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DEAR ABBY: Grandma's annoying behaviour sets up family confrontation

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DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law is an attention-seeker. She’s very loud and talks in a baby voice so that everyone looks at her. She made my wedding shower and, years later, my baby shower all about her and the gifts she gave. Not only did it take the spotlight from my husband and me, but it made other family members’ gifts or contributions seem inadequate. She always has to give the biggest and best (while letting everyone know) and distract from other people’s special moments.

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My daughter is being married in a year and a half. She has already told me she doesn’t want Grandma “Dorothy” to come dress shopping because she doesn’t want to be embarrassed, but she does want my mom and her fiance’s mom and grandmother to be there. I have told her that she has to invite Grandma Dorothy.

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I do love my mother-in-law, and I want her to come to all of the festivities. The problem is she gets irrationally mad if you ask her to modify her behaviour in any way. My question is, how do I ask her to reel it in without offending her or making her mad? My husband’s solution is to ignore his mother’s behaviour. — CRINGING IN MISSOURI

DEAR CRINGING: It’s time to step out of the way on this matter. You seem to have forgotten that this upcoming wedding is not your wedding, but your daughter’s. Her wishes about who should attend what should prevail. If she understands the ramifications of excluding Grandma Dorothy and is willing to forgo the lavish gifts and contributions her grandmother bestows, then that should be her privilege. Further, the person who conveys that message should be your daughter, not YOU.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been separated for six months due to verbal abuse, physical abuse (both of us) and financial dishonesty and abuse (him). We have worked to better ourselves, and the separation has helped us realize that we do love each other and are committed to changing our ways.

I was preparing to move back home, and I informed him that I am going to go on a trip before a required medical procedure. I will be spending the summer recovering from this procedure, and I want to do something fun before I’m laid up for the next several months. I plan to go with my brother, his wife and another sister-in-law. My husband feels it is disrespectful for me to go on this trip. He said that if I go, I should expect divorce papers. Thoughts? — BIG DECISION IN MONTANA

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DEAR BIG DECISION: If your husband feels your going on the trip is disrespectful to him BECAUSE HE WASN’T INVITED, go without him and make other arrangements for your recuperation. Someone who has worked successfully to better himself does not give ultimatums like the one he has given you. If you skip the trip, this is only the beginning of how he will threaten you in the future. Love him, if you will, but do NOT reunite with him.

— Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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