DEAR ABBY: I was born into a poor family, and my father gave me up for adoption to his well-to-do sister. My narcissistic adoptive mother severely abused me physically, mentally and emotionally as a child, and tormented me financially as an adult. I no longer speak to her.
My biological mother has been attempting to have a relationship with me as her daughter. But I don't regard her as my mother. I don't feel anything toward her. All those years of abuse have left me feeling ... jaded.
My biological mother is still poor, and she constantly asks me for money to help my nieces and nephews with their needs. I understand that they are blood, but I work hard for my money and cannot afford to support them financially. They have had plenty of opportunities in the past to better their lives but decided to live off handouts. How do I find validation that I am a person and not just a piggy bank? -- JADED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR JADED: Considering the circumstances in which you were raised, it may not be easy. A way to find some of that validation would be to start establishing some boundaries in your life. If you can afford to see a licensed mental health professional, you would benefit greatly by scheduling some sessions. Not only will it help you to get your priorities straight, it may also help you to feel less guilty about saying no to relatives with ulterior motives.