The Oklahoman

Mother’s judgment hinders her daughter’s recovery

- Dear Abby Jeanne Phillips

Dear Abby: I’m a woman in my mid-30s without much family. I’m an only child and have no relationsh­ip with my father. The relationsh­ip I have with my mother is extremely toxic.

I have suffered my entire life from a severe shopping addiction. I recently relapsed, and I’m trying to recover financially. I can’t afford counseling right now, and I can’t ask for help from my mother because of how horribly she shames me about my addiction. In fact, I have realized that having her in my life at all is a massive trigger because she constantly puts me down for not being financially stable as an adult.

How can I tell her I no longer want her in my life for the sake of my mental health and addiction recovery?

– Pulling Back in Texas

Dear Pulling: I’m not sure if you are already aware of it, but many people use shopping as a way of coping with depression. You may be one of them. Before taking on that difficult conversati­on, do some research and find out what county mental health services may be available in your area. They are usually offered on a sliding fee scale. There are also 12-step programs for compulsive shoppers that you might find helpful. Please go online and research some of them as well.

As to what to say to your mother, try this: “Mom, I know I need help for my shopping addiction. I am seeking it now. While I am in recovery, you won’t be hearing from me for a while, so don’t worry. We will talk eventually.”

Dear Abby: I lost my best friend of 32 years in a car accident three months ago. She was the best friend a person could possibly have. We had been through so much together. She was cremated, and I didn’t see her before that, so I didn’t get closure. I feel so empty. What do I do?

– Not Well in The South

Dear Not Well: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your dear friend. The circumstan­ces of your loss make it more difficult, but it is not insurmount­able. Because there is no “place” you can go to mourn her, you might find closure by writing her a letter telling her all the things you weren’t able to say before her death. Then choose a private site you both used to enjoy, read it aloud to her and burn it, knowing she will always be alive in your heart. If this is not sufficient, consider asking your physician or religious adviser about a grief support group to help you work this through.

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