Life Advice



Bullying and Bad Behavior From My Son

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I'm 65. I live on very little money.

My son had a child 13 years ago; he got sole custody and has lived with me since. I have always supported them, both emotionally and financially, except for one year a few months ago when he had a job.

I was OK with it, until he started treating me like the "bad one." He takes my granddaughter to "good friends" who he barely knows and lets her stay alone "to help with their kids," and if I say something, he gets mean and verbally aggressive.

He treats me with such disrespect all the time now.

He wants us to continue to reside with each other, and I'm afraid for my granddaughter if I don't, but afraid for my well-being if I do. I constantly cry. What do I do? -- Mom of a Mooching Son

Dear Mom: Your son is acting like a self-entitled bully. The best way to stop a bully is to stick up to them. Do so from a loving place and the conversation will go better -- for both of your sakes and for your granddaughter's sake. You should not be crying all the time in your home, and he must stop his harassment of you. You are correct to be concerned about your granddaughter, so when you begin the conversation, point out that you both clearly love and care for her and want to find the best living situation for everyone.

Dear Annie: My family has always been unloving and unkind, and whenever I am around them, I feel sadness.

I moved far away from our hometown so I would not have to face any memory of my childhood.

Well, my husband retired, and he wanted to move back home to be close to his 15 brothers and sisters. I am so lost down here and just really sad that we used everything to get here. What can I do? -- Living Near Toxic Family


Dear Living Near Toxic Family: I am sorry that your family was so unkind to you. Just like good fences make for good neighbors, because you live close to your childhood family does not mean that you need to be with them at all. Enjoy your husband and his family and focus on people and places that make you feel good and not sad. Don't let your family have that power over you anymore. They don't deserve to take away your joy.

Dear Annie: My mother-in-law took many vacations with her friends, children and grandchildren.

She took her daughters and daughters-in-law to Hawaii, no grandchildren allowed. It was a wonderful trip. She took her grandchildren to Disneyland. We went camping on the Oregon coast many times with her.

There are so many things that grandparents can do for a vacation without babysitting grandchildren all the time. I am looking forward to doing the same. -- Hopefully Grandma

Dear Hopefully Grandma: Thank you for your letter. Your mother-in-law sounds like she lives life to the fullest with lots of love and generosity in her heart, and she receives that back by being surrounded by friends, children and grandchildren.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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