ASK AMY: Abusive mother now solicits funds by lying

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Dear Amy: My mother often singled me out growing up. She verbally and physically abused me.

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I tried to maintain a relationship with her when I got older — after all, she is my mother.

Over the years, I noticed that my relatives on her side stopped talking to me. There was no explanation as to why.

I recently found out (from a very reliable source) that my mother had been telling these relatives I was a heroin addict and “gotten myself into trouble.”

She was asking them to send her money because, according to her, she used her savings to “bail me out of trouble.”

Amy, I have never had a problem with drugs, nor have I had any legal issues. I’ve never even borrowed money from my mother!

My mother has never been good with money. She declared bankruptcy a few years ago.

I’m beyond angry that she used me to have her family send money to her!

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I’m angry that they believed her!

Should I bother reaching out to my relatives to tell them the truth? Or just cut my losses and carry on with my life?

– Tired of Being a Scapegoat

Dear Scapegoat: Yes, you should reach out to your relatives and tell them simply and plainly the truth about your own life.

Compose a letter or email. Word it carefully. Express something along these lines: “I have recently become aware that my mother has told you that I have drug problems or other legal problems, and she has used this as a reason to accept money from you. This is not true, and I’m concerned that you might be giving her money under false pretenses. I have never needed or accepted any money from Mom, but I am aware that she has had financial troubles of her own. I’m not sure what is going on with her, but I miss you all very much, and would really like to be in touch. I am doing very well (let them know a few details about your life) and am looking forward to hearing from you.”

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Dear Amy: My only daughter has been married for 15 years. She and her husband have three children. About twice a year, I invited her out for a girls’ night.

We usually go to a movie and will then try a new restaurant.

Her husband will then complain that we chose a movie that he was wanting to see and that he would have liked to try that restaurant.

He thinks I should invite him to come along.

Amy, most women enjoy having a girls’ night out, and men enjoy having a mens’-only activity, like a motorcycle trip, hunting, fishing, etc.

Her husband is a little shy and doesn’t make friends easily.

I don’t want to stop our girls-only night out, but I don’t want him to flu at her about it, either.

Any advice?

– Girls Only?

Dear Girls: I’m going to sidestep your gendered assumptions about what men and women enjoy doing with their free time, but I do agree that it can be liberating and empowering to spend some leisure time away from spouses and children.

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And yes, your daughter spending an evening a couple of times a year enjoying some solo time with her mother does not seem like an onerous burden for the left-behind spouse.

If your son-in-law complains to you, you should work hard to understand that he isn’t criticizing you, but perhaps he doesn’t have the friendship or family ties to have these experiences, himself. He wants in!

And yes, it would be good for everyone if you made an effort to ensure that he feels very much a part of your family. (Also, maybe volunteer to babysit the kids so these two can go out together!)

If he “gripes at her” about your night out, then that’s primarily her issue to deal with. If she passes this along to you, you could ask her what she believes might be behind her complaints about her, and invite her to talk about it.

Dear Amy: A writer named “Madison” complained about her prospective bridesmaid’s “hideous” tattoos.

Of course, you sided with her. Tattoos are important personal expressions. They are part of the person who chooses them. Covering them up is not an option.

– Inked and Proud

Dear Inked: I am not anti-tattoo. This particular bride was doing what many brides do – she was trying to control the way her attendants looked.

I only affirmed her right to ask these women to cover up during her wedding.

I assume they might refuse.

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