Life Advice



Ask Amy: Daughter wants needy mom to back off

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

How do you suggest I/we handle this? I’m afraid that when I finally say something it won’t be very nice, and our relationship will become awkward.

— About to Explode

Dear About to Explode: One surefire way to avoid an explosion is to be brave enough to draw some reasonable and respectful boundaries, now. It’s OK for things to be “awkward” for a little while, because both you and she will need time to adjust to your new parameters.

And so, instead of telling your mom to back off, you should sit with her, look into her eyes, and say to her, “Mom, I need you to take two steps back. I’m feeling smothered, and I don’t like it. Your attention is overwhelming, and it is threatening my relationship with you. I feel very stressed and torn.”

Your mother may become emotional and defensive. That’s OK; you should trust that she will learn how to adjust to this necessary transition into your adulthood.

Dear Amy: My son and his fiancée sent out save-the-date cards, invitations, and then made phone calls to people who did not RSVP to their wedding invitation.


Now it is one week until the wedding, and my brother and his wife (who said they could NOT attend) have changed their minds.

Everything is complete: seating charts, food ordered and paid for, and hotels rooms are no longer available. The wedding is in a small mountain town.

My son and his fiancée have everything in order and planned the whole wedding. I feel they don’t need the stress of last-minute changes.

When I called my son, I could feel the tension in his voice and I told him I would handle letting my brother know it is not possible at this late date to add to the guest list.


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