DEAR MARY ANN: Help! I am sure you get lots of questions about family problems, but this one is working on my last nerve and marriage. I have a 21-year-old daughter who lives with us and is unemployed. She recently lost her job again for calling off. My husband has two kids, one 20, who lives in Arizona, and one 22, who recently just moved here to start new. Both my husband and he are unemployed but looking for work.
The problem lies with my daughter and husband. We live in a small two-bedroom apartment. It's a tight squeeze, but it's working out so far. The problem is my daughter is a pig and very defiant. Her room is such a mess that you can't even walk in it. This is complicated by the fact that she leaves her stuff all over the apartment and does not do anything to help out around the house. To complicate things more she leaves at night to go out with her friends and refuses to keep my door locked.
I have spoken to her about her behavior, but she ignores me. Last night my husband was so mad because she used his last razor to shave her legs. His blades are $15 for three, and money is tight. I am at my wits end because I don't want to throw her out because she is my daughter and you don't turn your back on family, but I can't take this anymore. I work 10-hour days to make ends meet. Help, I really need some advice.
-- NO MORE ROOM AT THE INN
DEAR NO MORE ROOM AT THE INN: Tell your daughter she needs to find another place to live. Her behavior is self-centered and manipulative. She is acting like a bum. Right now you are her enabler and you are compliant if you don't take action to change the explosive environment between your daughter and your husband. Be calm but firm when you outline why the present living arrangement is intolerable and about to end.
Give your daughter a two-week notice to move and when she leaves have the locks changed. You are turning your back on her if you permit things to continue as they are. Your daughter has to become responsible and accountable for her own behavior. She can stay with her friends until she gets another job. Take a hard-line stance and don't absorb blame for her destructive actions.
DEAR MARY ANN: Is there a cure for having bad dreams? For the past year or so I have had nothing but unpleasant, somewhat disturbing, dreams practically every night. Not usually bad enough to qualify as nightmares, just unpleasant. The only thing that seems to help is leaving the television on while I sleep. I use the TV's sleep timer. After the TV turns off the bad dreams return. I guess I could leave the TV on all night, but I read somewhere that doing so interferes with sound sleep. Any suggestions?
-- RESTLESS SLEEPER
DEAR RESTLESS SLEEPER: It may be a coincidence that your disturbing dreams begin when the television goes silent. The hum of the television voices lulling your slumber is white noise. Experiment with the TV remaining on all night to see if the bad dreams stop or continue.
Stress, anxiety and major life transitions do cause bad dreams. The subconscious is powerful and permits us to think through issues we are not able to resolve when awake. New and old memories meld in our dreams while the day residue of our lives is given perspective. Try and remember your dreams so you can use them as a tool to gain insight. When you go to bed remember to keep the TV remote handy. The 2 a.m. shows and infomercials are often more annoying than an unpleasant dream. If problems persist, you may want to consider consulting a professional.
Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: email@example.com or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice. First Published March 26, 2013 4:00 AM