Dear Abby: I'm an only child. My parents moved three miles from my husband and me after our first daughter was born. They were determined not to miss a minute of her life.
Mom's life has always been centered around Dad, my daughters and me. She has never approved of my husband because he didn't finish college and enlisted in the military, unlike Dad, who has two master's degrees and retired from the Navy as a lieutenant commander. She regards my husband as the "sperm donor," and that's about all the credit he gets.
Mom isn't happy about anything unless she's complaining. She resents that we spend part of Dad's birthday with my husband's family -- nevermind that it's the anniversary of his father's death. She has tried to discipline my daughters based on their grades, even though we have told her that her job is to "spoil them," and it's our job to discipline them.
My husband now refuses to set foot in my parents' home, and I dread the next event that will put them together in the same place. I have asked them to agree to disagree for my sake and my girls, but both feel "justified" in their feelings. I feel as though I must make a choice between the two. Please help.
-- Torn in Two
Dear Torn: Since you must make a choice, choose your husband. If you don't, you stand a good chance of being a divorced mother of two with overbearing parents judging every move you and your daughters make for the foreseeable future. Your parents owe you and your husband an apology for the way they have treated him, and frankly, you need to distance yourself from them until you are strong enough to establish some adult boundaries.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.