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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Rations the Many Gifts Her Young Daughters Receive

DEAR ABBY: I have a good relationship with my 84-year-old mother, but it's difficult to spend time with her because during the past year she has started hitting me. She does not appear to be angry when she does it. She'll do it if I say something she thinks is funny, when I do something nice or for no reason at all.

It hurts me physically and emotionally when she hits me. I have asked her repeatedly to please not do it, but she persists. I wasn't abused as a child, so I don't understand what's going on. Any ideas? -- BRUISED IN SPRINGFIELD

DEAR BRUISED: I have a suspicion. I have written before that any significant change in a senior's behavior or personality should be reported to his or her doctor. Your mother may need to be physically and neurologically evaluated because it's possible that she doesn't remember that you have asked her not to hit you. My advice is to have your mother checked out, and if I'm right, you have my sympathy.