Dear Annie: I have two grown daughters. I don’t know what I expected as we all grew older, but it certainly wasn’t what I got.
Here’s the problem with my older daughter, “Bethany.” The three of us had lunch together, and afterward, Bethany said she was bored and had taken on part-time work as a phone sex worker.
I was stunned and thought she was making it up. She is notorious for lying. But she swore she was telling the truth. Annie, she and her husband both have good jobs, and she certainly doesn’t need the money. It made me furious, but we have not mentioned it since.
Now, my younger daughter is treating me terribly. After high school, I discovered that “Miranda” was a bully to her classmates. She made fun of them and tormented them for years. I had many conversations with both of my daughters about being kind to people, but obviously it never meant a thing to Miranda. I now believe she is transferring that attitude to me. She never misses an opportunity to correct me in front of my grandchildren. She once hurt my feelings so badly, I broke down in tears.
After Thanksgiving, she invited me to go shopping. I was at the designated place, but she wasn’t there. When I phoned, she said she was tied up at the checkout line in another store — one where she knows I love to shop. I said I couldn’t wait and was going home. She didn’t object. I invited her for Christmas dinner, and she refused to let me know whether she could make it until the day before.
Annie, I have had many surgeries and illnesses over the years, but in spite of that, I have lived a pretty good life. My husband and I have been generous with our children. If you see a problem with my attitude, tell me. I am willing to change. Right now, however, I am considering cutting my losses by limiting my contact with both of them. I am too old to put up with this nonsense.
-- North Carolina
Dear N.C.: We think your daughters enjoy yanking your chain in whatever direction it will go. We know this can be aggravating, but it does seem that they are close to you, having lunch together and offering to go shopping. If you enjoy that aspect of the relationship, we’d urge you to take the rest with a grain of salt, knowing that this is how they are.
But if it is too stressful for you to be in their company, it makes perfect sense to limit contact to what you can tolerate.
Dear Annie: I consider myself a generous person. I never forget the birthdays of my children, grandchildren or friends. I bring casserole dishes to those who are sick or have lost a loved one.
Is it asking too much to get a simple thank you? I wouldn’t care whether it was by text message or email. Have we become so entitled that we can’t take a few minutes out of our busy lives to show gratitude?
I’d like to tell my family and friends that if they don’t get a check, gift or card from me in the future, it’s because they don’t seem appreciative.
-- Less Generous
Dear Less: Don’t tell us and hope they will see it. Tell them directly. Explain that without an acknowledgement of your gifts, you aren’t sure they are welcome or even that mailed items were received. If there is no word of thanks, you will assume in the future that they prefer not to get your cards, checks and casseroles.
Dear Annie: I just wanted to add my suggestion for “No Hallmark.” My 93-year-old mother recycles greeting cards into beautiful bookmarks. Many go to our local library. She loves to do this, and it keeps her busy.
-- Santa Cruz, Calif.