I have two young kids, a husband, and a career. I’ve always had a difficult relationship with my mother.
She was emotionally unstable, would often cry, mistreat her children and husband, and badmouth her friends.
When I was in my teens and she in her 40s, she’d go out with friends, be unfaithful to my dad, and cause great stress to us all.
None of her children ever confronted her. My dad never asked for a divorce.
Yet she could also give a lot of affection.
I left home for university, then emigrated to this country. When I’d visit back home annually, my siblings would report other episodes of her selfishness.
My husband and I both decided to sponsor our parents here so they wouldn’t need visitor visas to just stay awhile.
My twins were born and both grandmas were here to help, but I had constant stress from my mom. She’d get offended at any comment or disagreement.
For the first time, I began to argue back. She returned twice for extended visits.
We made a deal about her staying with us until her time to apply for citizenship, which took a year.
It was extremely difficult for me. The day the time was up, I bought her return ticket back home.
After four months, she’s now asking if I can help her buy a ticket so that she can come, stay here for a month and in that time, find a job and a place to live independently.
I initially agreed to help her, with the condition that she’d go back if unable to achieve this.
Just thinking about having her close again causes me stress and worry.
I think she’s independent, healthy, has a pension, and could stay where she is.
But I have feelings of guilt if I don’t help her.
You’ve presented a good case for refusing your mother’s request to stay with you. But you’re equally clear that you feel conflicted.
Time to decide – and you may need professional help to do this – which decision will be workable, and which impossible to sustain.
You know her to be selfish, easily offended, a conflict-stirrer. So it’s possible that she could change her mind and not move out to live independently.
You’re now a busy working mother of twins, unable to just accept her added stress. Are you prepared to force her to leave if necessary?
Be realistic and self-protective, but also be fair. Inform her very soon what you’ve decided. The rest is up to her.
In junior high (middle school) we quarrelled about which of us was the most intelligent of our class.
In high school now, he speaks to me outside of school (he hadn't before), saying "Hi!" and "Goodbye!" and "Have a good day!"
I'm not sure if he likes me but I have a crush on him. But I don't want to ruin what little we have now.
Keep the crush private. His greetings are acknowledgments, nothing more so far.
Your respect for each other’s intelligence is grounds for light conversation, which you’re free to start.
Keep it casual - comments about something going on at school.
If he responds and keeps up the chat, it’s a beginning friendship. Don’t build up expectations.
Let the contact develop naturally. Even if that’s the extent of your connection, it’s a healthy way to get to know him better over time. Friendship is more real than a crush.
FEEDBACK Regarding the former pro athlete who suffered a career-ending injury (April 20):
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Tip of the day:
Weigh a difficult parent’s visit against how much stress you’re able to handle.