Estranged mom pushes closer after first grandchild’s birth
DEAR ABBY: My mother and I have never been close. We talk to or see each other five or six times a year at family functions. Honestly, I am fine with this.
I recently had a baby (her first grandchild), and suddenly she wants to come over all the time. I have tried to set boundaries (giving a day and time when she may come over), but it makes me look like a bully, and she tells people she doesn’t feel welcome. My issue is she struggles with boundaries. She asks about my finances, inappropriate questions regarding my pregnancy, etc. — topics I don’t feel comfortable discussing with her.
I honestly don’t view this as my problem. We barely have a relationship and haven’t for a long time, so I think she should take what I am offering. I simply do not care to see a lot of her. If she wants to see the baby, I feel I must be present because her having time alone with the baby is not an option that will work. Should I feel bad that she doesn’t feel welcome? — IT’S COMPLICATED
DEAR IT’S COMPLICATED: I am sorry you weren’t willing to share what caused your estrangement from your mother because it would have given me more to work with. Assuming there is a good reason for it (which I am), your mother is correct about what she’s telling people. She ISN’T welcome. In fact, she’s quite the opposite. If she doesn’t know the reasons for it, you should make them clear to her. Because you are hearing her complaints repeated by others, feel free to explain to them the reasons. You are within your rights to set boundaries regarding your mother’s visits, and you should not be made to feel guilty for doing it.
DEAR ABBY: I have known my friend “Isabella” since elementary school. When we were teenagers, we both developed medical problems. I tried to help her as much as I could, but it became clear that she was having trouble dealing with her condition. She was headed down a bad path and struggling emotionally, so we gradually grew apart.
I friended her on Facebook because I still wanted to remain friendly, but she never posted anything until recently. Now she has started posting about heavy drug use and how much it “helps” her.
I don’t want to be associated with this. I’m building a career, and I don’t want anyone assuming I use drugs, too. However, I want to remain friends with Isabella on Facebook, since it’s our only method of communication, and I want to help her overcome this. What do you suggest? — DISCREET HELPER IN THE SOUTH
DEAR HELPER: I’m suggesting you unfriend Isabella immediately for the reason you mentioned: the fear of guilt by association. As much as you would like to help your old friend with her addiction problem, and while you might suggest she enter a treatment program, it won’t happen until she finally realizes the drugs are not only NOT improving her life, but preventing her from accomplishing it. From what you have written, Isabella is still neck deep in denial, and you cannot fix that.
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.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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