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by Abigail Van Buren

Widowed Mother's Demands Push Daughter to the Limit

DEAR ABBY: My father died this year. My husband and I were his primary caregivers. I was with him until his dying breath. After his passing, Mom asked us to move in so she wouldn't be alone. She has post-polio syndrome, but her biggest problem is her "princess syndrome."

She has trouble getting around, but is able to do some things while I'm at work all day. As soon as I walk in the door, she's all over me to do simple tasks that she could have done during the day. She complains the house isn't clean enough, or that this and that aren't done up to her standards.

Abby, it was easier to take care of all my dad's needs than it is to take care of hers! Her day consists of getting up at 10 a.m., watching soap operas and eating herself to more than 300 pounds. How do I deal with a mother with a major princess complex? -- NOT CINDERELLA

DEAR NOT CINDERELLA: Do it by having a frank conversation with your mother and telling her exactly what you have told me, without labeling her a princess. You should also insist that she be screened by her doctor for depression.

If her demands are more than you and your husband can deliver, then consider moving into a place of your own. However, if your mother realizes that the alternative is living alone, she may be inclined to compromise.