DEAR ABBY: My mother and I have a relationship that isn't healthy. I know that may make me seem like a terrible person, but hear me out.
I was never "allowed" to be a child. For as long as I can remember, I have taken care of her because she refuses to grow up. My father wasn't in the picture. I thought that when I grew up and moved out, she would make some lifestyle changes, but she never did. I'm constantly having to put my life and plans on hold to cater to her needs.
She won't keep a job, she's an alcoholic and, above all, she has it in her mind that she's been a great mother and now it's her time to "live for herself." Abby, she's the most selfish person I have ever known!
My fiance and I are trying to embark on a life of our own, but I can't move ahead because I'm constantly worrying about her. I love her, and she will always be my mother, but I can't keep this up or I will never be able to live my life. What should I do? -- MAKING CHANGES IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR MAKING CHANGES: It may take the help of a licensed mental health professional to separate emotionally from your mother. She has not only turned you into HER parent, she appears to be in denial about two things -- her parental abilities and her drinking. You cannot resolve these issues for her.
You and your fiance should absolutely start concentrating on the life you are trying to build together, and do it as geographically distant from her as you can manage. This is called "emancipation," and do not expect her to like you for doing it.