DEAR ABBY: I am 38, a mother of three, and my husband and I have been married 16 years. I'm an only child. Daddy passed away 10 years ago.
Now my mother, who is 74 but in good health (according to her doctor, whom I talk to regularly), insists that she "must" come and live with me. My husband has made it clear that she's not welcome. Mamma has caused untold trouble with virtually every family member over the span of her lifetime, and is cruel and verbally abusive. Her presence in our home would not be positive for our children because she is critical, demanding and impossible to please. I talk to her daily (we live seven hours apart), and every day she tells me how "mean" I am because I won't allow her to come and live with us.
Abby, I am currently working on my MBA. I would not be where I am without the love and support of my husband and three children. I cannot ask them to bear the burden of my mother, but her constant nagging is making me physically ill. What do I do? I would deeply appreciate and respect your advice. -- TORN APART IN TENNESSEE
DEAR TORN APART: For the sake of your family, do not allow yourself to be guilted into letting your mother move in. Offer to help her find a nice residence for active seniors or an assisted living facility if she feels she needs one. (Her doctor might be able to recommend some good ones.) Your mother appears to be a master at guilt and manipulation, and you may need professional help to fend her off. You are both adults, so stop letting her treat you like a naughty child. If necessary, make an appointment with a psychologist to help you through this difficult period.
P.S. Daily phone calls seem excessive. You will feel better if you do not talk to your mother as often as you have been.