Dear Judy,
   My husband of less than a year and I just bought a house together. I really like the house and it’s in a great school district, I just can’t stand living with his teenage daughter. My two kids,  a 13 year old daughter and a ten year old son live with us too. His daughter, Delcy, is a little whore and a bully. She plays her music so loud, my daughter can’t study. I was so mad at her for doing this, I gave away her cd player and ipod to goodwill. She is still being wild though…she’s a bad influence on my daughter.

   When I came home yesterday both girls had boys in their rooms. My daughter has gotten caught shoplifting, and run away…but she has never brought boys home before. I’m taking the locks off their doors. Usually my husband will discipline Delcy with a belt, but lately she’s been getting away with everything. Her mother died 6 years ago of cancer, and my husband moved out, because he couldn’t take it. Delcy and her 19 year old sister stayed and took care of their mom. When she died, they stayed in the house until it sold. Now she lives with us…UGH!! I can’t stand it. I just want her OUT! I hate her.

   Everyone loved her mother and thought she was a saint. I hate her mother. I can’t compete with a saint.   Delcy has the biggest  bedroom  in the house but now I hate her, so I want my son in that room. When she leaves to visit her sister for the summer, I’m moving her stuff out, and my son’s stuff in. If she doesn’t move out soon, I’m divorcing my husband. I don’t understand why he can’t see how bad she is. Why doesn’t he make her move out?

Hating Delcy in Hartford

Dear Hating,
   I think you have more problems than hating Delcy. I assume you are a grown woman and the feelings you express are of an adolescent or worse, a child. It’s sounds like you are not only jealous of Delcy, because she has some of your husband’s attention, but you are also jealous of her dead mother.

   It is delusional to think that just because your husband married you, his children and the memory of his dead wife will disappear or cease to exist. Delcy is a 13 year old girl, and therefore a child and a minor. It is irresponsible of you as well as unlawful to think that her moving out on her own and expecting her father to support such an action. It doesn’t make any sense at all. You are making him choose between his daughter and you. That is unrealistic and unethical. It’s likely he will choose his daughter. As far as teaching her  a lesson by taking her cd player and ipod..who do you think you are? Those are her possessions and you have no right giving them away. No wonder she’s a bully and bringing boys home. She’s rebelling against abominable parenting and a lack of respect.

   If her father is punishing her with a belt, that’s out of line. She’s a 13 year old girl, and that kind of punishment is  totally inappropriate. It sounds like her father has problems too. What kind of parent would leave their children to take care of a dying spouse? He sounds like a pathetic weakling. I’m surprised he wasn’t cited with a neglect charge. As for your own daughter…how is Delcy a bad influence? Your daughter has already been caught shoplifting, and running away…no doubt due to your delusional view of things.

   I doubt your husband will kick his daughter out so you can feel better. Moving her things out of her room while she is gone will only make the situation worse. Honestly, what I think you need is a psychiatric evaluation. Your thoughts and feelings are not reality based. The rest of the family could benefit from serious counseling. It could be that Delcy and her dad and you and your children are better off apart. A blended family is always tough. One with mentally ill parents is doomed.

Dear Judy,
   Last summer our neighborhood was robbed. It was an isolated incident, but still people were traumatized. My issue is with my neighbor Jill. She doesn’t understand how the people across the street were robbed if  they have two German shepherds guarding the house. Their gun cabinet was raided and the woman’s jewelry was stolen. The neighbors across the street have two homes and at times their son has lived there with his dog, also a German shepherd. The son moved out  last year and since then the neighbors have been there most of the time.

   My  neighbor Jill who also has a dog, at first thought the neighbor’s  German Shepherds had been killed, because the thieves were able to break in.  I was very nervous because if thieves are killing pets then we’re all  in trouble. I went across the street to get the straight story from my neighbor and to stop any more rumors. It turns out the dogs were boarded, and fine and our neighbors had been out of town. The police were still investigating the crime , and eventually a suspect was identified.

   I called my neigbbor Jill  and told her the dogs had been boarded and not killed, so she wouldn’t be worried. She responded by telling me she didn’t believe the neighbor or the police and that the dogs weren’t really boarded, they were killed and that the neighbor  was covering up by bringing in another set of dogs. (Her son’s I assume?) She said it was part of a bigger police  cover up, so we wouldn’t all freak out in the neighborhood.I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It sounded like something cockamamy  out of a reality TV show. I thought my neighbor had all her marbles together, but apparently not. Her husband was out of town when the robbery occurred, so maybe she flipped out.  Should I even be friends with her anymore?

Wondering in Wallingford

Dear Wondering,
   Wow… it took a lot of effort for your neighbor Jill to concoct that crazy tale. I’m wondering if she didn’t have some sort of isolated psychotic episode because she was traumatized by the thought of dogs being murdered and that this could happen to her too. Her anxiety must have gone through the roof.

   Still, once she had the facts, her refusal to accept them meant, she didn’t want to look stupid for having had her outlandish theory, or she really believed it. Paranoid delusions, like this one serve a purpose. They explain what is difficult to accept; a robbery in one’s neighborhood in this case. Some people can deal with the fear, uncertainty, and lack of control and others have to make up stories to contain their own unacceptable, and unbearable anxiety. People who become paranoid delusional, often are people who have lost the ability to manage their own fears and anxities and have to blame them on something external.( A conspiracy, cover-up etc.) What initially they hope will be an explanation of bizarre behavior comes to define the behavior itself.  I’d limit the contact with your friend, but not cut her off. Friends are people we want to count on.  Monitor her. Maybe this was just an isolated incident.