DEAR ABBY: I'm writing about a delicate problem with my father. I'm 22 and due to graduate from college in just a few months. I've always planned on moving out once I graduated and got a job, and I have made this clear to my father and my family. My father, however, is in serious denial about it, and it is only getting worse.
At first, he would talk about things as though I would still be around, such as fixing up my bedroom. Recently he has begun saying straight-out that he believes I'll be living here for years to come.
Everyone tells me not to let his problems become mine, but that's difficult. I'm all the family he has left. He has spent his life taking care of me, and I feel I owe him something. However, I don't believe I owe him my life, and I need to move on.
For more reasons than I can begin to explain, I can't bear living here anymore. But my father is dependent on me and refuses any psychological help whatsoever, which I know he desperately needs.
I can't imagine what he's going to do when I do manage to leave. I don't know how I can get on with my life, living with the guilt of what does happen (even if he doesn't do anything desperate, guilt trips are his specialty). Your advice would be greatly appreciated. -- READY FOR LIFE IN MICHIGAN
DEAR READY FOR LIFE: Perhaps your father is having trouble believing you'll be leaving because you have been at home for so long. Whatever his reasons, growing up and becoming independent is normal, and you shouldn't feel guilty. If he tries to lay a guilt trip on you, refuse to take the bait.
Family counseling could be helpful for both of you. Get a referral from your physician. If your father refuses to go with you, go alone. You'll gain the insight to deal with him.
DEAR ABBY: While I usually agree with your answers, I respectfully disagree with your advice to "Anonymous in Michigan," who had been sent an inexpensive invitation to a family member's wedding whereas, the writer believed, others had received an embossed invitation. You counseled that the appropriate response to this supposed slight might be not to attend the wedding.
Abby, maybe that couple was short on funds; perhaps the invitation maker made an error and sent them fewer than they had ordered. Could it be that, being short of the "official" invitations, they sent the more casual ones to those they assumed had priorities other than the type of invitation they receive?
The bride and groom have hundreds of details to deal with, and the last thing they need is an angry relative. My advice to "Anonymous" would be to send them a nice present, go to the wedding, enjoy two slices of wedding cake and dance long into the night. -- KAREN DE CROW, ATTORNEY AT LAW, JAMESVILLE, N.Y.
DEAR KAREN: While I agree that it would be better if the writer had been magnanimous (defined in my Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as "loftiness of spirit enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and pettiness"), it was clear from the letter that the person's nose was seriously out of joint. The implication received along with the computer-generated invitation was that they had not been invited until someone had refused. And that's the reason I said, "FEELING AS YOU DO (italics are mine), send the couple a lovely card wishing them every happiness and forgo attending the wedding."
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