DEAR AMY: When I was a freshman in high school, I decided that I no longer wanted to have any relationship with my mother. I could articulate each reason, but you don’t have enough space, and I’d rather not remind myself of some of the trauma.
For the past 15 years I’ve had to hear how wrong I am from each of my siblings (I’m the youngest). Most of this pressure has died away, as I do not mention or say anything regarding my mother, nor do I respond to anything brought up about her. They let me live my life.
At family functions, I keep my distance, and she does not try to talk to me. I do notice her trying to sneak and take pictures of me, though.
A couple of years ago, one of my siblings decided to give her my contact information. She has been sending me cards and letters. She will call me from a blocked number. My siblings also keep her updated about my personal life.
Needless to say, I am annoyed with whoever gave her my information and more annoyed with her attempts to reach out to me. I don’t read the letters, and I don’t return the calls, but I want all attempts at communication from her to stop.
Is telling her directly (again) the only way to achieve this? I feel that engaging her at all will make her believe that there is a chance at even a dysfunctional relationship.
Is 15 years not long enough to get the hint? I just want her to leave me alone. Should I just keep ignoring her? -- Besieged
DEAR BESIEGED: Let’s stipulate that any contact with your mother would be a very bad thing for you (I’m in no position to judge).
If you don’t want any contact, then you must maintain radio silence on your end. Responding or asking her to stop will merely cause her to rub her hands together and say, “Aha! I’m in.”
Your siblings should not betray your confidence, but people are like that — they like to try to fix broken things. You have to consider, also, that they might be under a lot of pressure from the very same woman you are working so hard to avoid.
Please take care of yourself. Make sure you are making the right choices by exploring your own motivations and behaviors and by behaving ethically. If you are certain that you are doing the right thing by keeping your distance from this toxic parent, then keep doing it. Therapy would help you continue to navigate your way through this family mess.
DEAR AMY: I am a 25-year-old recent college graduate with a degree in psychology.
I recently lost my family when my girlfriend of five years went back to her ex.
I admit that over the years I was a jerk and a bit immature.
We have two daughters, ages 2 and 3, and she still lets me be a part of their lives, so I’m at least thankful for that.
I want my family back, and I’ve been trying to show her that I’ve changed, but she doesn’t believe me.
She says she loves me, but she’s not in love with me. What should I do? -- Sad Dad
DEAR SAD: One unfortunate aspect of fathering children before you are mature enough to be a stable parent is that there isn’t a lot of wiggle room when it comes to shenanigans. So, for instance, “typical” adolescent behavior becomes very high-stakes stuff when there are two babies in the mix.
The best thing you can do is continue on the righteous path. Demonstrate through your actions that you are the very best person and father you can be. A mark of your maturity might also be your need to accept your former partner’s choice to move on.
DEAR AMY: Your snarky response to “Sad Sister’s” letter about excluding her sister from weekend outings was on the money. Excluding someone and then blaming her for “not fitting in” does make her a horrible person. -- Disgusted
DEAR DISGUSTED: “Sad Sister” wrapped her reasons in patronizing doublespeak, which definitely set me off.