Abby: Family joke is no laughing matter for sister

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I’m in my early 20s, and my 18-year-old sister, “Judy,” is attending community college. All my memories of her consist of her putting me down. We reconciled just as I was moving out.

Abby, she is extremely dependent on the family. She cannot do for herself. If I refuse to help her, I am told by my family that I’m selfish or a “b----.” They have a running joke that she’s going to live with me and be dependent on me when our parents die. I have heard that Judy is actually OK with it and looks forward to the day I can support her.

I have tried pointing out that it’s neither healthy nor realistic, and her issues aren’t my fault, but again, I am put down. They say we’re family and it’s my job to take care of her. But when did family become a job?

Overwhelmed Sister

Dear Overwhelmed Sister: Rather than listen to hearsay, ask your sister directly if she expects you to support her in years to come, because it may not be true. However, if it is, she needs to hear firsthand that it’s not going to happen.

If your parents truly believe that your sister will not become self-sufficient, point out to them that they had better start putting money into a trust for her, if they haven’t already, and name a trustee other than you. Being her caretaker is not your job, and you should not allow yourself to be bullied, shamed or ridiculed into agreeing to it.

Dear Abby: My fiance always sets his alarm for between 5 and 6 a.m. for work or school. His clock has two alarms, which he sets 10 minutes apart. If he doesn’t get out of bed on the second alarm, he either hits “snooze” or turns it off and goes back to sleep.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I wake up at 5 a.m., so I make sure he’s awake before I leave at 5:30. However, on Tuesdays and Thursdays — or any day that I don’t get up to wake him — he’s late for work or school.

I have tried telling him that I won’t wake him up and he needs to be responsible for himself because I don’t want to get up every morning at 5. This hasn’t worked. Help!

Morning Mary In

Moscow, Idaho

Dear Mary: I’ll try, but you may not like what I have to say. Much as you want to help your fiance, what you have done is enable him to “mom-ify” you. Until he suffers the consequences for his chronic tardiness, nothing will change, and he will continue to place the burden of dragging him out of bed squarely on your shoulders.

Dear Abby: I’m a 77-year-old man. I am not currently involved with a woman, but I have had two marriages and numerous serious affairs. I’d like to know how it became the man’s responsibility to put the toilet seat down. Women seem to believe it is written in law, a rule by Emily Post or one of the Ten Commandments.

Flushed in Florida

Dear Flushed: It’s all of the above. And I think I know why you have had two marriages, numerous serious affairs and are not currently involved.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.