Dear Abby: I'm a 25-year-old woman with no future. I am the youngest of three daughters. My parents are divorced, and my sisters are both married. Mom has no income of her own, so it's mainly me.
I have come to realize that I'll never be able to have an apartment of my own or fully live my life because of her. She's controlling and always finds a way to make me feel guilty about going out or enjoying myself. I have never had a relationship because she has always found a way of sabotaging any relationship I'm in.
I think she's bipolar, but she doesn't believe in medication or that it's even real. I feel as if I'm being forced to take care of her, and when I finally have a chance to have a real life, it will be too late.
I have discussed this with my sisters, but they haven't helped. I'm very depressed and don't know what to do. If I bring this up with Mom, she gets angry and won't talk to me for days. Please help me find a way out.
-- Trapped in Chicago
Dear Trapped: Your umbilical cord was supposed to have been severed 25 years ago, at birth. You are an adult individual who deserves happiness and freedom from this attachment to your mother.
She may not believe in doctors and therapists -- and that's her privilege as long as she's not a danger to herself and others. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't talk with a mental health professional about this unhealthy situation.
Your sisters haven't helped you because they have their freedom and don't want to share the responsibility you have been carrying alone. And your mother doesn't want to let go of you because if she does, she'll have to assume responsibility for herself.
Please act now. Your escape hatch is the door to a therapist's office. You deserve a life, so go there and get one.
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, Calif. 90069.