Ask Amy: This welcome mat became a doormat

November 25, 2012

Dear Amy: We are retired and have a very small home. Our child, who is close to 50, went through a divorce and told us she was moving back home.

She has been with us for almost six months. She does nothing except sit with her laptop all day, every day. She has no job or means of transportation. She refuses to take the bus, taxi or anything but our auto.

She has doctors, dental and other medical appointments that we take her to. We are tired of being a chauffeur, cook, house cleaner, etc. When we try to talk to her about a job or plans to find her own living space, she starts shouting, shedding tears, bullying and arguing.

What would be your suggestion to help us? We can get nowhere and could use some help. Help us get our home back! — Upset Parents

Your daughter may be depressed and coping with it the only way she knows how, which is to control you. You seem to have willingly turned yourselves over to her. If this is your version of loving her, you should face the tough reality that your love is robbing her of her real strength, which should be used to become a self-sustaining adult.

When her current situation becomes uncomfortable enough for her, she will change it. You will have to face the discomfort of watching her flounder.

She is emotionally abusing you. The best way to deal with a bully is to stand up to her and calmly dictate your own terms. Let her throw a tantrum without letting her manipulate you.

You and your spouse need to decide to do things differently, and you must be on the same page. Give your daughter a reasonable time frame to get on her feet and a firm deadline to move. She’ll have to find low-cost housing or a friend to take her in. Let her know that on this date she will be leaving. If you don’t want to take her places and she has somewhere she wishes to go, she’ll have to get herself there. If she misses an appointment because she refuses to take the bus, well, that’s her choice.

Research your options through your local court. You may need to legally evict her. You should be prepared to do this if you need to. I realize this sounds harsh, but you have to take care of yourselves, and she must find a way to take care of herself. A counselor or family mediator will help you to clarify your own intentions.

Dear Amy: Furthering the discussion of when to stop giving gifts to grandchildren, when my grandkids turn 21 they get a card from me saying, “This is an adult card. All it contains is my love. Love, Grandma.” — Grandma

Well done!

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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