Dear Blake,

Is there a sensitive and appropriate way to suggest to my mother that she would benefit from therapy? Our family has suffered from generational abuse. After years of therapy, I’ve been able to stop that cycle, and my children have grown up in a loving, non-abusive household.

However, my mother holds on to unhealthy behaviors. She can be quite mean to family, and it makes me not want to be around her. My kids aren’t close to her because I limit their exposure to her.

I’d love to have a healthy relationship with my mother, but I know it isn’t possible until she gets some help. Is there a way to tell her I think she’d be happier and healthier and we’d have a better relationship if she went to therapy? Or must I just accept that this is my mother and leave it be?

Signed, Alexandria
From Trenton, New Jersey

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Dear Alexandria,

It’s always a good idea to have a healthy relationship with your mother. But in this case, I think you should play hardball with that old bat! Here are some suggestions. Tell her if she has medical coverage, you’ll try schedule her a lobotomy, and you promise to pay all of the out of pocket expenses for pharmacy prescriptions. Maybe your mother will consider getting some help if you told her that you gave a detailed profile of her personality to a friend of yours that works for the FBI, and he concluded that your mother’s personality traits are consistent with those of serial killers and international terrorists. Or this idea. Tell her that your young kids need some extremely compelling evidence that she cannot fly on a broom and cast spells, because so far you have not been able to persuade them otherwise. And lastly, as a resort, try the church route. Tell her it’s obvious due to her mean spirit she’s going to hell, so you’d like spend some quality time with her before she is perpetually roasted. I hope this helps.