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by Abigail Van Buren

Adult Son Still Suffers Mother's Distance In Childhood

DEAR ABBY: For the past year I have been with a man I love dearly. We live together and share our lives as independent young adults.

The problem is his mother. She was cold and distant to him when he was a child, and her emotional abuse has continued into his adulthood. Holidays are a nightmare, visits a chore, and his phone calls with her often leave him in tears.

I wanted him to come with me to spend the holidays with my family, but she guilted him into spending them with her. I hate seeing him go through this, and I don't know what I can do about it. I think she is a toxic influence and he needs to cut her out of his life altogether. Advice? -- PROTECTING MY GUY

DEAR PROTECTING: What you think about his mother isn't as important as what your boyfriend does. From your description, their relationship is unhealthy. My advice is to encourage your boyfriend to discuss this with a licensed mental health professional. If he does, it may give him the incentive he needs to distance himself from her.

P.S. When the next family holidays come around, by all means invite him to spend them with your family. That way he will have a chance to see how a normal family functions.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Holidays & Celebrations | Love & Dating | Mental Health | Abuse