Dear Blake,

I desperately need to learn how to cope with caring for my mother, who is living with me. We get along most days, however she is very much a “Negative Nancy” on all topics, especially my life.

I have been divorced for more than 10 years, but she digs about my ex and his new wife as often as possible. I have asked her repeatedly to stop, but she flat-out refuses because “he left me in financial ruin.”

Yes, my ex is more financially stable today than when we were married, but I am neither desolate nor destitute. She makes me feel like no matter what I do for her it’s not enough. Please help salvage my emotional state.

Signed, Carolyn
From Rock Island, Illinois

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Dear Carolyn,

It’s unfortunate that your mother is very critical of your current financial state. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do that’ll shut that old bat up, other than putting some industrial strength duct tape across her beak. Here are some suggestions. The next time she whines about finances, give her a handful of job applications, and tell her she has 10 days to start contributing to the household, or she’ll be collecting cans to get enough money to buy a meal, after you “physically” evict her. Or as she continues her daily bellyaching, tell her you plan on supplementing your income. Then let her see you with some binoculars, monitoring the movement of your neighbors across the street to determine the best time to burglarize their home so you can later pawn their property. Or maybe this idea. Let her see you constantly doing google searches for harvesting organs, then start regularly asking her questions about the condition of her kidneys and lungs. Finally, this last suggestion might encourage her to immediately pack her bags and vacate your life. Tell her you have been secretly dating a very wealthy man that you plan to marry who lives in  New York City… and is also in the Mafia. Add that he wants her to live with you two after the wedding, but she has to take a test to see what her tolerance of pain is, just in case a rival crime family abducts her and attempts to extract important information, before giving her the same hospitality that was given to Jimmy Hoffa. I hope this helps.