DEAR ABBY: My mother is my best friend, but I can't stop yelling at her for invading my privacy. I have just learned that she has read all my journals since I was 9. She also figured out all my passwords to my e-mail, online blogs and social network accounts. I have lived away from home for six years. I no longer feel I can leave my mother alone in my apartment because she goes through my text messages, call list, letters, bills, bank statements, etc. I have now stopped writing, which was my only outlet of expression, because of her snooping. She says I hurt her feelings when I yell, but I have reached the end of my rope.
I have had calm conversations with her about this. She always promises that she'll stop, but she never does. Abby, she has no reason to snoop — I talk to her 20 times a day. How can I keep this from ruining our relationship?
— MAD IN MANHATTAN
DEAR MAD: You say you talk to your mother 20 times a day? Doesn't that seem to you to be somewhat excessive? You say she snoops when she's alone in your apartment. How is she gaining unsupervised entry? Speaking as an unbiased outsider, I think some separation from your mother would be healthy for both of you. So change your passwords, put your financial information under lock and key, and cut the umbilical cord. It's long overdue.
DEAR ABBY: I have a male friend who was raised with beautiful manners and always opens a door for a lady. The last time we spoke, he told me he had opened a door for a woman and she told him off! She said she didn't need any "help," that she was capable of opening her own doors, and it should have been obvious that she wasn't disabled — among other things.
My friend didn't know what to say. I told him to just ignore what she said. Was there a polite comeback for him?
— STUMPED FOR AN ANSWER
DEAR STUMPED: No, not unless he wanted to get into a spitting contest with a viper. You say your friend was raised to open doors for ladies. Well, it appears he opened a door for a woman who wasn't one. Please tell him not to give up because anyone with manners would have said thank you and appreciated the gesture. I know I would have.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 27 years and are raising four children. During a recent visit to my in-laws, I noticed a picture hanging on their wall that we had used as our engagement photo. Abby, the picture had been altered. My portion was cut out! I was shocked and would like to know your thoughts. Should I say something about it, or ignore this obvious slight and move on?
— APPARENT OUT-LAW IN HOUSTON
DEAR OUT-LAW: You say you have been married to their son for 27 years and this the first time you've noticed it? If so, ignore it. However, if the alteration is recent, and you suspect there may be fences that need mending, the next time you pay them a visit, walk over to the picture, say: "Oh, that's our engagement picture. But something seems to be missing. Why ... it's ME. Should I take this as a message?" Then be quiet and listen.
Write www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.