His toxic mother won't leave him alone

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Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: When I was a freshman in high school, I decided that I no longer wanted to have any relationship with my mother. I could articulate each reason, but you don't have enough space. For the past 15 years I've had to hear how wrong I am from each of my siblings (I'm the youngest). Most of this pressure has died away, as I do not mention or say anything regarding my mother, nor do I respond to anything brought up about her. They let me live my life. At family functions, I keep my distance, and she does not try to talk to me. A couple of years ago, one of my siblings decided to give her my contact information. She has been sending me cards and letters. She will call me from a blocked number. Needless to say, I am annoyed with whoever gave her my information and more annoyed with her attempts to reach out to me. I don't read the letters, and I don't return the calls. I want all attempts at communication from her to stop. Is telling her directly (again) the only way to achieve this?

-- Besieged

DEAR BESIEGED: Let's stipulate that any contact with your mother would be a very bad thing for you (I'm in no position to judge).

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If you don't want any contact, then you must maintain radio silence on your end. Responding or asking her to stop will merely cause her to rub her hands together and say, "Aha! I'm in." Your siblings should not betray your confidence, but people like to try to fix broken things. You have to consider, also, that they might be under a lot of pressure from the very same woman you are working so hard to avoid.

Please take care of yourself. Make sure you are making the right choices by exploring your own motivations and behaviors and by behaving ethically. If you are certain that you are doing the right thing by keeping your distance from this toxic parent, then keep doing it. Therapy would help you continue to navigate your way through this mess.

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