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Ask Amy: Widower’s new woman plays out old story

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My mom died two years ago. Less than six months later, my father started dating a new woman.

My siblings and I tried to be as supportive as possible. Our father was amazing to our mother as she battled cancer. He deserves love and companionship, and our mother wanted that for him, too.

However, over time it has become evident that this woman’s intentions are to drive a massive wedge between our father and his four kids. She has created lies that change our father’s image of each of us. She’s hidden pictures of our mother and replaced them with ones of herself. She has insulted the “way we were raised.” She has made each of us feel so distant — and unwelcome — in our home and with our family.

At this point, all four of us are beginning to feel estranged from our father. We’ve tried speaking with him and with her, but it always ends in vicious fights and with our father taking her side.

We want Dad to be happy, but with someone else.

We are hoping that, as he is a devoted reader of your column, he’ll see this, and your objectivity will provide some clarity.

 

— Three Daughters

Dear Three Daughters: Unfortunately, trying to rescue someone from the heartbreak of a toxic relationship most often results in a dynamic that reminds me of the old “Chinese finger trap” puzzle: the harder you pull, the harder they cling to the relationship.

Furthermore, his partner can look to your panicked behavior and accuse you and your sisters of being controlling and manipulative.

And she would be right! You are trying to control your father, because you can see how his partner is changing the dynamic between you, gaslighting him and creating a widening breech.

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