DEAR ABBY: I need your advice. My mother wants to live with me. I'm 56. She's 78. My household now includes my husband, my unmarried daughter and her son, who is 6 years old.
My mother is in great condition. Her main problem is that she's a hypochondriac and is lonely. She would be miserable living with us, but I can't convince her. She wants to sell her condo, help us buy a bigger home and move in. I've countered that if she ever becomes ill and unable to take care of herself, we could buy a duplex.
Abby, I cannot live with my mother and I don't want to live with her. She wants her own room in the same house, no duplex. I can't even describe the dread this is causing me.
I do not like her. If she were not my mother, I couldn't even be friends with her; I would avoid her. She's extremely self-centered, controlling, overcritical and rude, with an opinion on everything. She's been married and divorced many times, and she has no friends. She turns every conversation on any topic back to herself.
Mother knows that I do not want her to live with us, but she's pushing. She knows that I hate it when she drops in on me unannounced early in the morning, but she does it anyway, saying, "I know this drives you crazy, but ..."
If my daughter or I plan to meet Mother at a restaurant for a noon lunch, she shows up at the house at 10 a.m. to wait for us.
When Mother eats with us at home every week, she samples the food and makes comments like she's the food critic for The New York Times.
I could write pages about her annoying habits. What can I do, Abby? Please help me. -- STRESSED DAUGHTER IN FLORIDA
DEAR STRESSED DAUGHTER: If you want my support, you have it. Do not allow yourself to be pushed into residency with your mother and don't feel guilty about it. Your mother may want to be a bigger part of your lives, but it could harm your marriage if you bow to her demands. Stand firm and enlist your husband to present a united front.