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Letters From Listeners

Easing the Guilt Over My Aging Mother


Dear Dr. Laura:

I have been married 26 years and am the mother of 3 children. I was a stay-at-home mother and the focus of my life is fostering healthy relationships with my husband and children.  My immediate family is center of my life and I want to be an important part of my grandchildren's lives.

I am writing this email to thank you for easing the guilt I have had over my mother's financial situation the past several years. She is a self-centered, unkind person who has truly never done anything kind for me in my entire life. No help with college, no help with my wedding, never formed relationships with my children, rarely visited and when she did, spent time in the casinos instead of with her grandkids. She is also financially irresponsible.  My father died suddenly when I was 10 but instead of listening to family and investing and managing her money to take care of her three young children, she chose to blow it all on fun, men, partying, vacations, but not with her kids. She has refused to plan for her future and has lost everything she ever received by blowing it or gambling it away. I could tell you particular things she has done to hurt me and my family, but why bother? Just suffice it to say that whenever I have had a "who has the worse mom?" contest with someone, I win, hands down.

But the problem was, I felt guilty that I wasn't helping her financially. She ended up losing her river-front condo and lives in a tiny apartment. Her sole income is from social security. I offered to help, but she didn't like the fact that I insisted on controlling her finances.  She has a HUGE gambling problem and I was not about to throw money into casinos. At this point in time, due to her verbally abusing my oldest daughter, I am not even speaking to her. I just don't care anymore. I have had to let her go, emotionally and physically. I can no longer tolerate her unkindness or listen to her stupidity. But the guilt was eating me alive. I felt bad for letting her lose her condo, her poor financial state, everything. But then I heard you re-discuss (I have been listening for over two decades) that guilt is the result of doing something wrong. I didn't do anything wrong; therefore, I have nothing to feel guilty about! My mother created her own life and now she is reaping what she has sown. I have redirected my guilt to sadness. I just feel sad for her and her poor life choices. I am thankful every time you help a caller with a similar problem because it reinforces my emotional situation. So thank you for helping me with my emotional trauma. You would think that after 55 years I would know how to "let it go, let go" and now I do!

My husband's girlfriend,




Tags: Abuse, Addiction, Attitude, Bad Childhood-Good Life, Mental Health, Regarding Dr. Laura, Relatives, Stress
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