Dear Abby: Ever since high school, our adult daughter has had mood swings. My wife and I thought she'd grow out of it as she matured, but she hasn't. At her request we sent her to a university far away, and we were proud that she earned her bachelor's degree. We thought independent living would do the trick, but her personality and behavior toward us didn't change.
She's an only child, and we spoiled her -- bought her cars and paid for college. I asked her to try for scholarships to help us out, but she didn't. She married and had two wonderful kids, but her mood swings persist. When I mentioned she see a counselor or therapist as a way to get some third-party advice and sort things out, she hit the ceiling and told me I was the one who needs therapy. Then she brought up my flaws and my past drinking problem. Granted, I have made mistakes, and I'm not perfect, but I've learned and grown.
After 10 years she divorced her husband. She got custody of the kids and the house. Her divorce cost us a great deal of money. Her authoritative and moody behavior is affecting our grandchildren.
I love my daughter very much and always have. If you were in my shoes, Abby, what would you do for a more healthy and loving relationship for all involved?
-- Still Her Dad in Florida
Dear Dad: I would look back and examine all the things I did to foster her behavior. An example would be paying for her divorce. Then I would stop doing them and not resume until she agreed to consult a psychotherapist about her mood swings. Don't do it for her or for yourself. Do it for the sake of your grandchildren.
Dear Abby: Before I met my boyfriend of eight months, I planned a 10-day Japan vacation for next year with my best guy friend, "J." We have been friends for eight years, and have never had any romantic interest in each other. Both of us want to visit Japan because it's on our bucket list.
J and I were both single when we started making plans. Then I met my boyfriend. My boyfriend knew from the beginning that this trip was going to happen next year. Because the date wasn't "set in stone" or paid for until recently, my boyfriend thinks I should have called it off. He says I'm making the trip and my friend a higher priority than him, and his feelings are hurt. He said if I was going with a female friend he wouldn't care.
I still want to take the trip. I feel canceling would be betraying my friend J. Am I being a bad girlfriend?
-- Tripped Up In the East
Dear Tripped Up: A "bad" girlfriend? No. An independent one, yes. You say your boyfriend has known about this from the beginning, so this wasn't a surprise to him. If he was more secure about himself and your relationship, he would know that J isn't a threat. Not only should you take the trip, you should also use the time away to decide if you want a life partner as insecure as your boyfriend appears to be.
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Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)