DEAR ABBY: I need your advice. I am 41 years old and was adopted at birth. I was raised by an unloving woman who was emotionally, verbally and physically abusive. I persevered, worked hard, and now have a loving husband and a beautiful son. We live a comfortable and peaceful life.
My adoptive mother, on the other hand, expects me to hand her financial support every month and pay for her extravagant lifestyle. She did not save for herself, as I was her "investment." She doesn't ask, Abby; she demands. She believes that if not for her "taking me away from the slums as a child," I wouldn't be where I am in life now.
The financial burden she has guilted me into is putting a strain on my marriage and our plans to save for a stable future. I am depressed beyond words. It doesn't help that I still carry resentment for having been severely mistreated as a child.
Her words are vile whenever she doesn't get "her" money, and she couldn't care less about me or my son. I have no love for her. But I do feel for her in her old age. Please help. What should I do? -- STRAINED RELATIONSHIP IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR STRAINED RELATIONSHIP: Here's what to do. Realize that when good parents adopt a baby, they do it not because of what that baby will do for them, but for what they can give to that child. Then tell your abuser the gravy train has stopped, she won't be getting another penny and cut off all communication.
You do not "owe" her anything, so do not allow yourself to be bullied or guilted into being her ATM machine. If you feel the urge to waver, take my advice and spend the money on a licensed psychotherapist who will help you understand that your adoptive mother does not have the ethical or moral right to anything more from you than you have already given.