Dear Abby: My mother has never liked her sister-in-law. Mom thinks "Auntie Beth" is "completely out to get her" even though no one has seen any evidence to support my mother's claims.
For the past several months, Mom has been complaining nonstop about how "awful" Beth is. She says things at the most random times to people she barely knows. If we don't show sympathy toward Mom, she then becomes enraged. It has caused many problems between our family and Auntie Beth's. We can't have holidays together because my aunt is not allowed in our house. No one wants to be involved in the drama or to participate in the terrible gossip.
How can I help my mother understand the harm she is causing and get our family back together?
-- Sick of the Drama
Dear Sick of the Drama: Your mother's behavior appears to have escalated from disliking Aunt Beth to obsessive and paranoid. If it is time for her annual physical, her doctor should be told about it because her behavior is not normal and she may need a neurological exam or counseling.
Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do about this, because if you try, she may think that you are "against" her, too. But the rest of the family can refuse to allow her to exclude Aunt Beth by not accepting invitations in which she is not included.
Pass it along
Dear Abby: I am curious to learn what your readers do when they receive a gift card for a place where they don't shop or eat. Some restaurants are located far from where I live, and some stores don't carry anything I need or want.
-- Grateful, But ... in Columbus, Ohio
Dear Grateful, But: I'm printing your letter, but I am sure most of my readers would do what I would do and that is re-gift it to someone who would appreciate it and use it.