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by Abigail Van Buren

Divorced Mother Gets Cold Shoulder at Family Events

DEAR ABBY: I am a 67-year-old divorced mother of five and grandmother of eight. My marriage to the father of my first four children ended 30 years ago because he was physically and emotionally abusive. After the divorce, I managed to put myself through college, and I am now a retired teacher. I also remarried, which resulted in having one more child, a beautiful daughter who is now 27. My second husband is now deceased.

My first husband remarried soon after our divorce, and I always supported our grown children having a close relationship with him. What hurts me deeply, though, is that whenever there is a family event that includes all of us, my children from my first marriage act like my youngest daughter and I don't exist.

At the last family gathering, at my oldest daughter's home, I was treated like a stranger. I felt like crying as my older children sat, ate and talked with my ex-husband and his wife. Abby, I have always been there for my kids, through sickness and financial hardships. My ex has a great deal more money to spend on them than I do. I suspect this may be the reason they cater to him. How do I cope with my feelings of rejection and being snubbed by them? -- HURT MOM IN THE WEST

DEAR HURT MOM: You aren't going to change the "family" dynamic at this late stage. Rather than sit silently, struggling to hold back the tears as your older children slather their father with attention, consider socializing with them separately as often as possible.