennsylvania
Dear Paul: Extreme jealousy can make any relationship toxic, but it is usually rooted in insecurity, and sometimes counseling can help.
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