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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter Refuses to Play Part in Mom's Reconciliation Drama

DEAR ABBY: My mother was unloving and downright cruel to all of her children, but now that we're all over 18, she has suddenly decided she wants to have relationships with us. (I haven't even told her that I've been engaged for two months.) She has caused so much suffering and heartache, but I don't know how to tell her to leave me alone.

She recently showed up at my house. I don't know how she got my address, because I didn't give it to her and I never return her calls. I don't understand how she can act like everything is fine between us and get angry with me for not calling her back.

Mother has never in her life said the word "sorry." I am at a loss as to how to deal with her. -- ANGRY AND CONFUSED IN PHOENIX

DEAR ANGRY: I have heard from readers who cut themselves off from their parents after abusive childhoods and later regretted that there was no closure. I have also heard from people who did it and have no regrets about it at all.

If you feel that any aspect of your relationship with her is salvageable, consider trying to heal the relationship. However, if that is not possible, tell her plainly that you want to be left alone, and if she doesn't cooperate, you will be forced to get a restraining order. Then do it.