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Ask Amy: This mom has one bestie – her daughter

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

– Frustrated and Sad Daughter

Dear Frustrated: You are your mother’s best friend. It is possible that if the two of you had allowed one another to differentiate so that you could be her daughter instead of her best (and only) friend, she might have developed some of the skills and tools to relate to people more on her own.

You have made all of these efforts on her behalf and have even written to me for more ideas for things you could do for her.

I hope you see where I’m going with this.

She needs help from someone other than you, and she deserves the empowered feeling of discovery when she makes efforts on her own.

You deserve to move forward with a relationship with her that isn’t defined solely by her needs.

 

The next time she expresses her dissatisfaction and desires, tell her that you’re out of ideas. Does she have any ideas? Ask: Are there things she (not you) could do differently to change the outcome?

She would obviously benefit from compassionate therapy.

And also – because you’ve got me doing this now – an elder hostel experience might be enriching and empowering for her. Check Roadscholar.org for programs.

Dear Amy: I have been estranged from my mother and siblings for several years. Long story short, my brother is clinically a sociopath and my mother has spent her life defending all of his hurtful behavior. For example, I was in the hospital. When my brother heard that I was ill, he responded with "Good, I hope she dies." My mother was there when he said it and just laughed!

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