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Karma Cleanser

Loving mom from a distance is OK


Dear Karma Cleanser:

I have a somewhat estranged relationship with my mother. She is still my mother and I do the best I can to tolerate her negativity. One way I handle this is by never visiting her alone. I see her at family events or I plan lunches with her and my grandmother.

I have a wonderful relationship with my grandmother and other family members. Lately my mother has started calling me out on this pattern. She wants me to spend time with just her. I am scared to hurt her feelings, but spending time with her is very emotionally draining.

I have talked to my grandmother about it and she is very understanding. She says my mother has carried that negativity around with her since she was a teenager. Should I bite my tongue and spend more time with my mom? Am I destined to have children that hate me?

– Not So Loving Daughter

Not so loving? That's crazy talk: You obviously love your mother, or else you'd ditch her altogether. More importantly, you love yourself enough to stay away from situations that are hazardous to your emotional health, which is a wise and noble thing. We see plenty of love at play here, but a deficiency of honesty. Tell your mom that the meals with grandma are the most you can offer right now. She's going to be pissy no matter how much time you spend with her, so why invest more?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

Every time I try to do something nice for someone, it goes and backfires in my face.

My friend had to go out of town suddenly due to an emergency with her job. She asked if I could take care of her dog while she was away. I said that was fine, and the next day I rushed over to her apartment to let the dog out during my lunch hour. As I was parking, I heard a loud crunch outside of my car. I had rammed the wall of her parking garage! The repair is going to cost at least $150.

The next week, I was supposed to host a large family gathering for Christmas. I decided not to cook and instead have all the food provided by a restaurant. I spent about $200 on the meal, and the food was really well-received by my family. But that night I realized I had left my wallet at the restaurant. When I called, they said no one had turned it in. So my effort to make things easy and convenient ended up causing me a headache.

What's going on?

– Unlucky Libra

The universe is teaching you patience and perseverance, but you only see dollar signs. In both of the examples you cite, the "problem" occurred because of the hurry you were in to get the job done fast. Slow down and give your good karma time to catch up with you.

Been bad?

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