I am a 71-year-old woman living with my 49-year-old single daughter in her house. She works during the day and I stay at home. She expects me to clean the house, walk the dog, work in the garden, do the laundry, make dinner, etc. I am willing to help with these things, but she doesn’t seem to appreciate what I do, as is often demonstrated by her comments concerning the amount of noise I make when I eat, my bedroom not being clean enough and my activity level. She says she’s doing this “for my own good,” and that I am lazy and unmotivated to do anything but play on my computer (she unplugged the internet because she thought I spent too much time on it). She claims she loves me and wants me to live with her, but I feel I should move out before this gets physical. What should I do?
From Jefferson City, Missouri
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It is very unfortunate the way your daughter is currently treating you. If you already tried to respectfully convey your feelings to her and nothing changed, then I encourage you to immediately launch a ruthless counterattack. Here are some options you may want to entertain. As a parent, you no doubt have some dirt on her from her birth to now. Threaten to share some of it with her co-workers, especially the most embarrassing moments of her life. And if you you can’t think of any, make up some. Try to become friends with a neighborhood bully, and encourage him or her to slap your daughter around every time you feel she’s getting out of line, and even if she hasn’t. Or, you could pay someone to rough you up, accuse your daughter of elderly abuse and have her tossed in to jail after you tearfully testify against her in court. But the simplest thing to do if you’re that unhappy, is for you to just leave. And to cover your moving expenses, run an ad on Craigslist, and sell everything in your daughter’s house while she’s at work for some ridiculously low prices. Keep in mind, I am not encouraging you to keep any of her possessions for yourself, because obviously, that would be stealing. I hope this helps.