Amy April 1, 2014

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#1 Apr 1, 2014
Dear Amy: My youngest child is in her 40s. She is kind-hearted, a giver and allows others to take advantage of her. I applaud her attitude of wanting to be helpful, but I know she often resents the person who accepts her help because she'll text me about it in a way that lets me know she's not happy. I've told her (apologies to Eleanor Roosevelt) that nobody can take advantage of her without her consent, and have encouraged her to say no if she really feels put upon or overextended.

If I react too strongly I risk alienating her (she seems to have no problem bristling at me). Her husband is also bothered by this tendency of hers but seems equally powerless to effect any change.

What also troubles me is the potential adverse effect of her behavior on my 3-year-old grandson, an only child.

She seems to want to be liked, and has many friends, but can't seem to bring herself to refuse someone a favor when asked. Do you have any suggestions?— Frustrated Father

Dear Father: Your daughter is a grown woman. You (and her husband) have already tried to urge her toward change by giving her advice and pointing out the obvious.

You sound like good guys who care about her. She vents to you but then discounts your sound, logical and 100 percent correct advice.

I am going to suggest something that might be very challenging for you: It's time to back away from this problem.

The next time you get a text where she complains about being taken advantage of, you should respond by saying, "Bummer. This sounds tough!" If she further engages you by complaining about being taken advantage of, you simply say, "I'm sorry you're unhappy, honey. I wish you weren't so hard on yourself."

Your daughter already knows how to change this dynamic. Her life will be easier and more joyful if she has some positive energy left over for herself and her family. Being more careful about her commitments will also make her feel better about those times when she does choose to step forward for a friend.

If she doesn't manage to do this, her son will grow up with a mother whose generosity is always tempered by an undercurrent of dissatisfaction.

Dear Amy: After a couple of years of searching, I finally found a hairdresser who understands what I want. He gave me the greatest haircut.

However, I noticed that his tools (combs, brushes, hand mirror) were (far) less than clean. When I got home, I found many dark hair clippings on my face. I am a blonde.

How can I bring this up with him without offending? I'd really like for him to do my hair, but yuck! What should I say?— Bothered

Dear Bothered: The fact that you want to spare this man's feelings rather than run screaming into the street (or post a negative review on Yelp) says what a nice, lovely and (possibly pathologically) passive person you are.

When someone is in business, he simply has to find a way to provide the kind of service that will keep clients coming back, and lead to positive referrals.

Because you are so nice, you need to think of your comments as helpful — and they will be helpful.

Leave a message at the salon and ask him to call you back.

You say, "James, I want you to know that I absolutely love my haircut. You are a dream machine. I'd like to share one serious concern, however...."

How he responds to this reasonable feedback will tell you a lot about him.

If this continues to be a problem for your next visit, you will have to find another skilled cutter. This lack of basic hygiene is unacceptable.

Dear Amy: I've contemplated writing to you for advice on a family situation. But your recent suggestion that a meddlesome reader ask herself, "What does this really have to do with me?" is a good starting point for my solution.

So thank you!— An Unintentional Meddler

Dear Meddler: That's the whole idea. Thank you.

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#2 Apr 1, 2014
1 YUP not you're problem

2 Absolutely positively gross.

3 The rehash that wasnt.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Melrose Park, IL

#3 Apr 1, 2014
1- You raised a daughter without a spine, but anyway it's her and her husband's problem

2- Gross, and isn't that some kind of health code violation?

3- No rehash? Perhaps L1 should take your advice

Since: Mar 09

Hollywood, FL

#4 Apr 1, 2014

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#5 Apr 1, 2014
LW1: Instead of trying to get her to say no, you need to say no to her b!tching and whining.

LW2: Won't saying thing until they get lice.

LW3: I feel cheated.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#6 Apr 1, 2014
LW1: Sounds like you and her husband have tried to talk to her. So, I would drop the issue. It's really her problem, not yours.

From now one when she texts or calls to vent, I’d say, I really don’t want to listen to you vent … I’ve told you before that you need to learn to say no and you don’t listen.

LW2: Find a new barber or say something to him.


“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#7 Apr 1, 2014
L1: Take Amy's advice. Your daughter is playing the martyr card. Stop making it work for her.

L2: Eww!

“An Apple a day”

Since: Jun 08

nil carborundum illegitemi

#8 Apr 1, 2014
1. You're the one who raised her.

2. Gross.

Hancock, NY

#9 Apr 1, 2014
1: I agree with all the above comments on this one. I'd like to add one thing though. I wonder whether the woman might also have something of a self-esteem issue. She seems to think the only way people will like her is if she lays down and lets them walk all over her. She has put herself into this situation; people think she will be happy to help them out whenever they ask. What she needs is therapy to find out why she allows this and to make her realize she doesn't need to be this way. For those who say this isn't the lw's problem, I can see why she's involved. Her daughter makes her involved by complaining to her. Oh, no. I don't mean to say the lw needs to help her daughter; only that the daughter brings her into it. She can't help feeling an emotional involvement. But she needs to learn how to tell her daughter to get some professional help in saying no to people and that she doesn't want to hear these complaints again because all that happens is that she gets stressed out. I've been in that situation and never had the gumption to tell the complainer to stop telling me about things I had no control over and did not have anything to do with me. I wish I had. I bet the daughter tells her mom that she's the only one she can talk and "vent" to. It probably makes the lw feel that she HAS to listen. I can only advise her to stop listening. In a way, she's enabling her daughter to continue her self-destructive behavior.

2: What Amy said.

3: Boring.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#10 Apr 1, 2014
Pippa wrote:
1: I've been in that situation and never had the gumption to tell the complainer to stop telling me about things I had no control over and did not have anything to do with me.
I have too, and I have told folks if they don't wish to follow my or anyone's advice then I fail to see the need to discuss the issue.

It's one thing to come to friends and family looking for advice when you are facing troubles, but it's another to refuse to follow anyone's advice and expect folks to just basically listen to you whine on and on about something that is completely within your ability to change. I just don't have the patience for the latter, and I don't like to spend my time listening to folks whine just for the sake of whining.

Marina, CA

#11 Apr 1, 2014
LW1: The first problem is that she allows others to take advantage of her and then whines about it. The second problem is that she whines to her father and husband, and men tend (generally) to be fixers rather than listener-sympathizers. LW is a fixer. So I agree with Amy. What LW needs to do is prepare some responses that acknowledge that the daughter was heard without giving any advice. "Oh really? Uh-huh. That's unfortunate. Wow, that was rude." Etc.

LW2: My mother was a hairdresser and I used to help her clean up on Saturdays when I was growing up. Standard procedure was to NEVER use the same comb or brush on more than one customer! At the end of the day, all of the combs and brushes were soaked and then washed in a sterile solution. What LW is describing has got to be a health code violation! And LW should definitely tell him about it. Gross.

LW3: Yup!
boundary painter

Waco, TX

#12 Apr 1, 2014
LW2 spoke up to that hairdresser when:
(a) she got head lice
(b) she found a hair dresser that kept the equipment much cleaner
(c) other

Chicago, IL

#13 Apr 1, 2014
LW1: Your daughter gets off on helping people. She gets off *even more*
by biching and moaning about it. She doesn't want your help--she just wants to be a whining martyr.

You can't do a thing about it. Let her whine and moan to her heart's contents, or just tell her to STFU.

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