Life Advice



Ask Amy: Mom’s mistreatment has lingering effect

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My adult middle child and I struggled during my parenting years.

I always connected with her older brother and younger sister more easily than with her.

I had no idea how much this hurt her until she moved out. Once during a conversation, she shared many, many incidents showing a lack of affection during her childhood that hurt her. There is truth to this; however, at the time I did not see it. Now that she is an adult, I have tried to “make up” for the pain that I caused her. I have been there for her. She still (subconsciously) punishes me.

She is now a doctor, and all through medical school she wrote me loving cards of kindness and appreciation, thanking me for my support and love.

Yet we can hardly be around each other for two days without her picking apart everything that I say or do.

I am always on eggshells around her. She is very beautiful and professionally driven. I know that I annoy her. I can’t figure out if she still has resentments from her childhood. She is currently distancing herself from me. This happened after she and I drove several hundreds of miles together to the location of her medical residency. Even though she lived with me pretty happily for a month beforehand, the trip itself didn’t go well.


She says that she doesn’t like the person that I am. This came out of left field.

I don’t know how to react. She ignores my texts.

Should I just give her space?

— Dumbfounded


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