Dear Abby: Six years ago, not long after I announced to my family that I was going to be married, my parents decided to divorce because Dad had been cheating on Mom. Because I allowed him to walk me down the aisle, she didn’t attend my wedding. I was extremely hurt by it, but decided to forgive and forget. Unfortunately, my mother could not do that.
For the last six years, she has ignored my phone calls and text messages. I have sent cards and gifts for birthdays, Christmas and Mother’s Day and received no acknowledgment (although she does generally send me a generic birthday or Christmas card).
We were very close before all this started, and I have tried reaching out to her in every way I know how. What makes this even more awkward is that she lives a stone’s throw away, and my teenage daughter is close with her. If I’m outside when she drops my daughter off, she hides her face or pulls up in front of a big tree in my yard so she can’t see me.
Cutting family out of her life is a pattern for her. My mother hasn’t spoken to her own father in almost 50 years, and out of her six siblings, she speaks to only one. She cut her own mother out of her life for years until Grandma was on her deathbed.
With Mom’s birthday coming up, I’m at the point where I think I’m done sending cards and gifts to someone who can’t acknowledge me and blatantly hides from me. What do you think? – Castoff in Illinois
Dear Castoff: Sending the greeting cards is a minimal way to maintain contact, and you could continue doing it. But if you’re really done, you’re done.
Dear Abby: I am a step-grandfather. Must I go to a grandchild’s church performances even though I’m an atheist? – Command Performance in Oregon
Dear Command: If you want a close and loving relationship with your grandchild (notice I didn’t say “step-”), you should absolutely be present to encourage and support that child!
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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069