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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter Abruptly Abandons All Interaction With Family

DEAR ABBY: My eldest daughter, "Judy," who was previously loving, kind and considerate, has for the last year distanced herself from me. I have left messages on her answering machine because she won't answer the phone. I have sent her cards and letters, only to receive no response. We live a short distance of each other, but I haven't seen her in a year.

I am bewildered by this abrupt change in our mother-daughter relationship. I have pleaded for an explanation; there's never any response.

Judy is a well-educated individual, with several degrees and on her way to a master's degree. I know, too, that there has been considerable stress in her life -- but that shouldn't cause her to cut her own mother out of her life. I have had many sleepless nights over this.

I am at my wit's end. I feel she possibly needs help in some way. Judy seems to be angry at the whole world -- me, her siblings, her grandmother, and oftimes her friends are her "enemies." Help! -- SLEEPLESS IN UTAH

DEAR SLEEPLESS: If your daughter had distanced herself only from you, I would guess that she was punishing you -- nursing a grievance she wasn't ready to air. However, because she has suddenly cut herself off from everyone, declaring that they are her enemies, there is indeed cause for concern. She could be suffering from depression or paranoia.

Please don't wait. Go to your daughter so you can see for yourself what is going on with her. She may need medical or psychological intervention.