Dear Annie: My daughter and her father and I were always close. We talked daily, telling one another about our days. She has three children. We paid for preschool for all of them, bought their clothes and even bought a condo for them to live in while she went to law school. She is our only living child; we were in a position to help, and we were happy to do so.
She divorced her husband, who was bleeding her financially by buying expensive new cars and going on expensive vacations. We also helped by babysitting the kids, getting meals many times and continuing with financial help.
She met someone very nice, stable and with a rising career. Her career rose, too. They are a family now, with five children and a big house to take care of.
We hear from her now once every two or three weeks, and visits are rare — maybe once every three months. We went through a very painful time from this separation, especially me. I’m all right now and have developed new friends. I wonder, though, if this type of distancing from us is something she had to do to become independent, or if she almost mistreated us. What do you think? — A Mom of a Grown Daughter
Dear Mom of a Grown Daughter: Ideally, in parenting, you raise your children to have a strong foundation; you give them good roots; and then you give them wings to fly away on their own. It sounds like you have done a great job parenting. I don’t think your daughter is mistreating you; I think she is happy and enjoying her life, which should be your goal. Maybe see if you can go over and visit her and all of your many grandkids.
Sometimes, when we are having a difficult time in life, even in adulthood, it is our parents who help us out. Your daughter was going through a tough time with her ex-husband, and your support was so helpful that she was able to get back on her feet and find a good husband and a happy life. Job well done, Mom.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Frustrated Friend,” who was struggling with how to handle a “frenemy,” and my heart went out to her, as I have lived the exact same situation. You are perfectly correct in your response that this person is no friend.
I, too, never knew how to handle my frenemy because the insults were always spoken sotto voce or to someone else but always loud enough for me to hear, or, as “Frustrated Friend” says, “embarrassing” because they were said “while in the company of others.”
You suggest, “Stand up for yourself the next time she insults you.” I would love to get some suggestions from you on how to handle this type of individual. How does one stand up to someone who is so passive aggressive? — Been There
Dear Been There: The best way to stand up to a bully (even a passive aggressive one) is to stand up to the bully directly. Let them know very directly that you don’t have time for passive aggressive games. If they continue to try to boss you around through passive aggressiveness, it might be time to pack your bags and look for a new friend.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]