Ask Amy: A family friend emailed me about my split with my mom


dear Amy: My brother and I are both close to 30.

After years of conflict and our mother’s refusal to respect one of our stated boundaries, in early 2020 (after several unnecessary therapy sessions with her) we made the decision to no longer “contact”.

We told her in therapy and in writing that we were no longer going to have a relationship, along with the SPECIFIC reasons. Coincidentally, we both also moved to new houses and told him that we wouldn’t give him our new addresses.

She ignored this, hired a lawyer and a private investigator, got our addresses, and had things delivered to our homes. She called in a famous “specialist” in separated families.

She asked her lawyer to contact us. She sent emails and physical mail to both of our workplaces. We did not respond. Finally, she asked a family friend, “Laura”, to contact me.

Laura is very nice. About 15 years ago she let me stay at her place in Europe. Her email basically said our mom is devastated by the estrangement, family will always be family, no one is perfect, etc., etc.

There was no indication that our mother had made any adjustments or that a renewed relationship would be anything other than the constant turmoil of the past.

None of this is Laura’s fault. I don’t want to be a jerk. Do I have an obligation to respond?

I’m afraid my mother will interpret any response as a sign that her perseverance is “working”.

Odd: When parents write to me about a separation, they often say that they have no idea what the reason for the separation is, and yet your mother knows the reason because you told her.

She appointed her kind friend to be her representative, as all her most outrageous and aggressive attempts failed. She is now “using” her friend, which is another boundary she has crossed – with her friend and with you.

“Laura” has stated a number of truisms: family will always be family, no one is perfect, etc., etc. Nothing in the message indicates that your mother is moving towards change.

You don’t have to answer. If you answer, I suggest you answer: “I received your email. I still remember your kindness when I was traveling in Europe all those years ago. Thanks again for your hospitality. Otherwise, I hope you are well.

That’s it. If she contacts you again as your mother’s representative without any specific indication of the change, then you can make your point by ignoring her.

dear Amy: My fiancé, “Benjamin”, and I have been together for four years. We planned and then rescheduled our wedding because of the pandemic. It has been rescheduled twice now.

Before rescheduling again, we realized we officially had it. Everything about this big event – ​​the constant concerns about our family members and guests, the details and checklists, and especially the expenses – now seems ridiculous to us.

We had a heart to heart and decided to get married quickly and quietly, canceling the celebration. We are going to disappoint a lot of people. Frankly, we’re a little freaked out about this.

Words of courage, please?

Nervous: I commend you for anchoring your plans now to your important intention, which is to get married.

Go to the courthouse next weekend – if that’s what you want to do. You can ask local immediate family to witness and have lunch afterwards (if you wish).

A word of caution: don’t post your news on social media until you’ve informed all of your guests of your ultimate change of plans — perhaps along with a photo of your little ceremony.

These guests should be the first to know.

Write your notification carefully and lovingly, thank people for hanging on to the ups and downs of your planning, invite people to call you if they have any questions, and – get on with your married life.

dear Amy: Your recent response to “Yeah” really made me smile – especially this sentence: “Bar epiphanies can be extremely powerful, but the point of enlightenment is not to waste time fighting, but to advance insight and wisdom …”

“Bar Epiphanies!” Where did you find this sentence?

Fan: I’ve had my share of bar epiphanies. The point is not to spoil those moments of insight, even after sobering up.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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