Dear Abby: Mom’s too negative to be my mother figure

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DEAR ABBY: My mother is extremely self-centered. Ever since I can remember, everything has always been about her. That’s probably why she and Dad split. You can’t have a conversation with her without her turning it around and making it about her.

I’m 25. I just want to have a regular conversation with my mom without her somehow bringing the mood down by saying she has demons to deal with on her own and she can’t be positive or happy for others.

Abby, there’s nothing wrong with her! She’s healthy, she’s fit, she has a wonderful job she claims to love and friends she goes out with often and seems to have fun with. She’s out literally every weekend.

I just don’t get why she never makes time for me or any of my siblings. I’m afraid I’ll never have that mother/daughter relationship.

Maybe I wouldn’t care so much if I had another role model to confide in, but unfortunately, I have neither a mother nor a father figure in my life. My siblings and I have been cheated in the parent department — a father who left us and a mother who thinks only of herself. Advice? — LOST SOUL IN OHIO

DEAR LOST SOUL: This may be of small comfort to you, but other readers over the years have described situations like your own. I’ll share with you what I have advised them.

Because your mother apparently feels her parenting job is finished, it’s time to build a “family” of your own. Because you crave the wisdom an older woman can provide, consider doing some volunteer work for seniors, perhaps at a senior citizen center. Your efforts will be valued, and in a short time you may begin building relationships with more than one person who can assuage your emptiness while you fill a need in their lives, too.

DEAR ABBY: My sister asked if I would attend a women’s conference with her. I hastily agreed, and we kind of dropped it until recently.

The conference is eight months away and I just found out the location and who will be the speakers. After reviewing the information, I realize I’m not all that interested in attending.

When I told my sister, she became furious! I apologized for letting her down, but I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars to attend a conference I’m not that jazzed about.

She’s still mad at me, and I don’t want to dismiss her feelings, but I feel that canceling eight months in advance is OK. We hadn’t purchased tickets or made hotel reservations yet. Can you give me some advice? — DON’T WANT TO GO

DEAR DON’T WANT TO: Your sister may have had more in mind than just the conference when she invited you to go with her. She may have wanted a bonding experience as well, which may be why she has reacted so strongly.

I agree that eight months in advance is sufficient notice that you want to cancel. It may smooth her ruffled feathers if you call your sister and suggest there might be something else you can do together that would be of greater interest to both of you.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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