Dear Abby: My mother and I have a relationship that isn’t healthy. I know that may make me seem like a terrible person, but hear me out.
I was never “allowed” to be a child. For as long as I can remember, I have taken care of her because she refuses to grow up. My father wasn’t in the picture. I thought that when I grew up and moved out, she would make some lifestyle changes, but she never did. I’m constantly having to put my life and plans on hold to cater to her needs.
She won’t keep a job, she’s an alcoholic and, above all, she has it in her mind that she’s been a great mother and now it’s her time to “live for herself.” Abby, she’s the most selfish person I have ever known!
My fiance and I are trying to embark on a life of our own, but I can’t move ahead because I’m constantly worrying about her. I love her, and she will always be my mother, but I can’t keep this up or I will never be able to live my life. What should I do?
—Making Changes in South Carolina
Dear Making Changes: It may take the help of a licensed mental health professional to separate emotionally from your mother. She has not only turned you into HER parent, she appears to be in denial about two things — her parental abilities and her drinking. You cannot resolve these issues for her.
You and your fiance should absolutely start concentrating on the life you are trying to build together, and do it as geographically distant from her as you can manage. This is called “emancipation,” and do not expect her to like you for doing it.
Dear Abby: My husband and I attended a party at the home of one of my co-workers. There were about 15 guests. The problem was the homeowner’s pets — two dogs that live inside. The dogs were allowed to roam freely during the party.
They barked each time a guest knocked or rang the doorbell and jumped on each person who entered. They hovered at people’s feet waiting for food to drop or to be given to them. It felt like we were expected to pet the animals and interact with them whether we wanted to or not. The homeowner made no attempt to control the dogs or keep them away from any of the guests.
I don’t dislike animals, but I don’t want other people’s pets jumping on my clothes, trying to lick me or getting close to my food. Two large wire kennels were visible along a front hallway, which I assume are used during the day while the homeowner is away at work. What would have been the polite way to ask my co-worker to put the dogs in their kennels or out in the garage while the guests were eating?
—Likes Pets, But …
Dear Likes: To an animal lover, a pet is a member of the family. Your co-worker obviously saw nothing wrong with his/her dogs mingling with the guests. There is no polite way to ask a host to put a family member in the garage during a party. Telling your co-worker that you found the pets’ behavior disruptive may solve your problem, because he/she will probably omit you from future guest lists.
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.