It turns out that Reader's Digest is more than just the equivalent of comic strips Cathy and Family Circus smushed together. It also has Ask Laskas. For some reason, I feel as though that should have an exclamation mark. Ask Laskas!
Some of my coworkers have decided that I am a horrible mother because my 21-year-old daughter still lives with me while she finishes school. These busybodies have no children of their own but comment liberally that they would kick their kids out at 18, it's the best thing for them, blah, blah, blah. I would rather not discuss my personal business with these folks, but every day they ask me if she has moved out. How do I answer?
—Wish I'd Kept It to Myself
1) Are you sure THAT'S why they think you're a horrible mother? So many people assume they know their own flaws and that they're aware of why they repel people, but no amount of self-analysis can reveal the full extent of anyone's short-comings. Maybe you're just annoying.
2) I would like to congratulate you, because I sense that you are already on the path to becoming a catastrophizer. You state that your co-workers have decided you are a "horrible" mother. Have they told you this? I doubt it. You're assuming a couple of irritating criticisms mean a wholesale repudiation of your mothering. Bravo.
3) Maybe they're right. I'm not saying they are, just that it's a possibility. Why haven't you considered that possibility? Just because people are frigid and childless doesn't mean they can't know better than you when it comes to your own offspring. Are you nervous about what you might find if you started digging around in there? Don't be! Every new revelation of failure will help you catastrophize with more gusto.
4) Tell them she is forced to live with you because you gambled all her college rent money away on "the dogs." That will keep them busy talking to each other for a change.
Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HERE. I will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.
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