ASK AMY: This mother has a best friend: her daughter.

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Dear Amy: My mom and I are best friends. My parents had a true storybook romance. They met as children and were married for 32 years until my dad was quickly snatched from our lives by cancer, when he was only 60, 20 years ago.

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My mom has been literally heartbroken ever since. You long to have fun and meet people, but you can’t go out and do it.

I’ve tried everything: classes, moving to different towns in hopes of finding a close and fun community, moving to an elderly community, getting a volunteer job, trying a paid job, going to church … whatever, I have tried .

I know I can’t make her do things, but she continually tells me that “I would do anything to meet a good man and have some friends.”

Her father was very harsh on her and verbally abused her and she has no confidence in herself because of him.

I am eager to know if you have any ideas or advice for my mom.

He is 76 years old and loves to have fun, laugh and do things with people.

But his life for the past 20 years has been very lonely and quiet.

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I know she needs to do things for herself, but she doesn’t use the computer, and I try to at least find possibilities that can open up a little social life for her and find some friends.

Hope you can offer some new ideas or thoughts.

– Daughter frustrated and sad

Dear frustrated: You are your mother’s best friend. It’s possible that if the two of you had allowed yourself to differentiate each other so that you could be her daughter instead of her best (and only) friend, she might have developed some of the skills and tools to relate more to people on her own. .

He has made all these efforts on her behalf and has even written to me to get more ideas on things I could do for her.

Hope you see where I’m going with this.

You need the help of someone other than yourself, and you deserve the feeling of power of discovery when you are pushing yourself.

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You deserve to move forward with a relationship with her that is not defined solely by her needs.

The next time she expresses her dissatisfaction and wishes, tell her that you have no ideas. Do you have any idea? Ask: Are there things she (not you) could do differently to change the outcome?

Obviously, she would benefit from compassionate therapy.

And also, because you have me doing this now, an experience in a shelter for the elderly could be enriching and empowering for her. Visit Roadscholar.org to learn about the programs.

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Dear Amy: I have been away from my mother and my brothers for several years. Simply put, my brother is clinically a sociopath and my mother has spent her life defending all of his hurtful behavior. For example, he was in the hospital. When my brother found out that he was ill, he replied, “Well, I hope he dies.” My mother was there when she said it and she laughed!

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Amy, I have many serious health problems and I recently discovered that I have cancer.

I feel like I should try to reach out to my family to let them know. I know it is important to share family medical history and my two brothers have young children.

To be perfectly clear: I DO NOT want to be in a relationship with them.

I have been hurt too many times over the years.

Should I try to contact them? What should I tell them?

– New cancer fighter in PA

Dear Cancer Fighter: You should ask your medical team for guidance on this, but I don’t think you are ethically required to contact your family members. If you do, you may want to set up a separate email account from which to send them an email. That way, you can read, or not read, any response you may receive.

Keep your statement short and objective. Say, “I am fighting this disease and I hope to do well.”

Dear Amy: Second Guessing My Silence, she wondered whether to tell the teenager sitting across from her in church that the girl had lice in her hair.

You should have told him to talk to the priest about it. You could meet with the family in private.

– disgusted

Dear Annoying: “Second Guessing” was too shy to touch this girl on the shoulder. I can’t imagine her having the courage to tell the priest.

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