Dear Annie: I lost a father due to resentment, now mom is pulling away too

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Mom's changing behavior a sign of concern?

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Dear Annie: When my parents divorced, they could barely stand to be in the same room with each other. This went on into my adulthood.

One day, several years ago, I called my father and asked him to remove a negative post on Facebook he had made about my mom. He had made a post calling her a liar, among other things. I told him it had been almost 25 years since their divorce and begged him to remove it. He told me I always side with her and am just like her. He told me that one day I will see who she really is; he called me names and then cut me and my siblings out of his life. He doesn’t have the best health, so we all kind of assumed he was having a mental breakdown at that moment.

It’s been 10 years, and he still hasn’t spoken to my siblings or me. His health is failing, and we have all tried to make amends; he ignores all tries. It is truly sad.

However, as time has gone on, the relationship with my mother has changed, too. She has always been our family’s biggest cheerleader. Within the past few years, however, she has started making snarky, jealous comments or just flat-out not congratulating my siblings or me when successful things happen in our lives. My siblings have noticed it, too.

She made the choice to move across the country three years ago, so we don’t know if that weighs on her now or if she feels she is missing out. The way she has been acting takes me back to my father saying I will see who she really is and makes me wonder if those words hold some truth. Is this who she is, a deeply unhappy and bitter person?

I have already lost one parent. I don’t want to lose another. -- An Adult with Parent Problems

Dear Adult with Parent Problems: First off, your father sounds very immature and unhappy. You are correct in saying that it is very sad that he will not make amends and refuses to reach out. Know that you can’t control other people, only your response to them, and it seems like you have done a wonderful job accepting your father’s limitations and acknowledged how sad it is.

As far as your mom is concerned, she is not an unhappy or bitter person all the time. She was your family’s biggest cheerleader. She is having moments of unhappiness. That does not make her all bad; it makes her someone who is hurting. Maybe she is lonely living so far away. Another possibility could be the beginnings of dementia. When you speak about a sudden personality change, that is something to look for. Try to go visit her, especially when there is conflict like you have now. Face-to-face interaction is usually much better than phone calls. Best of luck to you.

Annie  Lane

Stories by Annie Lane

“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to


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