DEAR ABBY: I'm having a big problem with my mother, who still feels she can control my life. She is mad at her siblings, and now only one remains because her brother just died.
If I choose to stay in contact with her last surviving sibling, Mother has told me she will feel betrayed and will no longer speak to me or her grandchild.
My husband and I are very family-oriented. We feel that our daughter should know all her relatives.
Mother never told her siblings why she is angry with them, but I know. I'm not sure her reason is valid -- especially since she told me that she found out while she was in a hypnotic trance.
I think that as a 40-year-old adult, I should be able to make my own decisions regarding who I see. I know I'll be getting a call from her soon whereupon she'll ask if I have been in contact with her family. I want to say "yes," as I am not comfortable with lying.
My mother has been under psychiatric care since 1993. I don't feel I am betraying her; I just want all my family in my circle. Abby, can you help? Please answer soon in the paper. -- BIG PROBLEM IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR BIG PROBLEM: The next time your mother asks if you have talked to her sibling, tell her that if she chooses to isolate herself from the rest of the family, you think it is ill-advised, but you won't try to make her change her mind. However, that is not the way you wish to live your life, nor is it the way you want to raise your daughter. Then let the chips fall where they may.
Your mother is trying to manipulate you by using threats, and she should not be allowed to get away with it. The poor woman sounds emotionally disturbed, and I'm pleased that she's under the care of a psychiatrist.