Father and son en­gage in de­mo­li­tion derby

Northumberland Today - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: I’ve been dat­ing a won­der­ful man, “Don,” for a year.

I am wor­ried that Don is be­ing used by his father, “Don Sr.”

Don Sr. moved in with him three years ago. In that time frame Don has not only paid for ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing his father’s bills, but he has also bought four cars for his father, and his father has put these cars into der­bies, al­ways with­out ask­ing.

This year Don Sr. put his only car into the derby, again. After a few fights, ev­ery­thing seemed OK.

Now he needs an­other ve­hi­cle, oth­er­wise he won’t be able to drive to work.

He hasn’t even started to look for a ve­hi­cle, and ev­ery time Don or I tell him about a car that we saw for sale, he shrugs it off. He is so con­tent with Don hand­ing him ev­ery­thing. He said he doesn’t care if he gets his own car, be­cause he can just drive one of Don’s.

It’s not my place to say any­thing, and when I do, it usu­ally ends up with Don and me fight­ing. I’m tired of him be­ing used like this. I don’t want to fight with Don about his father, but what can I do to help?

— OUT OF PLACE

Dear Out of Place:

Un­der­stand with clar­ity that this father/son re­la­tion­ship is its own con­tained sys­tem. Things would change if Don Jr. wanted them to change. But the father is a user and the son is an en­abler. The son is ac­tu­ally train­ing his father to be com­pletely re­liant on him.

I love a de­mo­li­tion derby as much as the next gal, but what a colos­sal waste this is of a driv­able ve­hi­cle!

The way out for you is to adopt to­tal de­tach­ment. I’m going to pro­vide two phrases which will help you:

“That’s too bad,” and, “You’ll fig­ure it out.”

Don Jr. says, “Dad won’t look for a new car!” You say, “That’s too bad.”

Don Jr. says, “My father is us­ing me!” You say, “You’ll fig­ure it out.” That is the ex­tent of your com­men­tary or in­volve­ment.

If you sim­ply refuse to get wound up about this, this fa­ther­son re­la­tion­ship will ei­ther con­tinue as it is, or the son will fi­nally set some lim­its. Ei­ther way, you will grad­u­ally stop car­ing.

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