Dear Abby

Dear Abby: Mother spreads personal confidences

 

Dear Abby: When I was an adolescent, my father molested me. It took me 20 years to finally confide this secret to my mother. Afterward it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

That feeling lasted about two minutes. That’s how long it took for her to get on the phone and spread the news to everyone she could think of.

This was two years ago and, after repeatedly asking her to stop, she continues to tell. Two days ago, I caught her spilling the beans to an acquaintance she hadn’t spoken to in more than a decade. We got into a heated argument, and she told me she will say what she wants, whenever she wants, to whomever she wants.

My feelings are NOT considered, even though I was the victim in all of this. I feel she tells my story to gain sympathy for herself.

Abby, I’m ready to end my relationship with my mother. How can I make her stop flapping her lips?

The Gossip’s daughter

I suspect you are correct about your mother’s motives, and you have my sympathy. Because you can’t “make her stop flapping her lips,” you will have to accept that she can’t be trusted with any confidential information.

As I see it, you have two choices. The first would be to cut her out of your life (for which I wouldn’t blame you), and the other is to avoid sharing ANY personal information with her in the future.

Dear Abby: My 21-year-old daughter, “Shannon,” has moved back home and has a part-time job. We pay for her health and car insurance. Because her funds are limited, I asked her to make me a list of things she might want for Christmas. The two things she wants are a tattoo and a piercing.

I told her that while I respect her wish to express herself, I do not want to pay for something like that. I said if she wants a tattoo and a piercing, she will have to save her money and get them. She became upset with me and said I should give her what SHE wants instead of something I prefer.

I know there are things Shannon needs. Am I selfish for not wanting to give her a tattoo or piercing when I’d rather spend my money on something more practical like shoes, clothing or incidentals?

Sensible mom in Longview, Texas

If you are uncomfortable paying for a body modification for your daughter, then don’t do it. However, you should take into consideration that Shannon is an adult now and reconsider imposing your values on her.

If she were my daughter, I would give her a check for Christmas along with a note expressing holiday wishes and the thought that you gave her a healthy body, and with it, a nice 1 / 4 complexion. It is now hers to do with as she wishes. Then cross your fingers and hope she’ll have second thoughts.

Dear Abby: One of my neighbors insisted on giving me some handcrafted Christmas decorations that are hideous. I have never been big on decorating the outside of my home for the holidays, but when I do, I have my own that I like much better.

I know she expects me to display her items and will be all bent out of shape when she sees I haven’t. Is there a diplomatic way to avoid hurt feelings?

Florida reader

Not really. So hang one or two of them in an inconspicuous place when you decorate for the holidays, so they will be “lost” among the items you prefer to display, or refrain from decorating this year.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

  • What do you recommend?

    “The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton — it’s a book built around characters and plots inspired by astrological principles. It’s a neo-Victorian murder mystery and a mere 832 pages long, and it made 28-year-old Catton the youngest person to win the coveted Man Booker Prize. The voice is natural, easy to understand and ambitious; she’s a novelist who is seeking to reclaim the authorial, a writer who seeks to entertain and enlighten.”

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">The Boom:</span> How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World. Russell Gold. Simon & Schuster. 384 pages. $26.

    Nonfiction

    Book considers the pros and cons of fracking

    Author considers both sides of the controversial issue.

  • Southern Cross Stargazer for April 20-26

    By nightfall Spica follows fiery Mars, in Virgo, higher in the east. Telescopes reveal the white ice cap shrinking in the Martian summer and subtle dark details on the iron-rich red Martian desert. Binoculars enhance the planet’s bright color. Mars sets in the west about dawn and will remain bright for a few weeks.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category