DEAR ABBY: My 80-ish mother has always considered herself an artist, although her paintings are bad at best.
She insists on gifting paintings at major events, and also insists that the honorees unwrap the painting in front of guests. At a recent (classy) wedding, she insisted the bride and groom open her gift, although doing it at a wedding isn’t usually done.
The bride and groom were angry and embarrassed, as were the bridal party and guests. The painting was atrocious, and my oblivious mother beamed and grinned and took a bow.
She does this at most weddings and events, and I’m mortified each time. The recipients are, without exception, visibly uncomfortable and even angry that she attempts to steal their limelight. Mother doesn’t notice.
This isn’t dementia; she has always been an attention hog and narcissist. I reached the point that I’m going to avoid any events she is attending. I have begged her not to do this, but she claims I’m “just trying to stifle her creativity” and she’s a gifted artist.
Abby, people are laughing behind her back. How do I stop her from doing this?
MORTIFIED IN MICHIGAN
DEAR MORTIFIED: Your mother’s craving for attention is not a reflection on you. You have tried to warn her. Now it’s time to let it go. She isn’t going to stop until one of the future recipients reacts by telling her honestly in front of everyone exactly what they think of her “masterpiece.”
DEAR ABBY: My husband was the love of my life. I lost him to COVID eight months ago. We were together for 20 years.
I know without a doubt that my husband loved me, but during our marriage he had several affairs. He was always sorry for his indiscretions and would shower me with gifts and vacations in the aftermath.
I was able to forgive him for all his affairs except the last one. It was with a tramp from our church, and it damn near ended our marriage. In fact, I told him to get out and we were done. He begged me to change my mind and swore this was the last time.
I agreed to stay, but things were never the same. We left our church because of my embarrassment about their affair, so we lost our friends.
My problem is, since his passing, I have become very angry all over again. I’m furious at him for this affair and dream about ripping the face off the “Church Lady.”
How do I let go of this anger so I can grieve the loss of my husband and remember the love and good times we shared instead of this nasty affair?
MISSING MY MAN IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR MISSING: I’m glad you wrote, because it’s important you give yourself the opportunity to vent about your feelings. A constructive way to do that would be to talk with a licensed therapist or with your spiritual adviser.
Did you ever discuss your reason for leaving the church you loved with the pastor there? If you didn’t, that might be a place to start.
You also mentioned that in leaving, you left behind valued friendships. It may be time to renew them. And please, stop feeling embarrassed because of your husband’s transgression. He was weak and he was human, and the sooner you can accept that, the sooner your rage may lessen.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.