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Publication: Dear Abby
Siblings Planning Anniversary Can Ignore Party-pooper Mom

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             DEAR ABBY - April 15, 2008 
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SIBLINGS PLANNING ANNIVERSARY CAN IGNORE PARTY-POOPER MOM

ABBY: My parents will celebrate their 50th wedding 
anniversary this year, so my siblings and I have been trying 
to plan something special.

I asked my mother what she would like us to do. Her response 
was she didn't want to tell me what to do, for us just to
decide. When we suggested a Caribbean cruise, she said Dad 
didn't want to be on the water. So we planned a vacation in 
Mexico. Mom said she didn't want to get passports. Then I 
suggested a big party with family and friends. She said she 
would be hurt if people didn't show up. I asked Dad what he 
wanted to do; he suggested a trip to New York. Mother shot 
that idea down, too.

My siblings and I have put months into planning this effort, 
and Mom is not making it an easy process. We even staged an 
"intervention" with all of us kids and Mom and Dad. We sat 
down and brainstormed ideas that might please her, even
offering to give them several thousand dollars to spend as 
they wish. Nothing is good enough for Mom.

I am frustrated. If I do nothing, she'll be upset with me 
and hold a grudge. If I plan something, it won't be the 
right thing. At 45 years of age, I just want to do ONE 
thing right in my mother's eyes. Help me, please. 
-- NEAR TEARS IN HENDERSON, COLO.

NEAR TEARS: The name for the behavior your mother is 
displaying is "passive-aggression." Because you say you 
would like to do "one" thing right in her eyes, I assume 
it has been going on since you were quite young. The advice 
I am offering is not what you expect. Here it is: STOP 
TRYING TO PLEASE YOUR MOTHER. It is impossible to accomplish.

You and your siblings should throw the party with family 
and friends. Do not show your mother the guest list; that 
way she cannot be hurt if someone doesn't show up. And make 
it a "surprise party." Do not expect to please your mother. 
She's not pleasable, and the sooner you accept that fact, 
the better off you will be.

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ABBY: Because of a sudden, life-threatening illness, I had 
to leave my job. During the time I worked there, I 
cultivated (I thought) some great friendships. Now I am 
heartbroken to realize the friendships I so valued were not
valued in return.

One woman broke off our phone conversation with, "I have to 
take this call. I'll call you right back." It has been nearly 
six months, and I'm still waiting for that returned call. I 
know I could have called her back, but I seem to be the only 
one initiating contact. Perhaps my one or two calls a month 
became too much for her.

There must be others in similar situations. My question is, 
should I write this "friendship" off?
SADDENED IN TAYLORVILLE, ILL.

SADDENED: Yes. Some people are so afraid of death that when 
someone close -- a friend, family member or spouse -- is 
stricken with a life-threatening illness, instead of 
stepping forward and offering support, they physically or 
emotionally run in the opposite direction.

Why cling to this person? When the chips are down, she couldn't face it. And that, in my book, is not true friendship.







ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 
____________________________________________________________

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