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Annie’s mailbox: Silent treatment speaks volumes

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Dear Annie: I have been married to "Harry" for 15 years. Whenever I do anything to upset him, he goes into rages and will not speak to me for long periods. Once, his silence lasted two months. Often, I am not sure what I've done wrong.

The last time, Harry simply quit talking for six days. During this time, I told him I wanted to visit my grandchildren who live three hours away. I was gone for two days, and when I returned home, Harry was a raving lunatic who just screamed at me. We had a vacation planned, but instead he went by himself.

This has happened so many times I am just fed up. I really think my marriage is not worth all this. What do you say? — Disgusted in Florida

Dear Disgusted: It sounds as if Harry could use some anger-management classes. His rages are verbally abusive, and the silent treatment is a passive-aggressive form of control. We don't blame you for being fed up.

Give Harry one more chance to make the marriage worth the effort. Tell him you'd like to make an appointment with a marriage counselor, so both of you can work on your communication problems. If Harry refuses to go, go without him.

Dear Annie: I recently received an e-mail that is a fraud. It was supposedly from a bank worker in Africa, offering a "great opportunity" that had been "kept secret" from everyone else. The letter said someone in his country had died, leaving a lot of money, and they needed a foreign account to transfer it to. Once the foreign bank worker transferred the money into this account, the investor was entitled to keep 30 percent of this so-called fortune. Of course, the investor is asked to put up earnest money beforehand in order to get in on the deal.

I know a scam when I see one, so I kept the sender's e-mail address. I was wondering if you knew who I should notify about it before some poor fool takes the bait. — Curious on the Internet

Dear Curious: We appreciate the opportunity to alert those readers who may not have come across this particular swindle. In fact, we receive several of these solicitation letters every day. Check out the National Fraud Information Center at www.fraud.org (1-800-876-7060).

Dear Annie: I am a 14-year-old girl. I participate in many activities such as drama club and dance lessons, and I'm a member of the National Honor Society. I enjoy school a lot. I have a small group of friends, and in general, they are great. My family is wonderful. They would walk on fire for me.

Even so, I often feel like something is missing inside. I'm not sure what it is, and I'm not sure why. When I start feeling this way, I often become very emotional and lash out at those around me. Half the time, I don't even realize what I'm doing. I don't think I need a shrink, just a little advice. Is there anything you can tell me? Or do I seem completely selfish for writing this? — Forlorn in Florida

Dear Forlorn: You don't seem selfish at all. In fact, you seem like a caring person who doesn't want to hurt or alienate her friends and family.

You are 14. It sounds as if you are suffering from an influx of hormones, and a certain amount of moodiness and irritability is perfectly normal. The important thing is not to let your emotions get the better of you. When you notice that you are becoming a bit testy, take a break. Get some exercise. Eat something nutritious. Write your feelings down in a diary. Give yourself time to calm down. If you think the situation is getting worse, talk to your parents or the school nurse for reassurance.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailboxcomcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. © Creators Syndicate Inc.