Relationship with husband’s daughter eroded over time

Published 8:24 am Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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DEAR ABBY: I have been married to “Frank” for 2-1/2 years. We met and married quickly. Best decision ever. We each had raised two daughters as single parents with different parenting styles. Our girls now range in age from 30 to 33. They are adults with lives and children of their own.
My daughters have accepted and come to love Frank. They have always been respectful and inclusive. In the beginning, his daughters treated me OK. But after six months, the older one decided I could not be around her children because I “don’t like her.” I always treated her respectfully and did many things for her and her kids – babysitting, buying them things they needed, twice offering a place to stay when she was going through a divorce.
She was always the boss of her father, and he puts her first over all else. There were things they would do secretly and exclude me. Now he doesn’t see them at all. They don’t talk; they explode. I’m certain at some point I will be blamed for “keeping him away.” I no longer want anything to do with her, but I encourage Frank to see his grandchildren. I’m an emotional mess over this. What do I do? – BLENDING BADLY IN NEVADA

DEAR BLENDING BADLY: Because your husband’s family dysfunction is affecting your emotional well-being, consult a licensed mental health professional to help rid yourself of this undeserved burden. Because someone chooses to blame you for something you haven’t done doesn’t mean you must accept it. If you still have a relationship with your husband’s other daughter, concentrate on her and you will all be happier.
DEAR ABBY: I have a longtime friend who is the queen of the hypochondriacs. She is always sick or complaining that something is wrong with her, but she does nothing to improve her health. She has gone to holistic doctors for years, to no avail.
I suggested it’s time for her to consult regular doctors, since holistic ones weren’t helping and because she doesn’t follow their advice anyway. She has made appointments with regular doctors but has too much anxiety to go.
She has been excluded from activities with friends because she’s always sick, but doesn’t understand why she has only one friend. She also talks incessantly about her abusive, narcissistic mother, but doesn’t realize she is a bit narcissistic herself. Should I tell her what I think about her or just keep it to myself? – PEEVED IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR PEEVED: If she is hesitant to see a doctor who might actually get to the cause of her problems, it’s probably because she’s afraid of what she might hear. Of course, people who procrastinate for years are more likely to get bad news than those who are determined to nip any problem in the bud.
If you can suppress your annoyance, instead of calling her something unpleasant, it would be more helpful to point out that hiding one’s head in the sand is not an answer, and volunteer to go with her to her appointment. That’s what a true friend does.
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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $16 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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