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Dear Annie

Struggling with son who uses her for money

Annie Lane, syndicated columnist

Dear Annie: I left an extremely abusive marriage almost 30 years ago. The physical, verbal and mental abuse was so bad that I had to escape from the house one day when my husband was not home. I had a son with him that I had to leave behind. My son was 5 years old at the time. He would not have let me have him, so I made the decision, with the help of a family member, to leave with just the clothes I was wearing.

Fast forward to the present, I recovered from that horrible episode in my life, completed my education and got a great job. I divorced him a year later.

All these years, I had no contact with my son because I was too scared of my ex. I met and married a wonderful man, and we have no kids by choice. A year ago, my son reached out and wished to reconnect with me. I was really happy, but soon, he started asking for money. He has a good job, but he lives beyond his means. Since I only work part time, I don’t have enough money. He keeps sending me texts about how urgently he needs a certain amount. Once I pay him, he stops talking. He contacts me only when he needs more money.

It’s draining me emotionally and financially. I am 56 and suffer from severe asthma. I really need some advice here. My husband says my son is exploiting me emotionally and that I should stop sending him money once and for all. Any advice would be appreciated.– Emotional Blackmail

Dear Blackmail: First, I want to commend you for your courage and strength in escaping your abusive marriage and rebuilding your life. Your journey is inspiring, and you deserve peace and happiness.

While it’s natural to want to help your son, it’s important to recognize his behavior for what it is. He is taking advantage of your generosity, using your relationship as leverage for financial support. Your husband is right: This pattern of emotional and financial exploitation is harmful and unfair to you.

Setting boundaries is crucial. Let your son know that you love him and want to maintain a relationship, but you can no longer give him money because your own finances and health require you to be careful with your resources.

You’ve worked hard to get where you are, and it’s important to protect that. If he reacts negatively, understand that it’s not a reflection of your worth or love as a mother. You’ve done the best you can under very difficult circumstances..

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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