DEAR ABBY: Hair-trigger temper keeps mom walking on eggshells

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

DEAR ABBY: I have one child, a daughter, “Anna,” I adopted at 19 months. She’s 41 now and has two small children. She had a normal upbringing, although her father and I divorced when she was 9. She has chosen to not have a relationship with him as an adult. Anna has never married, nor has she been in a relationship for longer than four or five months. According to a few counselors I have seen, she has attachment disorder.

Anna is very difficult. She’s mean, says hateful things and is an angry young woman. She takes no responsibility for any of her actions, and therefore cannot keep a job, friends, etc. for more than a few months. She is also extremely negative. If I try to say anything, she gets angry, starts cussing, yelling and slinging hate, and stops contacting me for weeks at a time.

We have nothing in common. We live in separate states, but I see her about a half-dozen times a year. When I do, I tiptoe around on eggshells because of her short fuse. Her attitude is starting to rub off on her boys.

This is not what I had envisioned all those years ago when I adopted her. I miss who I thought she would become. Is there anything I can do without completely alienating myself from my grandsons, which would break my heart? — TIPTOEING ON EGGSHELLS

DEAR TIPTOEING: I am sorry your adoption did not turn out as you envisioned. Your daughter is clearly troubled, and it is not surprising that her attitude has begun to affect her boys. It is time you accept that, as much as you wish to, you cannot change another person, and there’s nothing you can do to “fix” her.

You mentioned that you visit her every two months. Perhaps you should consider visiting fewer times than that. Ask if she would let the grandkids come and visit Grandma occasionally. However, if she isn’t receptive, refusing to engage with her is the price you will have to pay for seeing them and trying to cement a relationship with them.

DEAR ABBY: I have been in a six-year relationship. About two years into it, I found out that “Wayne” was separated, but not divorced, from his wife of 20 years. The fact that they are separated is not the issue. They live together and do things as a married couple. The wife and I have met each other several times, and I have gone to his children’s graduation parties and family weddings.

He has told me every year that this is the year he will file for divorce, but it still hasn’t happened. I don’t know why he is holding on because I do not believe they are intimate. Their children are adults, so there is nothing keeping them together. He tells me he can’t live without me, but his actions have proven otherwise. Do you think they are in an open marriage? Is there any hope for our future together? — WASTING TIME IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR WASTING TIME: Not at the rate you are going. I suspect the reason Wayne hasn’t followed through and filed for divorce may be financial. He and his wife may also like things just the way they are because they can maintain their social life, he’s comfortable at home and he has you to sleep with, which may be a relief to her. You have my sympathy, but I think you have invested enough time. What’s going on is unfair to you. This romance was based on dishonesty on his part, and you deserve more than you have been getting.

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