Son-in-law’s distraction may be more than forgetfulness

Published 8:20 am Friday, January 22, 2021

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DEAR ABBY: I’m responding to the letter from “Open-and-Shut Case in Virginia” (Oct. 20), who complained her son-in-law was “disrespectful” because he didn’t close cupboard doors, cereal boxes, etc. My guess is that “Kirk” is displaying classic symptoms of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (AADD). Multistep tasks may be difficult for him to complete because he is easily distracted.
My husband has this. (It was not diagnosed until he was in his 50s, and I had nearly torn all my hair out.) He still occasionally leaves cabinet doors and drawers open. I tease him that he can’t remember to walk from one side of the room to another if he forgets to take his medication.
I strongly recommend that Kirk be evaluated by a behavioral psychologist for AADD. Treatment may save the relationship between Kirk and his in-laws. — WIFE OF A MAN WITH A.A.D.D.

DEAR WIFE: Thank you for your letter. I received a deluge of responses about the letter from “Open-and-Shut Case in Virginia,” and the vast majority of the writers mentioned ADD, ADHD and AADD. Many of them recommended patience on the part of the in-laws and volunteered that Kirk may be able to manage the disorder if he is diagnosed.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 73-year-old retired woman who still maintains contact with a number of old and new friends for movies, dinner, museum visits, etc. Until the COVID virus, we did things often. Now, not so much.
Someone in this group told me that on a couple of occasions, a few of them were not very nice when my name came up. (“Why doesn’t she see her grandkids more often?” “She goes out more than most, yet doesn’t want to eat in certain restaurants.”) My husband and I have a good marriage, but many of these ladies are widowed or divorced. How do you handle backstabbing at this age? — MYSTIFIED IN NEW YORK

DEAR MYSTIFIED: Try not to take it personally. Obviously, these gossips have less to occupy their minds than one would hope. You might also consider seeing these particular individuals even less often than you already do in the age of COVID. If you do, it may give them less ammunition concerning what you do (or don’t do) with your time.
DEAR ABBY: I began using a wheelchair two years ago. Since then a dear friend of roughly 30 years has become fixated on my disability. While we once shared a deep, close “BFF” relationship, she now speaks to me in baby talk and only shows an interest in my physical limitations. I feel objectified, hurt and disappointed.
I have mentioned to her that I prefer to focus on other things in life, and she responds with platitudes like, “The body is just a shell,” and “All that matters is the heart,” but her actions tell me otherwise. I hate to end this friendship, but I am at the end of my rope. Any advice? — PATRONIZED IN ARIZONA

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DEAR PATRONIZED: If you haven’t done it already, tell this person that you no longer wish to discuss your disability and you prefer she stop raising the subject and treating you differently. Period. If she continues to pursue the subject after that, make your visits less frequent, if they happen at all.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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