DEAR ABBY: I love my mother and she says she loves me, but she can be quite difficult. A visit seldom goes by without her getting in at least a few hurtful zingers. There's always something about me that doesn't suit her. She says tactless things she would never dream of saying to anyone else. Telephone conversations don't include comments about my weight and appearance, because, thank goodness, she can't see me. However, she fills the space with advice and lectures.
Visits with Mother drain me. It often takes several days for me to get over being depressed and cranky. My solution is to avoid her.
Mother wants me to visit more often. I would like to accommodate her, and I go as frequently as my bruised psyche can tolerate, and that's it. I prefer the company of friends who accept and appreciate me just as I am. It breaks my heart to have to protect myself from my own mother.
Abby, please tell parents that if they yearn for the company of their adult children to do their part to make the visits mutually pleasant. Set aside parental instincts and treat your offspring with the respect and courtesy due the adult that your child has become. -- EMOTIONALLY BRUISED
DEAR BRUISED: Your problem won't be resolved until you're strong enough to confront your mother and tell her how her criticism has made you feel. Do not approach her in anger. Before you visit, make a list of the comments that hurt you, and tell her how they make you feel. Rehearse what you're going to say until you feel comfortable with it. Then tell her plainly how you expect to be treated in the future.