DEAR DEIDRE: AFTER decades of emotional abuse, I’ve cut my mother out of my life, but now she is very ill in hospital and I’m not sure if I should visit.
She has put me down, called me ugly, sworn at me and tried to control me.
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Three years ago, when I was 35, I had finally had enough of her behaviour. She is now 68.
I decided not to see her or speak to her again.
Her response was to cut me out of her will.
I’ve been much happier since. But Dad – who is 70 years old, lovely and also her victim – called me last week in tears to say she had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
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He needs my support. I’m also worried I might not be able to live with the guilt and regret if I don’t see her.
However, I know that she will be abusive again and that’s not good for my mental health. What should I do?
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DEIDRE SAYS: While your mother doesn’t deserve your love, you’re a good person with a sense of duty.
Going to see her might be painful and difficult, but at least you’ll be there for your dad, and won’t have to live with the regret of deciding to stay away.
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If she is abusive, turn and walk away. Could you meet your dad on his own to show him you still love him?
Contact the charity Stand Alone, which helps people estranged from family. It can support you (standalone.org.uk).
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