Dear Annie: My relationship with my mother has always been challenging. When she could no longer grab me by the hair and shake my head, she adopted inappropriate behavior with my boyfriends, called me stupid, worshipped my brothers and sister-in-law over me, and much more.
The final straw came in a telephone conversation. My mother said she was tired from being out the other day with a friend. She asked, "Do all old people get tired when they go out?" I didn't want to compare her with my father, who works hard and had visited me earlier that week. I replied, "All old people age differently." My mother then commenced some heavy and deliberate sighing that lasted the remainder of the call while I tried to make conversation. I politely said goodbye.
When it was time for me to make my annual call to her, I picked up the phone and started to dial but hung up before reaching the last number. I have not called my mother since. That was three years ago. My mother is now 83. I do not believe I am holding a grudge, although that has been suggested to me. I am just so hurt and ashamed that my own mother would reject me the way she has. When is it OK to say enough? - Don't Miss Her
Dear Don't: The final straw was a phone call where Mom mostly sighed? And after three years, you are still angry. We recognize that Mom mistreated you when you were younger, but you spoke to her only once a year. It's not a grudge so much as an inability to deal with Mom's behavior, and it remains unresolved, which mostly hurts you. Ask yourself how you would feel if Mom died without any further contact. If that bothers you even slightly, please talk to a professional and find a way to work through this, whatever the outcome.
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