DEAR ABBY: I met my friend “Ashley” and her daughter three years ago. Our daughters are 9 years old. Ashley makes good money and is married. I’m a single mom. I do well as a registered nurse, but I’m not on her level when it comes to money.
We all get along great and have a lot in common. However, Ashley buys her daughter, “Mimi,” a lot. Every time we go out, she buys Mimi something. If I buy a gift for my daughter for her birthday, Christmas, etc., Ashley buys the same thing for Mimi. I got my daughter into ice skating three years ago. Ashley then proceeded to buy her daughter professional ice skates, accessories, skating costumes and private lessons and entered her in skate club, shows and competitions.
Needless to say, my daughter is sometimes jealous of all the things Mimi gets. For me, it’s not about the money. It’s the principle that I’m not going to spoil my daughter like that. I remind my daughter she’s still more fortunate than a lot of other children and she should appreciate what she has.
Should I cut ties with Ashley? Should I mention my concerns to her? Or are my daughter and I overreacting? — DOING WELL ENOUGH
DEAR DOING WELL: I don’t think you or your daughter are overreacting. In life, you — and she — will always encounter people who have more material things than you. (The reverse may also be true.) Because this is happening regularly, I can see why your daughter feels as she does.
If it happened occasionally, I might respond differently, but you wrote that this is a frequent occurrence. A conversation with Ashley is in order. If your relationship survives the conversation, consider socializing with her but doing your gift-buying privately.
DEAR ABBY: My mother and I have never had the best relationship. It has only gotten worse since my dad passed in 2020, followed by my brother, who passed in 2021. My uncle, Mom’s younger brother, also passed in 2021. My problem is that Mom acts like I have no right to grieve. This is all HER grief and HER pain — she has actually told me as much. She has said, more than once, that she doesn’t know why I bother to get so upset.
I’m seeing a counselor, but I’m having a hard time forgiving her behavior. I lost my father and my brother! Worse, she tells her friends I don’t care about these losses. Please advise. — GRIEVING AND HEARTBROKEN
DEAR GRIEVING: Continue talking with your counselor not only about your deep sense of grief over the loss of your dad and your brother, but also about your relationship with your mother. Not knowing her, I cannot decide whether she is deep into her own grief or simply so deep into HERSELF that she can’t relate to you. I am sorry you didn’t mention your age or whether you live with her, but it’s important that you work on becoming, at the very least, emotionally independent from her.
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