Heather asks :

Hi Lucy,


My Aunt is 68 and lonely. She has asked me to visit and now wants my son to go but so far I have made excuses. She has no one, no friends so I feel guilty. She has a few mental health issues. I had a breakdown at 13, I was bullied at school and she helped them, making fun of me and my confidence hit rock bottom. She lost me jobs, I sang in bars and she would find out and come in calling me names and screaming. Yet I had to keep seeing her as she needed me. She ruined my wedding, cursing at the Church. Still I forgave her. She hurt me over and over, my lovely Cat was killed on the road, she came to my house and made me feel worst saying I was a bad owner. My dog died of cancer and she took offense at a small thing I said and started to say how glad she was. She has locked me in her flat and locked the door. She can be violent, hitting my family with hammers and cups. The last straw came when my son was 18 and over some minor row she sent him no birthday card only a note making fun of him and saying awful things. I saw his confidence going like mine. Now she pretends to be nice but says to him you are a mother’s boy, do not go home on breaks from college. So I have cut her off but feel so bad. My mum her sister rarely will see her. She will not get help.

Hi Heather,

Agony Aunts on Female First

Agony Aunts on Female First

It sounds like you have given this woman a lot of chances in the past that have not resulted in the way you wanted them to. It seems that she has been a constant drain or threat for you and your family though her actions and her words.

Perhaps if your son is 18 (or older now?)- you can leave the decision to see her up to him? If you feel obliged to see her because of him, then maybe that is not an obligation you need have any longer.

If your mum rarely sees her- could you offer to go with her and visit together? How is their relationship? Perhaps she may act differently around your mother? Maybe by getting in touch she is ready to apologise for what she has said and done? Perhaps she has realised that her behaviour has separated her from her family and wants to make amends? Is her invitation out of the blue?

On the other hand it may open old wounds for you if you return. To cut someone off can feel like an extreme move, however sometimes you need to do it for your own mental wellbeing and to enable you to move on.

Whatever you decide try to remember that there is nothing wrong putting yourself and your family first to avoid negativity. If you want to suggest some help for her- maybe you could write her a letter detailing those places she could go to for help her with her mental health issues if she won't turn to friends for help. That way you can also keep your distance. 

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