Girl’s tantrums stymie man’s relationship with her mom

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I have met the most remarkable woman, but after eight months of serious dating, I have realized that she has the worst and most manipulating 10-year-old daughter ever. She constantly claims sickness, and now even mental health issues like anxiety and panic disorder, although they have never been formally diagnosed, to prevent her mother and me from having time together. Immediately after her mother agrees to her daughter's request and lets her get her way, the kid becomes happy and energetic, and goes back to playing. (I feel she is laughing in my face.) The numerous cancellations and tantrums are very upsetting, and it hurts my feelings when the person I love most in the world sets me aside.

I had considered proposing marriage. I have a 13- and 17-year-old who are both respectful, energetic and happy. They have been through a lot since their mother abandoned us, but they would never consider acting out like this girl.

Last weekend I was asked to bring her requested dinner and then leave, because she wanted Mommy to watch her watercolor. Abby, they are together every day, almost all day, and close relatives refuse to watch the child.

Is a resolution possible? Should I stay or should I go? When do I have the right to say enough is enough? The constant exclusions make me feel insignificant. -- COUNTED OUT IN KENTUCKY

DEAR COUNTED OUT: If "close relatives" refuse to watch the child so your lady friend can have a break, there may be more to this story than you have written. The girl is fighting for her mother -- and winning. From where I sit, Mama could benefit from some discussions with a child psychologist and lessons in how to say no to her daughter.

Adult relationships are supposed to make both parties feel better, not insignificant. As to whether you should stay or go, I think you would be wise to take a break from this relationship because, as it stands, it is going nowhere.

DEAR ABBY: I have a friend who has stopped by unannounced several times. She'll send me a text, but without giving me a chance to respond, she just pops over. One time I was in the middle of studying for an exam and it wasn't a good time. Other times I was busy doing something and was startled when she showed up.

Finally, I mentioned something in a text about how much I liked her as a friend but would really appreciate if she would wait for a response to her text before stopping by. It has been two or three days now, and she hasn't responded. I even said I didn't want to hurt her feelings and hope she understands.

I would think most people feel as I do about unannounced visitors, but I could be wrong. I would like to ask her how she would feel about it, but before I do, I need to know what's "normal." -- BUSY AND BOTHERED

DEAR B & B: It is considered normal good manners to ask if it is convenient -- and wait for a response -- before stopping by someone's home so it will not be an intrusion. You were studying, but many people work from home and also don't want to be disturbed. Others prefer to be "presentable" before they have company. Interesting, isn't it, how many self-centered individuals become hypersensitive when called on their behavior.

DEAR ABBY: My husband of 43 years, an alcoholic, has started going to the local grill/bar in our small town. He spends three to four hours there, six days a week. He would go more often if they were open on Sundays.

People who know us tell me things that have been going on between a single bartender and him. This bartender has given him gifts, and I heard he overtips her. I have also been told there's more going on than the outward flirting, and my husband has been saying bad things about me.

The bartender is not a young woman, and she tells anyone who will listen that she's looking for a man. I have asked my husband nicely to stop going there, and he does for a few days, until her calls and posts on Facebook start about me "keeping him from going to the bar." When he gets home, he continues drinking until he passes out.

I have told him that if he gets a DUI and goes to jail, I won't bail him out. He doesn't really care, and I don't know what to do. Help! -- DISASTER IN GEORGIA

DEAR DISASTER: Your signature is correct. Your marriage is a disaster. As long as your husband continues to drink, nothing will improve. Keep uppermost in your mind that, as much as you might want to, you cannot change him.

Contact a divorce lawyer and find out what you need to do to protect yourself financially. And join an Al-Anon group. There may be more than one near you. When you do, you may find not only some much-needed emotional support but also perspective. I am sorry for what you are experiencing, but once you attend a meeting, you will find you are not alone and that there is a way out.

DEAR ABBY: I am a single 30-year-old female who is child-free. (I never wanted kids, ever!) My personal stance and views on the subject are well-known by my co-workers, all of whom have children.

I share an office with "Elise," who's about 18 years older than I am. Over the years, she has made remarks such as, "You have no right to be tired. You don't have kids!" or "You don't count because you don't have kids!" or "You're not a real adult because you don't have the responsibility of having kids" (my favorite).

How do I deal with her, or what do I say to counter her remarks? When she makes them, it hurts my feelings. I don't react because I know if I do it will hurt her feelings and cause friction in the office, which I don't need. But I'm sick to death of people like her who have children saying those things about people like me. -- FREE FOREVER

DEAR FREE: Your co-worker appears to be voicing her frustrations about the responsibilities of parenthood and somewhat jealous that you are free of them. The next time she hurts your feelings, it would not be overreacting to tell her that she has and ask her for an apology.

If she's doing it hoping to get a rise out of you, ignore her. But if it persists, as a last resort, talk to your boss or human resources about it because she's creating a hostile work environment. (It's the truth.) She should be talking with you about work, not her personal opinions about you.