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Reclusive niece may need help

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Updated: May 29, 2014 5:05PM



Dear Abby: Our niece “Bonnie” has severe attachment problems. She still lives in her parents’ home and is well into her 50s. Her father passed away several years ago, and her mother seems to be her only friend.

Bonnie has never had a serious relationship and has spent her life at one job and with her parents. Vacations and holidays have been spent with them only. Bonnie rarely accepts an invitation unless her mom is invited, does not communicate unless we reach out to her first and is very private about the smallest details in her life.

Her mother is aging and we are wondering how Bonnie will manage once her mom is gone. How do we approach someone who seriously needs help and guidance?

— Caring Aunt in Pittsburgh

Dear Caring Aunt: I can think of two ways. The first would be to discuss this privately with Bonnie’s mother and ask if there is anything she would like you to do for her daughter in the event of a serious illness or her death. It is a legitimate question if Bonnie is unable to live independently, and her mother might appreciate that you cared enough to ask.

The second would be to reach out to Bonnie in the event that something does happen to her mother, and let her know that you love her and will be there for her if she needs you. Keep in mind that you cannot force help on anyone who is unwilling to accept it.

Dear Abby: I’m 11 and in the sixth grade. I am very self-conscious. Every girl in my grade has a bigger chest than me, and I am feeling insecure because mine isn’t developed.

I know I am young, but I want to fit in. Every day I feel horrible about myself. Can you help?

— Insecure 6th-grader

Dear Insecure: I’ll try. No two people are alike, and our bodies do not develop at the same time. For some girls, it happens sooner and they begin to develop breasts as early as age 9. For others, it doesn’t happen until they are in their teens.

Your value should not be measured by your chest size. Believe me, the size of your IQ is far more important. The kind of person you are is more important.

Big chests have a way of falling sooner or later. So work on your grades and your personality right now. If you do, in time you’ll not only catch up to these girls, you will surpass them in the qualities that matter most. You’re fine just the way you are.

Dear Abby: When spending thousands of dollars to attend a destination wedding, are you expected to give a gift to the bride and groom?

— Jennifer in New York

Dear Jennifer: Yes, but after shelling out “thousands” to attend a wedding, it does not have to be an expensive one. A token gift to mark the occasion would be enough.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.



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