Ask Amy: Needy friends quickly become trespassers

Dear Amy: My son has a friend, “Brett,” whose mother died some time ago.

Brett and his wife had to move off of his mother’s property.

Brett asked me if they could temporarily park their motor home in my driveway.

I told them that they could temporarily park it there.

Before long, my property became a junkyard, storage bin, and trash heap.

I told Brett and his wife that they had to clean up and gave them a month and a half because they had so much stuff.

The last day of the deadline, they decided to start cleaning up.

Eventually, they got rid of the three cars that were stored on my property.

There is still stuff everywhere.

They don’t pay rent, nor do they help out with anything else.

I wrote them a letter telling them that I wanted them to move, but yet here they still are.

I didn’t want to tell them that they are now trespassing, but they have taken advantage of my generosity and kindness.

Now they have hooked up to my electricity and don’t want to help with the expense. What are your thoughts?

— Upset

Dear Upset: You have written “Brett” and his wife a letter telling them that you want them to vacate your property. They decided to steal your electricity, instead.

At this point, you should contact your local sheriff or police department and ask for their advice and intervention.

You should write them another letter (better yet, have a lawyer do it) telling them the exact date when they “must” vacate your property. They are no longer welcome; they are trespassing, and they must go. Do this immediately.

You don’t mention your son’s reaction to this affront and aggression. He seems to have had a part in brokering this deal; if so, he should help you to intervene and be supportive of your efforts to clear them out.

Dear Amy: I’ve been with my husband for 18 years (married for two years). We have two children.

His mother has never been nice to me. She’s very passive-aggressive. She acts like I stole her son from her.

I used to brush it off, but it took a turn for the worst after our first baby was born. They’ve only visited twice (they live a distance away), but her behavior includes: requesting group pictures without me in them, saying that my cooking was “just okay,” and — the worst — I retrieved a voicemail she left (accidentally), calling me a “b**ch” for not answering the phone.

I had a horrible c-section and my baby was in the NICU.

She’s always raining on the happiest moments of my life, posting constantly on Facebook. She’ll post 30 memes a day that I believe are directed toward me.

My husband recently admitted that she hates me.

I know I would be happier if she wasn’t like this. My kids would have a happier mom if I didn’t have to put up with this.

I’ve taken Facebook breaks because of her, but it’s the only way I connect with my family, who also live far away.

My husband doesn’t want to get involved, and I don’t blame him.

We buy her gifts and call her, but it’s not enough.

She’s always looking for gifts, but never gives in return.

I really don’t like her negative energy and don’t know what to do about it.

Your advice, please?

— Tired of Being Bullied

Dear Tired: Your mother-in-law lives far away from you and doesn’t visit.

Aside from those times when you get in touch with her, your main contact with her seems to be through Facebook.

She sounds like a mean meme queen. You are also sensitized to and hyper-aware of her passive-aggression. Passive-aggression is hard to counter. Minimizing access will help.

“Unfriend,” block, or hide all of her postings on Facebook. This is easily done. Without this constant triggering, you should be able to catch a breath, stiffen your backbone, and advocate for yourself.

Because your husband will not enforce boundaries on your behalf, let him manage his own relationship with his mother. Your contact will be minimal.

Dear Amy: You trashed “Dumbfounded” because he did not approve of his brother sharing photos of Dumbfounded’s niece nursing her infant.

I completely agree with him. No one needs to see this woman using the toilet — breastfeeding should be equally private.

— Also Dumbfounded

Dear Also: As long as you equate a mother feeding her child to “using the toilet,” I’m going to disagree.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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