Life Advice



Ask Amy: Mother-daughter estrangement remains a mystery

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Adoring: It’s hard to imagine not even being curious about the reasons behind over a decade of separation between an adoring mother and her child, but your lack of curiosity about it tells me that either you already know, or that you have a very high tolerance for being controlled by another person.

If it were possible to put all of those years into a completely locked box, never to be opened, and to start with an absolutely clean slate – then I’d tell you to go for it, but you are already worried about the possibility of setting off another estrangement simply by being annoying.

I have news for you: Everyone is annoying.

Until you two are brave enough to at least attempt to discuss those missing years, you will continue to be destabilized by the possibility of it happening again.

Intimacy can be hard and courageous work.

You can try to open a conversation by asking her some open-ended questions about the estrangement. What was it like for her? What is it like for her now to be in touch again? Can she describe from her perspective what led to this break?


Dear Amy: My ex and I had been together for six years when he ended things. We are in your late 20s and have been apart for eight months.

I made big changes in my life – all things he asked me to do.

I tried to make things work for a long time.

The only time he seemed to contact me was to show off and tell me that he’d bought a new car and had plastic surgery. Other than that, anytime I texted or called him he would tell me he didn’t want to hear from me; then he would say he misses me, but then would get angry.


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