DEAR ABBY: I'm 51 and never married. I'm not bad-looking, and I am not gay. I just got dumped by another girlfriend, which is nothing new. What turns women off are the constant demands of my mother. She calls at least once a day, and I go to her home almost every day, especially on weekends. Dad is dead and there are no other siblings, so I'm the one always on call.
"Mary," the lady who just called it quits, says Mother is abusive to me because I have been trying to get her approval all my life and she never gives it.
Mother "almost" gives me kindness and love, but then she manages to say something ugly or belittling that devastates me. I slam the door and leave in a rage. Then I go back and we repeat the same scenario. Every time I go back, I think this time it will be different.
Mary said I act like a battered wife returning over and over to her abusive husband. She said I'm just as addicted to being abused as my mother is to abusing me. At first I was furious and refused to believe it, but now I'm getting scared that she's right.
I've been waiting for Mother to die for the last 10 years. She is not in the best of health and calls me constantly in a panic saying she's dying. Actually, I think she will outlive me.
Abby, do people ever resolve stuff like this? Or are there some people who can't be helped? I'm middle-aged, so what is the point of anything now? -- MIGHT AS WELL DIE IN WASHINGTON STATE
DEAR MIGHT: Your ex-girlfriend gave you some valuable insight before she left.
The hallmark of neurotic behavior is its repetitive pattern. Yes, problems like yours can be resolved; however, the only way to break this painful cycle is professional counseling to help you learn to behave like an adult, instead of a needy child, in the presence of your mother.