Mother Is Playing Favorites
Dear Annie: I am 73 years old. Many years ago, I was the victim of physical and emotional abuse from two former husbands.
Yes, they perpetrated that abuse on me. But I was the one who "took it" because I did not love or respect myself enough to not allow their abuse. There was abuse from other "significant" men in my life as well.
I love myself more now and would not tolerate those behaviors. As we make choices to create our lives, we must remember to love ourselves first. That is not selfish. It is the foundation on which healthy choices will be made.
And I LOVE the advice you offered in a recent column: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
Keep up the great work! -- Love Yourself First
Dear Love Yourself First: Thank you for sharing your insights after surviving so much abuse. We attract what we expect, and it is good that you have altered your vision of yourself and your expectations from your spouse.
Dear Annie: I am a 47-year-old woman and have been happily married for 24 years. I have a great relationship with our only daughter, who is 24 years old and thriving. My problem is with my mom. We live in separate states, and she lives close to my two sisters. They are both divorced, with seven kids between the two of them. My mom has stepped in to help financially and with child care. My problem isn't with that, though.
My mom has never come to visit me and uses my sisters' kids (ages 13 to 30) as an excuse. When I've gone to visit her, she still revolves all activities around my sisters and their kids. I would love to have some alone time with my mom and have expressed this several times. She dismisses my feelings as "middle child syndrome."
Since my dad passed away eight years ago, she has taken several vacations with my sisters and other family members, but she still hasn't pursued any time with me. Before his passing, he was her excuse as to why she couldn't visit. Our relationship has dwindled down to a phone call every few weeks, where she complains the whole time. She doesn't even ask about me or my family anymore. I'm starting to wonder why I keep trying or hoping for some memories before it's too late.
Recently, she took my sister to California for her birthday. My daughter lives there, and they didn't reach out to her. When my mom called afterward, she never even mentioned going to California. Since then, I have been feeling vulnerable and left out, but I am tired of asking her to be involved. Should I keep trying or just accept that I am only worth a phone call every few weeks? -- I Won't Beg Her
Dear I Won't Beg Her: You don't have to beg her; you just have to call her and tell her how you feel. It is difficult living far away from your mother and sisters, and you feel hurt and left out. Sometimes, it's not intentional; it is more likely a case of "out of sight, out of mind."
The important thing is to reach out to your mom as much as you can. Next time they go on a vacation, ask if you can join them, or plan one yourself and invite them. Don't give up on your mother. I am sure she loves you and your daughter very much and would want to know that you are feeling left out.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.