When DNA Doesn’t Figure In
Dear Margo: Almost 19 years ago, when I got sober and was in intensive therapy, I told my mother about the sexual abuse I endured as a kid. She claimed I was lying and that my alcoholism was just a “phase.” I tried counseling with her through the years, but it never helped; the blame for everything still landed on me. It took a lot of time and effort to forgive her — I am her only child — and eventually I did, but I keep her at arm’s length for my own sanity.
This past Mother’s Day, however, I received a hateful email from her dredging up all the incidents from 19 years ago, blaming me for all her misery since then, and calling me a liar, a manipulator and a total ingrate. I have not spoken to her since.
In order to not be pulled into her vortex of nonstop drama (hazardous for my sobriety), I moved 2,000 miles away. I can’t call her without her behaving spitefully. I can’t send her gifts without her destroying them. I know that her drinking and tranquilizer-popping have escalated over the years. I also know her problems are hers, but I am still her daughter and feel duty-bound to help her. I just cannot allow myself to be her perpetual target. I have no idea what I am supposed to do. — Lost Daughter
Dear Lost: What I hope you will do is write “finis” to this relationship with a clear conscience and the understanding that damaged, toxic people — whatever the relationship — are not entitled to make you miserable ’til the end of time. You have come a long way, my dear. Your mother is clearly ill (substance abuse aside), and oddly, she has made things very clear-cut and unambiguous about why you should terminate this punishing relationship. You easily could’ve ended things before now, but you hung in. Alas, there was no payoff. I hope you will put an end to being your mother’s pinata. — Margo, categorically
Am I Entitled To Be PO’d?
Dear Margo: A friend from another country and I have been planning a month-long trip together for about a year. It’s about five months from happening, and some hotel bookings for certain events already have been made. I got a message from my friend today telling me one of his good friends just notified him that he will be getting married during the last week of our trip, and now my friend is asking me if we can cut our trip short by a week. It may seem trivial since this is such a long trip, but we have been planning it for so long, and I almost had to beg and barter to get the time off of work. Am I justified in feeling slighted, or am I expecting too much? — Grouchy
Dear Grouch: I’m with you. A trip, with reservations yet, that’s been a year in the planning should not be truncated because a friend just announced he’s getting married. Missing a wedding is not the biggest deal in the world. I think you are entirely justified in feeling jerked around, and in fact, I would ask your friend to reconsider, taking into account the planning you’ve both done, plus the maneuvering you had to do to miss work. I don’t find it “trivial,” by the way, to shorten a trip by 25 percent. I hope you will lay it on the line about how you are feeling about his “suggestion.” Let me know what happens. — Margo, affirmingly
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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dear-margo.html. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
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Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow