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Ask Amy: Grieving friend wants practical help

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

If I want to let her back into my life, I need to stop expecting a normal, loving parent-child relationship.

I'm just not sure if I'm ready to do that, and I can't trust myself not to get sucked into the emotional black hole that is our relationship.

How do I move forward? Do I let her back into my life? Do I cut contact forever?

I don't know what to do.

– Confused

Dear Confused: First off, I’d love to learn what a “normal, loving, parent-child relationship” is. My own parents were not like the ones I saw on television, or those of some of my friends’, who I now realize were very far from perfect.

 

Still, you have the right to pursue the relationships you want to have.

Your silence has worked, and now your mother is reaching out. You should call her back and tell her how you’re doing. Ask how she’s doing.

You could nudge her toward a more open relationship by speaking your own truth: “Mom, I’d really like to have a better relationship with you, but I’m not sure how to do that.”

You can avoid the emotional black hole by always checking in with yourself and being honest in your statements: “That makes me uncomfortable.” “This isn’t going well for me.” “I’d like to address some issues from our past.” “I need to take a break.”

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