DEAR ABBY: My husband passed away two years ago. I hope you can give me some advice on how to deal with my 53 year old daughter who never left home. We generally get along well. She makes freelance art, but doesn’t earn much. She only contributes $30 a month. She also has a driving phobia, so she doesn’t drive. She expects me to take her to different places.
She only has cyber friends. She wants to travel but doesn’t want to go alone and keeps urging me to go with her even though I don’t really want to. I’ve suggested group travel, but she’s hesitant to go alone. I feel pressured to keep the peace and go along with her desires. How should I handle this?
RETREAT IN NEVADA
BEST WITHDRAWING: You’ve been protecting and enabling your daughter for far too long. Tell her that her dependence on you has become too great. She needs to overcome her autophobia (or at least use public transportation) and her fear of traveling without you. Unless you provided for her financially in the event of your death, how do you think she will survive as a virtual containment without work and life skills? There are psychotherapists who specialize in freeing people from phobias. While she’s there, your daughter should also get help to gain some degree of independence, even if it’s about 30 years too late.
DEAR ABBY: Recently my three adult children chipped in to send their aunt for dinner for her birthday. She is 79 and needs nothing; she doesn’t even go out. Financially she is in good shape. They placed the order and it came to $95. Well, Abby, my elderly mother went crazy! She thought that was too little to spend on their aunt.
I think my kids were very considerate. They are all trying to build their lives. One has two children, a house and a mortgage. The other just got engaged and is saving for the wedding. The third saves for her future.
My mother thinks her grandchildren should give her gifts and money. I think she should expect money from her own children, not the grandchildren. I hung up when she attacked my kids. She always thinks she’s right. Your thoughts?
LIVING WITH A DIFFICULT MOTHER
DEAR LIFE: Was aunt satisfied with the meal? Your mom may think she’s always right, but she was wrong by criticizing the amount of money your kids spend on food for their aunt.
For her to then announce that she expects gifts and money from them is beyond presumptuous. The decision about what to give is for the giver, not the receiver.
DEAR ABBY: My sister passed away from lung cancer 10 months ago. My brother-in-law no longer wants to live in the house they shared because of too many memories, so he gives the house to his daughter and moves into an apartment. My other sister wants to throw a housewarming party for him. Is that appropriate?
WELL INTENDED IN THE EAST
DEAR WELL INTENDED: Of course, as long as your brother-in-law is okay. Not only is it appropriate, it’s a loving, positive gesture and, in a way, a celebration of life. Good for her!
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact DearAbby at www.DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.