Q: I am 32, married for a year and a half, with no children yet. I am an only child who was raised by my mother until I was 14 because my father was in prison. My mother never remarried. She blames me for her never having found anyone, and she is resentful of my marriage. She doesn’t get along with anyone, not family, co-workers or “friends.”
She thinks my husband is her handyman to use around her house. The reality is, my husband works all the time, and when he does have any free time, I either want to spend it with him or need him to do things around our home. I’m afraid the day I tell her I’m pregnant her response will be laced with disdain and judgment, and I believe she will use my children as pawns like she used me to manipulate my dad.
I have seen a therapist about this, but I’m having a hard time following through on what needs to be done. My therapist suggests I tell Mom how I feel and let her know that if she continues with her current behavior, I will have to limit the amount of time we see each other.
Abby, she has said some really hurtful things to me in the past. I know her behavior is wrong, but I continue trying to be the daughter I am supposed to be so we can hopefully have the relationship we are supposed to have. I welcome your advice. — Had Enough in Georgia
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A: Here it is, and I cannot offer it emphatically enough. You hired a therapist who has given you excellent advice. You will save yourself a lot of grief and time if you take to heart what you were told and follow the advice you were given. To create boundaries is not being a bad daughter; it is being an intelligent one.
Q: I’m currently interning with a government-contracted group. Part of my job involves working with LGBT rights organizations. Recently, at a meeting with my boss and several representatives of these organizations, the topic of fairness in the workplace was mentioned. I was asked what my experience was, and I shared that I thought the workplace was fair, and my experience was fine.
I didn’t think about it at the time, but I now realize I was being asked how my experience was as an LGBT person. In light of this, my boss has nominated me for a diversity award. The problem is I’m a heterosexual female, and I think he promoted me for the honor because he thinks I am gay.
How should I handle this? Do I need to go on record to my boss that I am straight, that I have a boyfriend, and he misunderstood me? I don’t want this to come back to haunt me, but I’m afraid addressing it may ruin my credibility because it has taken so long for me to address it. My sexual orientation is obviously not something of great interest at work, but I feel I am living a terrible lie, and I don’t know how to fix this. — Ashamed in D.C.
A: No one should feel compelled to disclose one’s sexual orientation at work, no matter the circumstances. That said, in this particular case, go to your boss before this goes any further. Explain to him privately that you didn’t realize when the question was asked that anyone would presume you were gay. If you accept the diversity award without clearing the air first, it could potentially be a source of embarrassment and jeopardize your credibility.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.