June 21, 2024
Plus: I don't want my son's college girlfriend at all our family events.

DEAR ABBY: I’m concerned that my son-in-law is emotionally abusing my daughter. She was always a bit shy but was able to stand up for herself.

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Dear Abby: What’s wrong with me that I don’t feel sad?

Recently, we were driving to a new destination and she was using Google Maps. It said we had arrived at our destination, but we couldn’t see it. After backtracking, her husband was able to find it. He then berated my daughter for “being unprepared and not knowing where it was”! No one had been there before, and we were following an effective app. She apologized to him.

I wanted to say something, but when I have in the past, she became upset with me.

I see her confidence ebbing away. She needs to stand up to him. There have been many more instances.

How can I help her return to being the strong and confident woman she was? I don’t think counseling would work. She doesn’t recognize what is happening to her.

— MOM WHO SEES IT IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR MOM: Talk to your daughter privately. Explain that you are worried about her because she’s no longer the person she once was.

Give her examples of her husband’s verbal abuse that you have observed and ask if she thinks she really deserved it. Offer to (quietly) pay for her to talk with a licensed counselor if she would be willing.

Then cross your fingers that she will accept your offer and act on it without spilling the beans to her husband.

DEAR ABBY: My son is a sophomore in college. He has been dating a girl he met at school for almost a year. Her family no longer speaks to her for reasons I don’t know.

I have included her in our family holidays, but she later tells my son that she thinks I don’t like her.

It causes problems for me when I visit him at school, which is often because it’s my alma mater. When I’m there, she attends all dinners and family events whether she’s invited or not, and I am expected to pay for her as well.

My son has invited her to our house without my permission, and I do not want her to come.

How do I tell him I don’t want her here without causing major problems in my relationship with him?

— OPPOSED MOM IN OHIO

DEAR MOM: Teach your son good manners by telling him you don’t want anyone joining you for every family event and dinner without first being asked to include her. As much as he may like the girl, she is not (yet) a family member.

Be sure to point out that you do not dislike her, but this is a formality you would like observed. The two of them are not a package deal.

P.S. The fact that her family doesn’t talk to her is a red flag that should not be ignored. Broach that subject with your son now.

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DEAR ABBY: I was involved in a traffic accident. (The other party was found liable.) After the crash, the other driver had gashes and was bleeding. I had a couple of broken ribs.

Would it be OK to contact the other driver to see how he is? He was so polite to me at the accident scene. I really feel like he was a nice person.

— BROKEN IN NORTH CAROLINA

DEAR BROKEN: I know you mean well. However, before contacting this nice person, you would be wise to discuss it with an attorney to make sure there will be no legal ramifications you might later regret.

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.

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