Dear Abby: I’m a 16-year-old girl who accidentally left my diary on the counter and my mother read it. When she told me, I was disappointed and hurt. To me, a diary is a place I can escape to and feel comfortable just being me. She now knows I struggle with depression and have done things I’m not proud of. I was angry and expected an apology because it was a violation of my privacy.
She claims she had the right to read it because I left it on the counter, and if I didn’t want her to see it, I shouldn’t have left it there. Regardless of where my diary was, I don’t feel she had the right to go through it because it’s not hers.
I told her I want an apology and I am willing to rebuild that trust. My mom said there is no reason to rebuild it or to apologize, and she did nothing wrong. Am I wrong for wanting an apology and a better explanation for why she did it?
Dear Disappointed Daughter: Your mother read your diary because it was out in the open and she was curious. Does she owe you an apology? Perhaps. However, if her level of communication with you is so poor that you live under the same roof and she hasn’t noticed your struggle with depression — whether situational or chronic — and offered to help you find help for it, then what happened may have been a blessing. What you need with her is a closer relationship, not a combative one. Her job as a parent is to help you, and that includes teaching you to make the right choices.
Dear Abby: A bridal tea is being held for my niece soon. The invitation says, “Hats and dresses, please.” I was also told verbally by the mother of the bride (my sister) that they want everyone attending to wear hats. I told her I’m very uncomfortable wearing a hat, but would put flowers in my hair to “jazz it up” a bit.
Last night, my brother-in-law called asking what I was wearing to the tea. My first reaction was that he was joking — so I asked if he thought that it was even worth a conversation. He said if I don’t wear a dress and hat, to not bother coming. I was so shocked that I said OK and hung up.
I am very sad that I would not be welcomed without the hat — something so superficial. If appearances are more important than having me there, then I really don’t want to attend. I would, however, send a note and gift and also attend the regular shower being planned if invited. I don’t want to alienate the family.
How do you think I should handle this? I am lost for words — although you wouldn’t know it by my rambling on. Thanks for your advice.
Dear Rambling Auntie: Obviously, your sister and her daughter are more concerned with the fantasy of how things will look at this tea than the feelings of those who will attend. People like that are easily offended/alienated and carry grudges.
Because you don’t want to cause a rift, buy a cheap hat and go to the tea. While sending a note and gift in lieu of attending is more than what most people would do under the circumstances — and I don’t blame you for considering it — to keep peace in the family, put in an appearance.
P.S. With relatives like this, you have my sympathy.
Dear Abby: My husband thinks I’m addicted to your column. What should I do?
“AB”dicted to You
Dear “AB”dicted: While I wouldn’t ordinarily encourage any kind of addiction, I’m making an exception in your case. Continue reading my column and encourage your husband to read occasional letters until he becomes “Ab”-co-dependent. When it comes to enlarging my readership, the more the merrier!
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.