Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Here’s what we’re discussing this week in the forums:

“I’m jealous of my les girlfriend’s biological sister Ex”

Am I wrong being angry at my friend for giving back puppy I gave her?

Need relationship advice for a sound mind

She stopped talking to me because I slept with someone whilst I was single

Feeling guilty for my behaviour but still think I was right

Need advice but also just to vent

Broken friendship need advice

Advice on something that’s probably a really stupid dilemma…. please

Advice on something that’s probably a really stupid dilemma…. please

My sister who has no children of her own tries to parent my grown son…

I know you aren’t regularly updating your site, but I wanted to send a request for advice, in case you feel any interest in responding. I am really struggling with how to manage my relationship with my mom as an adult.

I recently became a parent, and as I’ve been reflecting on what kind of parent I want to be, I’ve gotten angry sometimes with how my mother treated me. A few examples:

– She slapped me and my siblings as kids. This is actually pretty common in the cultural community we’re from, but the other day she denied she had ever slapped me. (Her exact words: “What are you going to accuse us of next? You’re going to say Dad raped you?”) She would also pull my hair and push me to the ground.

– I once answered a trivia question in public incorrectly. She berated me for months on end, telling me how embarrassed she was of me and how stupid I looked to everyone else. I was eight.

– When I got homesick the first time I went to sleepaway camp, she told me how embarrassed she was that she was the mother of “the girl who cried.”

– She gave me the silent treatment on my wedding day because she thought I had taken too long to get ready for a wedding event the day before. Her exact words were, “I don’t want to wait for the stupid bride.”

– When she found out I was sexually active as a teenager, she told me I was disgusting and she was “sick of me.”

I could go on and on, but those are just some examples. The thing is, she wasn’t 100% cruel. There were lots of things she did that were really great:

– She never hesitated to use my father’s and her money to support me as a kid. She paid for private school and an expensive activity (think something like skiing) I wanted to do. I graduated with no debt from college or graduate school. This was obviously huge, and I was very lucky to have parents willing and able to support me.

– Even now, she pushes hard to keep the family together and plans lots of family vacations to cool places. My family is constantly getting together. My husband, who doesn’t come from a close family, loves hanging out with my family because he feels like he’s finally part of one.

I have two siblings who are much better about dealing with my mom – they essentially only talk to her about neutral things, accept she’s not going to change, participate in all family activities, and in general have a thicker skin when it comes to her. (My dad kind of goes along with whatever she says and always defends her.) And I’ve really, really tried to let things go. But I can’t seem to stop giving her lots of power over my emotions, and I’m struggling to imagine what healthy boundaries would look like (Skipping some family events? Hanging up when she says cruel things? Letting her “win” arguments – e.g., she didn’t slap me – just because I know it’s fruitless to argue?).

I don’t want to be an ungrateful kid; I sometimes think she was abusive in some ways, but maybe that’s dramatic? Your letter here makes me worried that I’m being some spoiled daughter who doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices my parents made.

Do you have any advice on how to handle this? Or how to cultivate a thicker skin?

Thanks so much for any advice! — Needing Boundaries with My Mother

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Here’s what we’re discussing this week in the forums:

What does my married colleague want?

Encounter with an ex

Am I being unreasonable?

Partners Lies

Toxic or normal

Lied about my age

Did he move on?

Am I at fault for my breakup? Will he come back after blocking?

Accident happened and don’t know what to do at all

I’m about to move out but my budget makes me scared. Can you help me?

Anyone going on awesome dates?

I met a girl about eight weeks ago and we really hit it off. On the second date she told me that she had previously planned a trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with another guy. Climbing that mountain was her life’s dream. She was training five hours a day. She had only met the guy once before for a couple days and wouldn’t see him again until the trip. She explained that he was a “sugar daddy” whom she had met on an app. It was her first.

The trip of almost three weeks required her to be having sex with him and essentially acting as his girlfriend. She wants monogamy and I do also. She said she’d understand if I slept with someone else over the same time period but didn’t want us to automatically be “open.”

I flip-flopped emotionally trying to get my head and heart in the right place. She helped but had a harder time understanding why it was so difficult for me. I value the intimacy of sex with one person as a very important part of a relationship. When someone “devalues” sex by sleeping with someone else, it really pains me.

She left on the trip a week ago. She’s texted saying she has just had to numb out and put up “castle thick” walls. She says all the right words and totally avoids any comments or descriptions about him or their sex life, but I’m so distraught. I don’t know if I’ll be ok when she gets back. I might not even be able to approach intimacy.

Thoughts? — Not Her Sugar Daddy

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