I'm OK, You're My Parents

How to Overcome Guilt, Let Go of Anger, and Create a Relationship That Works

Dale Atkins, Ph.D.

Henry Holt and Co.

From I’m OK, You’re My Parents:
“I’d kill him,” said Luanne, “but that would nullify the will, right?” I told her it was a good sign that she was still able to joke about the situation. At least that meant she hadn’t given up entirely. Her husband, Kurt, though, sat stone-faced.

Luanne was talking about her father, a well-known lawyer. The problem was that he was using his money to manipulate them, and he was doing his usual crackerjack job. Kurt was
struggling in his advertising career and Luanne’s father seemed to be making the most of that.

“He’s fantastically rich and he dangles her inheritance in front of us all the time,” Kurt
sputtered. “Whenever he thinks we aren’t seeing him enough or giving him enough time with the grandchildren or when he feels we haven’t been sufficiently reverential, he drops little hints about adjusting his will. I try not to react, but I feel so humiliated I can’t sleep.”

What they didn’t say until I coaxed it out of them was that they already regularly took money from her father, always let him pick up the tabs at their frequent dinners together (he always chose the place, naturally), and allowed him weekly toy-shopping sprees with the twins. Strange, isn’t it, how money, which is supposed to buy freedom, so often winds up purchasing little more than slavery?