The couple respects their parents without remorse

Dear Abby: I have two sons that I am proud of. My husband and I raised them to be respectful and to make responsible decisions. However, I go to bed crying every night and feel like we’ve failed.

Our eldest son is married and has a son, our dear grandson Charlie. Charlie is having his second birthday and our daughter-in-law has told me they are having a birthday party for him and we are invited. She added that she feels the “secondary activities” they are going through are the most important that he will remember. We are not invited to participate in secondary activities, which include a game of hockey, a trip to the petting zoo, and family photos or videos.

We try to support our son and daughter-in-law, but we don’t feel respected and loved in return. When we invite them to dinner, they arrive an hour or two late or not at all. We text them, but they don’t respond. We offer help and are there for them when they ask us to be, regardless of our personal consequences. What can we do?

– overflowing with love

Dear Excess: When I read that your daughter-in-law told you that you weren’t invited to special events surrounding Charlie’s birthday, my initial reaction was that she probably thought it would be too much for you and your husband to deal with. However, when you describe that your dinner invitations are treated like garbage and they don’t have enough respect to answer your calls and texts in a timely manner, it comes to mind that you were so full of love that you were taken for granted.

You may have raised your son well, but your daughter-in-law seems to be running the show. Her parents may take precedence in the hierarchy of importance, and if that’s the case, you and your husband need to clear the air with your son and wife, and reduce sacrifice when they pin their fingers.

Dear Abby: I’ve been working with a therapist to create healthy boundaries with my family. I went out of state with my husband to make sure these limits were met because my parents had problems with alcohol and verbal abuse. My younger sister “Maya” got engaged recently and she is going through a very exciting time in her life as she is planning her wedding.

There you have it: I have no interest in hearing about, helping to plan, or participating in the wedding because Maya and I have nothing in common but our parents. She is closed in and rude. Her fiancé is an introvert, so getting to know him is very difficult. How do I politely convey this to Maya or (more importantly) my mother without hurting feelings?

– Move away in the Midwest

dear go: You may not be able to avoid hearing about the wedding if you have been in touch with your mother and sister. But you have the advantage of living away from them. If you are asked to help plan Maya’s wedding, politely and logically (and unfortunately) explain that your busy schedule such as geographic distance makes your participation impossible. However, you must attend if you are invited.


Written by Abigail Van Buren, aka Jane Phillips, Dear Abby, it was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com.

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