Dear Carolyn: There is a woman in my life with whom I do not wish to interact on a regular basis. Shes incredibly selfish and cares only for her own happiness. She cant be trusted with confidences; she blabs everything to anyone who will listen, even when shes asked to keep something to herself. When I bothered to call her, she either didnt answer or was too busy to talk to me. I quit calling. Yet when she calls me, she expects me to drop whatever Im doing to chat. If I ignore her calls, she continues to call until I answer.
I find these conversations tiresome and would rather avoid them. Does it change your answer to know that shes my mother? If this were anyone else, I would have cut off contact years ago. Anonymous
Carolyn Says: Youve chosen not to cut her off despite solid reasons to do so. That tells me you regard her, or maybe just motherhood itself, as worthy of an exception. Theres nothing wrong with that. Maybe what you need isnt to cut the tie once and for all, as you seem tempted yet reluctant to do, but to gain an understanding of your reasons for making this exception.
Is it because she brought good things to your life, amid the bad? Is it because you recognize she did provide for you changed your diapers, fed you, drove you where you needed to go even if her motives centered on her? Is it because you love her even while you dislike her? Is it because part of you is still waiting for her to put you first? Is it because you dont want to be a person who no longer speaks to his/her own mom?
Theres a reason somewhere. Figure it out, then decide whether it satisfies you as a reason to keep doing this maddening dance.
Car pool woes
Dear Carolyn: How do you tell someone s/he is not fitting into a long-standing carpool group? Were unhappy with Pat, each for different reasons, one of which is chronic lateness, which makes everyone late. This happens at least two or three times a week, and no explanation or apology is ever offered. Rude!
Pat is constantly texting or having personal phone conversations when riding, which annoys some, and constantly eats noisy, fragrant foods, which annoys others. The worst, though, is Pats feeling that s/he is expected to drive more often than is fair, even though we do a round-robin.
How to tell Pat nicely? Car Pool Blues
Carolyn Says: No, the worst is that Pat makes you all late. Fussing about the ways Pat personally offends each of you wipes out nicely. Simply tell Pat s/hes late too often to remain in the carpool. Never make an issue personal that doesnt have to be.
Send email to Carolyn Hax at firstname.lastname@example.org.