I lost my mom six months ago. Shortly afterwards, one of my 14-year-old twins started acting out: vaping, changed friends, new boyfriend, lying.
I was aware of it all while trying to cope with my loss and help my twins handle it, too. My daughter’s since made some good changes and sees a counsellor.
Three months ago, I received an anonymous email. It trashed my parenting skills, my daughter (rumors, lies and yes, some truth). But also, falsehoods, harsh judgments on a struggling teenager, and degrading towards me. I was devastated.
Soon after, when cleaning out my mom's place, a friend of 10-plus years came to grab some free things. She used to babysit my kids.
Then, I learned she was trash-talking me behind my back and having inappropriate conversations with my kids. I strongly suspect that she sent the email.
No one else cares that much about what my kids do. She lacks boundaries (always has) regarding my twins. Her two children are also 14 and they've been very close for years. Their mother hears things said by them about my daughter.
I emailed her back, saying that it’s ended our friendship.
Should I confront her face-to-face? Our girls dance together, we'll inevitably run into each other. How do I move past this?
My heart goes out to you over the loss of your mom, your valid worries over your daughter (and your wise efforts to help her), and the mean-spirited email from this false friend.
Your immediate suspicion of her being its author, shows you’ve been quietly aware for years of her negativity towards you. Perhaps jealousy is at its base, given her trash-talking about you, even taking your mother’s belongings as if she were “family.”
Her actions have jealousy of you written all over them.
She’s tried inappropriately to be your kids’ friend, then spread gossip about them. Worse, she showed no respect for your loss.
You’ve moved past being able to ever trust this woman again. Hold your head up, hug your twin daughters, and let time heal the natural pain of grieving the loss of your mother.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the wife who worries about her husband’s lack of socializing with other male friends or couples (Sept. 13):
“I also have a "bro-less" husband. It isn't awkward because we’ve always loved being around each other. Even when he could go home and relax after work, he’d instead join me in a parking lot to just sit and listen to music and chat while the kids were at an activity.
“He does socialize with family but doesn't enjoy my friends whom I see occasionally. While I must occasionally choose between time with him vs. with friends, either option is preferable to watching him be miserable all evening.
“He isn't a small talk guy and while often everyone's favourite person at work, he’s just an introvert who needs his chill time.
“It took me years to adjust and sometimes I’d feel left out because I had to choose. However, he’s made a lot of sacrifices for our family and children, including my always having to spend vacations doing things myself and which the kids enjoyed, but he didn't.
“We all have to adjust over time to who the other person really is at heart. Not all guys are “bro” guys. Let it be.”
Older and Wiser
FEEDBACK Regarding the wife who received unexpected contact from an “old flame” (Sept. 14):
Reader - “I think the wife can respond cautiously at first. I have been in contact mostly by phone and to some extent by email with my high-school sweetheart for almost thirty years.
“He is happily married and proud of it, although he maintains that his wife and I are the great loves of his life. And I was happily married until my husband’s death.
“The key to our ongoing contact was that we both involved our spouses in our continued friendship and our spouses were each comfortable with our friendship.
“Also, when our romance petered out, as teenage love usually does, he and I remained fast friends. So, when he reached out to reconnect with me years later, it did not seem weird to me.”
Ellie - Congrats on the respect and caring shown by all the main parties to this lasting post-relationship friendship!
Tip of the day:
A long-time “friend” who’s known to have spread gossip and “trash-talk” about you and your young teenagers, is no friend at all. You can’t trust this person.