Let wife deal with her al­co­holic mother

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - MAUREEN SCURFIELD

DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife and I re­cently wel­comed a beau­ti­ful baby into this world — the cen­tre of our uni­verse. My par­ents love our child like their own. The is­sue lies with my wife’s mother. She is a func­tion­ing/ clos­eted al­co­holic, has a drunk for a boyfriend, and comes around when­ever she chooses, or when it’s con­ve­nient for her. Since our child’s birth, she came to visit for a few min­utes in the hospi­tal, and hasn’t seen our baby since. She will call, and make plans for the next day, but never fol­low through, or makes ex­cuses not to come visit. I’m think­ing: Ei­ther she should get sober (which she has tried in the past) or see a doc­tor (she says she has), and be a reg­u­lar part of our lives and make an ef­fort to know her grand­child, or not come around ever, and never be apart of our lives. I’d pre­fer the lat­ter op­tion. My big­gest fear is that she will let down or hurt our child due to her choices in life, and I never want my kid to ex­pe­ri­ence that. How do I fix this? — Pro­tec­tive First-time Par­ent, Ru­ral Man­i­toba

Dear Pro­tec­tive: Cut­ting a mother off is like the am­pu­ta­tion of a limb for a son or daugh­ter, so don’t push that idea. You can’t take it upon your­self to is­sue an ul­ti­ma­tum that could pos­si­bly stop your wife from see­ing her own mother, drink­ing or sober. Don’t even voice that idea; you could lose some of your wife’s love. You’re the lucky one! You have a mother in your cor­ner and a good one. Look, your baby will never be in jeop­ardy as long as you agree with your wife this drink­ing grand­mother doesn’t get to babysit alone. It sounds like she doesn’t want the re­spon­si­bil­ity any­way. Don’t ruin your happy fam­ily times now by wor­ry­ing. Just cud­dle your wife and the baby, and let your daugh­ter deal with her mother. One sug­ges­tion to make to your wife: Al-Anon is a group for the friends and loved ones of al­co­holics. She might want to at­tend some meet­ings to learn how to cope.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I am di­vorced with chil­dren for sev­eral years, now dat­ing a widower for half a year, who also has two small chil­dren as well. We met three years af­ter his wife died of can­cer, and so far we have a won­der­ful re­la­tion­ship. To be hon­est I’m just wor­ried he still is not over his late wife’s pass­ing. He talks about her of­ten, which I have no is­sues with; even though she is gone, she’s the kids’ mother and I re­spect that. The prob­lem is he still has pic­tures of her all over the house, which makes me very un­com­fort­able. I’m not ex­pect­ing him to get rid of the pic­tures — maybe keep some pic­tures of her and the kids out, but put the ones of him and her in an al­bum. I also have not yet met any of his fam­ily, nor his friends. I worry he’s hid­ing me be­cause of the back­lash he may get be­cause he’s dat­ing again. He is an amaz­ing per­son and I feel I am fall­ing in love with him? Can you help? — Very Con­fused

Dear Con­fused: Keep­ing you hid­den from friends and fam­ily is a big­ger prob­lem than the pho­tos. Ei­ther he’s afraid of how they might treat you, hav­ing known his wife, or he may be scared they will de­cide you’re his next wife! Six months with you is a short time, too short to make a big com­mit­ment. But, you can right­fully in­sist there be no pho­tos in the same room where you’re mak­ing love. He may think about that over a few days, and start mov­ing some of the oth­ers as well. It’s a grad­ual thing and the act of tak­ing the pho­tos down is hard. Also, tell him you want to know if you’ll be meet­ing his fam­ily by Christ­mas. See what re­sponse that gets. If he gets a star­tled “Oh no!” look on his face, then you need to ask him out­right if you’re just a friend-with-ben­e­fits. It’s good to know the truth no mat­ter how tough it is. He may not be in­tro­duc­ing you to friends and fam­ily be­cause he doesn’t think of you as a keeper. Don’t re­main part of that heart­break­ing sit­u­a­tion.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I can see in my neigh­bour’s front win­dow. Some­times they are fight­ing. On the week­end I saw him hit her and she fell to the floor. I al­most called the cops, but she got up again, and he took off in the car. What should I do? She is a lovely woman. My hus­band says to mind my own busi­ness, but I saw what I saw. — Wor­ried Sick About Her, Elmwood

Dear Wor­ried Sick: When you know the hus­band has gone off to work, go over to see her and tell her you saw him strike her. Give her the num­ber for the cri­sis line at Os­borne House (204-9423737) and Ikwe Wid­dji­ti­win (204-9872780) and tell her to put it in a safe hid­ing place. If she tells you to go away, con­sider this: Any­one in the prov­ince can call the Man­i­toba As­so­ci­a­tion of Women’s Shel­ters’ confidential, toll-free line at 1-877-977-0007 if they know of some­one who is be­ing abused. Their multi-faceted web­site is at www.maws. mb.ca. Read it so you can tell her about the con­tents. Let her know that web­site also shows how to wipe out any trace of be­ing on the site.

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