Dear Amy: Growing up, my mother clearly dictated our relationship.

She was the authoritarian figure and I was the obedient daughter.

We were never best friends because she could not be level-headed and provide guidance. Instead, she was always a disciplinarian and a "Wait until your father hears about this" kind of mother.

My mother approached me (I'm 34) about why we don't have a "best friends" relationship. She noticed that her friends are "BFFs" with their daughters.

I was blunt. I told her that she was at fault for setting those boundaries and not providing a level-headed atmosphere at home. I said I was OK with our relationship because I know I could not change her.

My father says it has emotionally affected her to the point where she sees a counselor on a regular basis.

My father says she will not accept any responsibility, and it is my responsibility to start the conversation and to accept the blame.

She has never accepted fault over any situation, regardless of her actions or words.

I told my father that I will not accept the blame and will not have the conversation because it will go nowhere. I'm indifferent.

I'm not sure if there is anything I can do to change our relationship without taking all the blame. What can I do?

Amy says: You talk a lot about "fault" and "blame." If you and your mother want to develop an adult friendship, you are both going to have to learn to let go of some of your scorekeeping.

Your mother is in therapy. She might be using her hurt feelings to try to manipulate you. But she also seems to be making a bid for connection.

Now it's your turn to decide whether you will accept the bid. The conversation you two might have will start the way friendships do — slowly, haltingly, and through looking for commonalities instead of faults.

One opening bid from you might be to ask her about her therapy. Why is she there, what is she learning, what does she hope to accomplish, and what does she want from you?

Your friendship might be less "Gilmore Girls, and more "Housewives of Dysfunction Junction," but the way to open up to the possibilities is to talk, listen and learn to disagree peacefully.

No open minds here

Dear Amy: I've been seeing "Julian" for a little over two months. We are both in our late 20s.

He is sweet, generous, owns a stable business, has multiple hobbies/passions, and is very honest with me about everything. All of my friends love him.

However, I am scared for him to meet my conservative Italian-American family. Julian is covered in tattoos. I like his tattoos; I don't consider this a red flag. His career is also blue-collar.

Recently, my mother "stalked" his Instagram page, and called me in a rage. She said that there "must be something wrong with him" to cover himself like that and that I "cannot" date him.

She said many judgmental words and disregarded my feelings. She said that she's terrified of what our family will think of him.

I told her that she has to stop trying to control me, and to just accept it. However, I am still hurt and don't want to deal with more judgments.

What should I do?

Amy says: Your Italian-American family seems to be behaving in some stereotypical ways, but at your age and stage, it is well past time to differentiate from your family. Their unkind and overblown reaction to your guy's appearance reflects very poorly on them. How embarrassing (for them).

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