What’s with the hos­til­ity?

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS -

Dear Amy: I am a 25-yearold liv­ing abroad. I am the youngest of two chil­dren, with par­ents who are near­ing their late 60s. A few weeks ago, my mother wrote me a mes­sage telling me how im­por­tant fam­ily is and how much she misses me.

I couldn’t help but feel like it was a guilt trip, and my re­sponse wasn’t the kind­est.

My mother is now heal­ing from back surgery, and I feel guilty for not be­ing there to help her (and my sis­ter, who has a new baby) while she heals.

I come home for a few months each sum­mer, but as my par­ents had me later in life, I can’t help but feel like I am be­ing self­ish for tak­ing ad­van­tage of this op­por­tu­nity while they are ag­ing.

Is it wrong for me to be so far away? How much of my life do I owe to my par­ents once I en­ter adult­hood? Won­der­ing

Dear Won­der­ing: Like you, I lived abroad for sev­eral years in my 20s. I un­der­stand the mixed bless­ing of be­ing far away.

How­ever, I’m con­fused about why you would re­spond with hos­til­ity to your mother’s state­ment that fam­ily is im­por­tant and that she misses you. The way to re­spond is to say, “Oh, I miss you too, Mom!”

You seem to have sent your­self on this guilt trip, and it is in­ap­pro­pri­ate and un­kind for you to blame your mother for say­ing that she misses you. Of course she does!

Your mother is re­cov­er­ing from ma­jor surgery. Give her a break, and re­spond to her with kind­ness and con­cern.

It is not wrong for you to live so far away. The only thing you are do­ing wrong is to as­sign your own guilt to the wrong party, and to re­flect your own con­flicted feel­ings through hos­til­ity.

Apol­o­gize to your mother for your own re­ac­tion, and re­con­nect with your fam­ily when you’re home this sum­mer. As an adult, you don’t “owe” por­tions of your life to your par­ents. You only owe them re­spect and kind­ness. I as­sume that’s all they want.

Dear Amy: I have a co­worker who con­stantly refers to me by a pet name: “honey, sweetie, baby,” etc.

While I don’t feel it’s a sex­ual ref­er­ence, I do find it con­de­scend­ing. Our de­part­ments have worked to­gether on a project for a few months, and we in­ter­act enough that she has had am­ple op­por­tu­nity to ask me my name in case she for­got (or if she can’t read my ID Badge).

I have told her my name and tried gently cor­rect­ing her on how she refers to me. How­ever, I’m still “Baby,” and she adopts a tone like she’s speak­ing to a child.

She does not do this to any­one else. I do not want to cre­ate any fric­tion with her, but it is be­com­ing an an­noy­ing habit. “Sweetie Pie”

Dear “Sweetie Pie”: You are not “cre­at­ing fric­tion” by com­mu­ni­cat­ing a very rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion to be called by your name.

You have not been force­ful enough. Ask her to speak with you pri­vately. Tell her, “My name is ‘Bart,’ not ‘Baby.’ ” I ’ve tried to gently cor­rect you in the past, but now I’m telling you. You re­ally need to use my name when you’re talk­ing to me.”

If she con­tin­ues to call you “Baby” or “Sweetie Pie” in front of your co-work­ers, shut it down in front of them: “Please use my name.” Af­ter that, you might want to get a su­per­vi­sor in­volved.

Send ques­tions to askamy@amy­dick­in­son.com or to Tribune Con­tent Agency, 16650 West­grove Drive, Suite 175, Ad­di­son, TX 75001.

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