While I'm away, readers give the advice.
On not forgiving Mom for failing to leave an abuser
P.: There's a chance the mother had been told that if she left, he would kill her and/or her parents and take the kids where no one would find them. Battered women have seen the violence these men are capable of and feel the risk is higher in leaving than staying. It happened to my sister-in-law, and now her children resent her for not leaving sooner. She never told them about the threats because even though he was a monster, he was their father, and she didn't want them carrying that extra baggage. My sister-in-law gave up 25 years of her life to protect her kids until he finally left to be with his mistress. We thank God every day that he is her problem now.
M.: Has she considered that her mother didn't have the support or resources to leave? She also may have felt she had no proof of abuse to prevent their father from sharing custody. Abuse that she may have felt would escalate with a divorce. That would leave her children alone with the abuser without any protection whatsoever.
Maybe this mother actually gave up her own happiness to do what she felt she had to in order to protect her children from something worse.
C.: In one family I know, the eldest was self-centered, demanding, uncooperative and unhelpful for much of her teens. She remembers herself as a cooperative person, helpful and not argumentative. Almost 50 now, she complains sometimes to her mother about the mother's past shortcomings.
If people could recognize when their view of their parents' relationship is a child's viewpoint maintained into adulthood, it might allow them to see the past in a different light. Did Mom do without a new dress, etc., to get something for her girl? Also, will complaining to the mother change the past? Maybe the mother is longing for some expression of appreciation. Perhaps being loving to her mom would change the current atmosphere and the daughter could receive the validation she craves. I wonder how the daughter's children, if any, view her now — and how they will view her when they are adults. Food for thought.
On women who 'grossly' out-earn male partners
Happy in Dallas: My husband was a junior high school teacher, and I "grossly" out-earned him. I understood that he was shaping minds, and the importance of his job far outweighed that of mine, which was in sales. However, it didn't matter to either of us how much money the other one made or what we did earning it — we were a team, and loved each other very much.
On mixing (art) business and friendship
W.: My instructor-mentor suggested that I not do any "commissioned" pieces for friends, but instead make pieces I feel like creating and let friends choose some I could part with. Taking orders from friends often ends up with a friend disappointed in the result and you frustrated at spending your time in production mode, not your creativity zone.
My friends were still thrilled to have original art from the hands of a friend while I was able to make art that interested me and pleased others.