Infidelity from both sides
Dear Annie: I just finished reading the letter from “Caged Bird,” and my heart broke for her. The reason is because I lived that same life, and her letter could have been my own.
What was done to her by her mother and to me by my mother were not the products of “motherly love” or “misguided motherly concern.” These were the actions of a controlling, manipulative, abusive woman. Period. I escaped from her control. — Lived It
Dear Lived It: I’m so glad that you escaped from your mother’s abuse. Please make sure that you are in therapy and allowing yourself to escape from the pain that she imposed on you. I hope your letter lets “Caged Bird” know that she is not alone and many others have flown out of the cage of control, abuse and manipulation.
Now that you have flown out of your mother’s abuse, it is time to grieve the relationship that you never had with her. Every child wants their mother to love and support them. When there is abuse involved, the child will constantly try to please the mom or think that they are somehow to blame — that they did something wrong to have a mother who acted that way. As an adult, you can see that it was not you at all and that, sadly, your mother was not a well person. Give yourself time to grieve that relationship that never existed.
Grief is part of the human experience, and sharing our vulnerability helps us create truly close bonds with others.
Dear Annie: I want to point out one possible cause for why “Caged Bird’s” mother could be acting so controlling with her daughter, who missed out on life growing up: Her mother did not act out of love but jealousy.
Her mother played favorites with her sons. Her mother was probably jealous that her daughter would grow up and become better than her. How sad, but now is the time for her to soar and leave her toxic upbringing behind. — One More Possible Reason
Dear Reason: Your letter brings up a very good point. The fact that she treated her daughter so much differently than her son could absolutely be a sign of jealousy. Thank you for your insight.
Dear Annie: I just read your article about the husband having a relationship with someone in the office. The wife asked why women try to break up marriages like that. I’d like to offer some insight, as I’ve had experiences on both sides of the issue.
First, in dating a married man, I lost sight of the morals my parents had instilled in me. I was young and naive, and I believed what the man was saying to me about him wanting to leave his supposed loveless marriage. It took me years to figure out I set myself up for failure in coupling with someone who was already coupled. It was a way for me to be safe from true commitment, although I didn’t realize I was doing that psychologically.
Years later, when I was married, my husband cheated on me with a bevy of women, some of them knowing he was married. When I heard all those women on the voicemail, my now ex-husband tried to say they were not calls for him. He was a cheater, period. I knew from my own experience that I had to be the No. 1 priority, because I deserved it. And that’s what relationships should be. I’m remarried and happy now. My heart goes out to the wife, hoping she can stay strong and make decisions that prioritize her mental health and personal happiness. — Finally Happy the Second Time Around
Dear Finally Happy: Thank you for sharing your experiences, and congratulations on finding a partner who brings you peace and happiness.
Dear Readers: Before the start of 2022, I asked you all to send me your goals and resolutions for the new year. These are some of my favorite reader submissions:
— To pull up my bootstraps and address those who have been disrespectful toward me. Physical violence leaves visible scars. Verbal and emotional violence don’t.
— I decided to improve my mental and physical health in 2021, and I did, with the help of the weight loss app Noom (not an ad, just a fact). Since I started actively being kinder to myself, I feel a lot better, and losing weight really made me proud of my strength. Now in 2022, I need to maintain it and branch out more. New friendships need to be explored. New creative ideas need to be made real. My husband and I are planning a real vacation — something we never do!
— This year, and every year thereafter, I resolve to be a person that people would like to be around. I will be attentive, engaging and true to myself and others. It makes perfect sense to find the good in each situation. I will be grateful for each day.
— My goals for 2022 are to love others better and develop greater charity; to school my eight children better; to be of greater support and help to my sweet husband; to get our house in order and keep it generally clean; to get most projects done on time (it’s a work in progress); and to be a more positive wife and mother!
— My resolution is to ease up on worrying and to trust in my own parenting skills. My 17-year-old son has grown up with lots of challenges, but this year, I will place more faith where there is skepticism, and let him jump from the nest and fly on his own. Of course, as parents, we all worry about our kids, but this will be HUGE for us both. I’m going to work on not worrying and not being the helicopter mom, and focus more on making myself healthy and happy.
— This year, I vow to drink more water. We oldsters need to stay hydrated and often forget. Another thing I’ll do is keep a daily journal and specifically record one thing a day I am grateful for. (Studies prove it’s a great project for improved mental health, and you will so appreciate reading it in your later years.) I will also really try to maintain a positive attitude, which can be especially difficult these days. I have absolutely cut off negative people who complain, drag me down and make me feel sad. The power of positive thinking has never been more needed than now, so surprise others with a heartfelt “thank you,” a smile, or a gentle squeeze of the arm in lieu of a hug. I am doing my best, and others compliment my efforts.
I hope these thoughts encourage you, dear reader, as you envision what you and your life will become this year. Here’s to a 2022 that’s filled with happiness, healthiness and an abundance of love.