DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law tends to embrace every pitiful creature she comes into contact with. This Thanksgiving she has invited my ex-boyfriend and his wife to her home to share in the festivities. My ex was abusive to me most of the time, and we did not end on good terms. The woman he cheated on me with is now his wife.
My ex was sneaky and manipulative, and I believe his only reason for wanting to be there is to check up on me and my husband. I have explained this to my husband and his mother, and told them I don’t feel comfortable with the situation. They both told me I am “overreacting” and that he was a part of my past and I have since moved on.
I feel the family I love has betrayed me. The idea of my ex being involved in what should be a comfortable family day has me afraid and uneasy. Am I overreacting? Or is my husband’s mother being unreasonable? — DREADING THANKSGIVING
DEAR DREADING THANKSGIVING: I do not think you are overreacting. It was insensitive of your mother-in-law to invite your abusive ex and his wife to the gathering without first checking with you. While you may have moved on, I can see why this would not be something you would look forward to. Frankly, it’s surprising that your mother-in-law would even know your ex — let alone invite him to her home.
DEAR ABBY: I have been living on my own for three years. I recently moved back to my hometown and share a great apartment with my best friend from childhood.
My mother has had a serious alcohol problem for as long as I can remember. She will be moving back to the area next month for a new job. Dad couldn’t get a job transfer, so he’ll have to stay at their current house, which is five hours away.
I love Mom, but I’m very worried because I will be her closest family member in terms of location. Her drinking has grown progressively worse over the last few years, and has been the cause of three major surgeries. If something happens while she’s living on her own, I don’t know what I’ll do.
Talking to my family is useless. It gets brushed aside because they don’t want to deal with the pain after all these years. Do you have any suggestions to make this transition easier? — HEAVY-HEARTED DAUGHTER IN VIRGINIA
DEAR HEAVY-HEARTED: For the sake of your sanity, you must not assume responsibility for your mother’s drinking problem. Before she arrives, it would be helpful for you to attend some Al-Anon meetings or visit a chapter of Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization. They can help you to maintain your emotional equilibrium as well as share experiences that will help you to cope with her without being overwhelmed.