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Trying to escape Mom's voice of doom

DEAR AMY: I am having trouble communicating with my mom. I moved to California when I was 18 (my parents live in another state), and I started from the bottom and made a name for myself here. I work and usually attend school, but I decided to take a break this semester. I am working full-time and volunteering. When I informed my mom about my plan, she went crazy and told me how everyone knew I would fail and not finish my degree. She doesn't support my feelings or thoughts -- ever -- and always jumps to negative conclusions. I end up ignoring her, and that makes everything worse. Help! How can I calmly talk with my mom so she will hear my side of the story?

-- Sad

DEAR SAD: It's hard enough to be in charge of your life without being undermined by the voice of doom from home. It is strange how those who think the least of us seem to take up the most space.

Given the situation you describe, you were wise to put a lot of distance between you. The best way for you to be in touch -- and ensure that you calmly have your say -- is textual. You should email her or send a letter.

Keep your statements calm and respectful and focused on how her behavior affects you.

Understand that your mother may never evolve. Coping with your feelings, frustrations and disappointment in her will be a long-term challenge for you.

DEAR AMY: "Ann" said she was fired from her job for chronic lateness. Now she is wondering if she should disclose it in future job interviews. I'm never going to understand people who behave badly, know it, and are actually surprised that there are consequences. That this person would even ask this question shows she has learned nothing.

-- Disgusted

DEAR DISGUSTED: I thought this was a good question, and my recommendation was she not bring it up but be prepared to discuss it.

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