DEAR ABBY: I own my own home. My mother lives with me. I cannot understand why she makes up the most fantastic, whopping lies. Mother tells people that I live with her and she pays all the bills. Abby, I pay the bills, and I'm left with pocket change at the end of the month because her spending sprees keep me financially strapped.
She also has to be the center of attention. She'll go to any length to keep the spotlight on herself, even if it means making me look like a complete idiot.
If I do anything that earns acknowledgment or recognition, Mother tells these people that she instructed me, or suggested the work, or had a lot to do with the project.
Is her behavior a form of jealousy, rivalry or downright meanness? Is the attention so important to her that she must embarrass me or make me look like I'm living off her when the reverse has been true for the last 20 years? What makes my mother have to do this to me? -- PUZZLED IN NEW MEXICO
DEAR PUZZLED: People lie for various reasons. Some lie because they are ashamed to tell the truth; others lie to make themselves seem more important. Your mother may do it because she's competitive with you, but it's more likely she's a compulsive liar. A therapist might help you pinpoint her rationale, but I cannot without knowing her. You have my sympathy.