DEAR ABBY: My mother has a tight circle of friends she socializes with often. They are all retired with grown children and grandchildren and eager to share every bit of news of their lives. Mom talks nonstop about her friends' children's parenting challenges, marital squabbles and medical issues. The challenge for me is that anything I tell her becomes fodder for their cocktail-hour discussion, which then gets around our community.
After hearing that the daughter of one of my mom's neighbors knew the results of my breast biopsy, I stopped sharing anything personal. This has damaged our relationship. She doesn't think mothers and daughters should keep secrets from each other, and I agree, but she also said she won't keep secrets from her friends.
I miss being able to turn to her for support, but do not want the world to know my business. I understand that her friends are like family to her, but they are not my family, and I think she has chosen gossip over our relationship. Is keeping her at arm's length my only choice here, or is there another path that I can't see? -- NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS
DEAR NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS: Your mother's judgment is terrible. Her friends may be "like family" to her, but they are not family. If you prefer not to have your personal business be fodder for lunchtime conversation, then your only choice is to carefully edit what you tell her.