Dear Amy: I'm 47, gay and single. I've spent the past eight years living away from my family of origin.
I recently moved back to my home state, although I live about two hours away from my family. My problem is my widowed mother, who's 77. We haven't had the best relationship because she refuses to recognize boundaries.
Every time I see her she tells me how fat I am, and that I shouldn't be eating the dessert she made, even though I've asked her many times not to comment on my weight.
She's planning on visiting me soon, and I know the first thing she'll say to me is how fat I am and how she's just concerned about my health. If I object, she declares me to be too sensitive.
I get it. I know I'm fat, but I'm just tired of hearing it from her. I've told her many times I don't appreciate this.
I get the feeling she doesn't really care about my health; she's just embarrassed to be seen with me.
If she disparages my weight when she visits, my inclination is to say, "I'm done" and walk away. Then she'll blame me for abandoning her. But I'm done with the insults. I can't put up with her abuse anymore. Do you have any advice for enduring what is likely to be an unpleasant visit?
Amy says: It's quite challenging to declare, "I'm done" and then walk away when the person you're walking away from is visiting your home. Rethink this reaction during your mother's visit, but definitely put the possibility of walking away into your reaction basket for another time.
If your mother starts criticizing your body while she's with you, you should make eye contact and say to her, "Mother, no. This is not open for discussion. I won't talk about your body and you won't talk about mine. Do you understand that?"
She will likely sputter, and attempt to explain her reasoning, but you will have said your piece, and you shouldn't respond further. Just stay silent, keep your body language neutral and simply wait for her to stop.
If your mother doesn't get the message and you find it so intolerable or bullying that you believe it's worth severing your relationship with her, you can commence your plan to walk away. I hope it won't come to that.
Dear Amy: No thanks to the internet, the price of a daily newspaper in my area has risen sharply over the years, but I'm strictly an "old school" coffee-and-newspaper-at-breakfast type. I bring the paper to work every day and do the crossword puzzle in the break room before clocking in.
There's a guy who's been there longer than me, and earns more money. He inevitably asks to see the sports page, but has never offered to even buy me coffee.
Last week I suggested we go halfsies on the paper, and he has since ceased speaking to me (which disturbs me not one bit). I think I was in the right to ask, especially since we should support newspapers while they're still around. Was I wrong?
Amy says: I appreciate your old-school dedication to newsprint, certainly because my own work is often crossword-adjacent. But how does your co-worker going halfsies with you support newspapers? If he compensates you for half the cost, you're still buying one newspaper.
Yes, your co-worker should find appropriate and proportional ways to thank you for sharing the sports section every day, but it would be even better if he ponied up for his own copy.
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