Dear Ann Cannon • I recently heard from a family member that my mother dislikes, for some reason unknown to me, my wonderful son-in-law. Apparently, she has said that she has never liked him and that my daughter should have never married him. I am trying to chalk this up to the ravages of aging, but it has really hurt my feelings and would devastate my family if my daughter and son-in-law ever heard of it. This young man is a wonderful husband and father — smart, positive and a good provider, and he has been a good friend to me. I just don’t understand it. How should I move forward? Do you recommend that I talk to my mother about it?
— My Son-in-Law’s Fan
Dear Fan • Oh, wow. This is hard. I completely understand why your feelings are hurt. Mine would be, too. I’m sorry your mother has chosen to respond to her grandson-in-law this way.
So how should you “move forward”? I could be really wrong-headed here, but I’m not sure I’d talk to my mother about this if I were you, especially if she’s losing her filter. Doing so might actually cause her to double down and say even more hurtful things — to you AND to your kids. Ask yourself if that’s a risk you’re willing to take.
On the other hand, NOT confronting your mother might irreparably harm your relationship with her, especially if your feelings start to fester. If you do talk to her, be both kind and honest. Tell her what you’ve told us here — that you think your son-in-law is a good man and that she has, in fact, hurt your feelings. You never know. Contrary to what I just said, she might surprise you and apologize, although I wouldn’t have the conversation with her expecting that outcome.
If word does get back to your daughter and son-in-law, tell them that you obviously disagree with your mother. Shower them with love. Then give them the space to decide how they’ll deal with her from here on out.
Meanwhile, some of you disagreed with my advice to the letter writer who doesn’t like any of the presidential candidates. Typical responses follow:
Dear Ann Cannon • I disagree with you telling Concerned Citizen to feel free to sit this one out. A concerned citizen, in this first-world country with free elections, should take the time and research what the candidates stand for, how they speak and their policies. Research what those policies will make this country look like. No candidate is perfect. A concerned citizen would and should know what their vision of the country is and VOTE accordingly.
Dear Ann Cannon • I agree that Concerned Citizen can withhold a vote for president if neither candidate is a preferred choice. But don’t overlook all of the down-ballot races. There are many other things on the ballot other than just the president.
Many of you felt like I didn’t go far enough in advising the woman whose church leader was questioning her decision not to take a calling in her ward. This was a particularly useful response:
This individual is a bully, and all the tactics to deal with bullies are valuable, including talking to those priesthood leaders above him. He is certainly bullying others about the same or other things — anyone he perceives as less powerful than him, probably including children. He needs to be stopped and hopefully helped to change.
I so appreciate your questions, and your responses often help me to see a larger picture. Thank you and stay well out there!