Mom is caught in the middle between dad, adult children

Published 9:06 am Thursday, April 9, 2020

DEAR ABBY: My husband wants me to stop speaking to our adult children. He says they have both offended him, and he wants an apology from them.
My daughter didn’t help him when he was out of the home for a few months and had nowhere to go. At the time, she was living in her boyfriend’s grandparents’ home. She had asked them if it was OK, but they said no. My husband was hurt by this and wants her to apologize for “treating him this way.” They no longer speak to each other and exchanged hurtful texts until my daughter blocked him.
My son, who just turned 18, is in college. He came home for a break and asked if he could stay with his girlfriend. I said yes. When my husband found out, he ordered our son to come home. My son pulled the “I’m 18; you can’t tell me what to do.” He then said our family crisis was causing his girlfriend to have anxiety and depression. This upset my husband because he felt he was being blamed for her issues and disrespected when my son refused to come home. My husband feels I should stop speaking to him, too, to support him.
I cannot bring myself to do this. My husband says our marriage is over if I can’t support him. What would you do? — IN A FAMILY MESS
DEAR “MESS”: Your husband is a handful. With his authoritarian attitude, he cannot seem to stop himself from alienating family members. He is acting like a bullying child. Right now, he is two for two and counting.
I do not think you should stop talking to your daughter for things beyond her control or for telling the truth. If you have any power at all in your marital relationship, please insist that all of you get family counseling from a licensed professional. Your husband needs to learn to communicate more effectively with his son. If your husband refuses to participate, and he may, then you have some important decisions about your future that I cannot make for you.
DEAR ABBY: My younger sister died two years ago. She was only 43. She left behind her husband of 19 years, three children, my parents and myself (along with many other family members and friends).
Her choice was to be cremated. As a family, we discussed my brother-in-law’s plans for the ashes. He discussed various options and we, of course, shared our desires and wishes. Her ashes remained in the cardboard box from the funeral home on a shelf in their living room until my brother-in-law moved into a new place a year later.
My mother finally confronted him. She said it was disrespectful not to have finalized a resting place for her daughter. She said she knew the ashes belong to him because he’s the husband. His response was he was sorry she felt that way. Now we don’t know what he’s done with them. He became engaged 15 months after my sister’s death and has been living with his fiancee.
This seems so wrong to me and so dismissive of my sister and my family. What can we do? We want a final resting place for her. We think his actions show he obviously doesn’t care. — DISILLUSIONED AND HEARTBROKEN
DEAR D&H: That’s not necessarily true. Your former brother-in-law may care so much about his late wife that he cannot let the ashes go. I hope you will maintain contact with him because it’s a way to keep track of those ashes. As his wedding date grows near, he may soften his stance and allow them to be divided, perhaps with some prodding from his new wife, which may be the solution that’s best for everyone concerned.
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 www.DearAbby.comor P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox