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Abby: Daughter must have boundaries with resentful mom

Dear Abby
Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I am 32, married for a year and a half, with no children yet. I am an only child who was raised by my mother until I was 14 because my father was in prison. My mother never remarried. She blames me for her never having found anyone, and she is resentful of my marriage. She doesn’t get along with anyone, not family, co-workers or “friends.”

She thinks my husband is her handyman to use around her house. The reality is, my husband works all the time, and when he does have any free time, I either want to spend it with him or need him to do things around our home. I’m afraid the day I tell her I’m pregnant her response will be laced with disdain and judgment, and I believe she will use my children as pawns like she used me to manipulate my dad.

I have seen a therapist about this, but I’m having a hard time following through on what needs to be done. My therapist suggests I tell Mom how I feel and let her know that if she continues with her current behavior, I will have to limit the amount of time we see each other.

Abby, she has said some really hurtful things to me in the past. I know her behavior is wrong, but I continue trying to be the daughter I am supposed to be so we can hopefully have the relationship we are supposed to have. I welcome your advice.

Had Enough in Georgia

Dear Had Enough: Here it is, and I cannot offer it emphatically enough. You hired a therapist who has given you excellent advice. You will save yourself a lot of grief — and time — if you take to heart what you were told and follow the advice you were given. To create boundaries is not being a bad daughter; it is being an intelligent one.

Dear Abby: I run around with my sister, “Pam,” a lot, who is eight years older. She had a facelift years ago, and has cosmetic procedures to enhance her appearance. I’ve had Botox and fillers, but don’t want a facelift. I am trying to age gracefully, just at a slightly slower pace.

I love my sister and think she looks beautiful. However, when Pam and I are together and tell people we’re sisters, they always think I’m the older one. My feelings are hurt.

When our father died, I gained 30 pounds. I’m halfway to my goal of losing weight and getting in better shape, and proud of myself, but when these encounters happen, I get thrown. How do I answer people who ask about the age difference and make comments?

Younger One in Florida

Dear Younger One: Not everyone ages at the same rate, and I don’t think people who make those comments do it to be hurtful. With all the help she’s getting, it’s no wonder your sister appears younger.

If someone remarks about you appearing older, all you have to say is, “Nope! She’s my BIG sister.” And should someone comment on your appearance, be honest. Say you gained some weight, but you’re working on taking it off and getting back into shape.

Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.