Ask Amy

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 9:00pm

DEAR AMY: I come from a family with a history of mental, physical and emotional abuse.

I've made peace with the fact that I cannot be a part of my mother's life (and my maternal family) and have moved on.

The problem is that my eldest daughter, "Jamie," has an ongoing relationship with them.

Usually, this doesn't bother me, but there are times, particularly when she informs me that she has done some good deed for my biological mother, who was particularly abusive toward me, that I feel uncomfortable with my daughter.

I usually let her know that I am uncomfortable and either change the subject or, if we're on the phone, get off quickly.

I'm not sure why, but the discomfort has been growing recently, and I am talking with my daughter less often.

I'm not sure how to proceed.

— Uncertain Mom

DEAR UNCERTAIN: You wisely know that you cannot control who your daughter chooses to have a relationship with.

I assume your discomfort comes from a very natural question you would (and should) have concerning her motivations.

Having a relationship with the woman she knows abused you is one thing. Describing this relationship and going into detail about her kindness toward her grandmother is another.

There is something about the reporting of this contact that makes it seem like a hostile gesture toward you, and you should ask yourself — and her — why.

Rather than talk to your daughter less, you should talk to her more.

The next time she brings this up, you could say, "I'm just wondering why you're telling me this."

A therapist would help you to continue to process what happened to you then and what's happening now.

DEAR AMY: A very old friend (of 45 years) has invited me to his daughter's wedding.

His family and my partner and I have not socialized since 1997, though we were very close for many years before that.

I haven't seen the daughter since she was in middle school, though my friend and I recently spent a week in Mexico fishing; we've done this a few times over the last five years.

His wife, I think, does not like me or my partner. That's fine -- I don't care for her very much, either.

But is it right for them to invite us to this wedding?

My partner thinks we should go. I don't.

Isn't a wedding the celebration of two people — or is it a party to invite all the family's friends?

If we do go, what do we wear to a wedding requesting "garden wedding attire"?

— Not the Best Man

DEAR NOT: You seem put out that this family has included you and your partner in a very important family event.

Weddings are a great way to gather new and old friends and family — and to celebrate a newly wedded relationship by celebrating other important relationships.

Attend this wedding only if you can find a way to appreciate the occasion. It is not about you and your alliances. It is about this other family.

You should wear white linen trousers, a blue and white striped shirt, a navy blue or tan blazer and a lovely tie. Straw hat optional.

DEAR AMY: When I go on a trip, I always bring back a souvenir for my best friend.

I go on more trips than she does, but when she does go away, she doesn't bring me anything.

I don't expect much from her, and she always seems to have enough money.

We are both about to go on big vacations soon, and I have a feeling she won't get me anything.

Am I asking too much from a friend or am I wasting my time even thinking about it?

— Vacation Souvenir

DEAR VACATION: You are asking too much.

You are also wasting your time thinking about it.

If you give your friend a memento from your travels, then that's thoughtful and generous. But that doesn't mean she must do the same.

Send questions to askamy@tribune.com

Filed under: Lifestyles

3 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 6/24/09 at 6:05

"You should wear white linen trousers, a blue and white striped shirt, a navy blue or tan blazer and a lovely tie. Straw hat optional"

Who decides these absurd rules?

By: Flealips on 6/24/09 at 7:37

Lynn Durham
Wear whatever you want to wear...
There is always a mixture of outfits at weddings..no matter what the dress code may be...
Just be comfortable but don't wear shorts or flip flops...but the most important thing to wear to this event is a great big SMILE or don't go!

By: songwriter on 6/24/09 at 5:08

Kosh III,

Are you any relation to John Kosh, the album art Grammy winner?

Pat & Pete Luboff
http://www.writesongs.com