DEAR ABBY:

When I was an adolescent, my father molested me. It took me 20 years to finally confide this secret to my mother. Afterward it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.

That feeling lasted about two minutes. That's how long it took for her to get on the phone and spread the news to everyone she could think of. This was two years ago and, after repeatedly asking her to stop, she continues to tell.

Two days ago, I caught her spilling the beans to an acquaintance she hadn't spoken to in more than a decade. We got into a heated argument, and she told me she will say what she wants, whenever she wants, to whomever she wants. My feelings are NOT considered, even though I was the victim in all of this. I feel she tells my story to gain sympathy for herself.

Abby, I'm ready to end my relationship with my mother. How can I make her stop flapping her lips?

- The Gossip's Daughter

DEAR DAUGHTER: I suspect you are correct about your mother's motives, and you have my sympathy. Because you can't "make her stop flapping her lips," you will have to accept that she can't be trusted with any confidential information. As I see it, you have two choices. The first would be to cut her out of your life (for which I wouldn't blame you), and the other is to avoid sharing ANY personal information with her in the future.

DEAR ABBY: One of my neighbors insisted on giving me some handcrafted Christmas decorations that are hideous. I have never been big on decorating the outside of my home, but when I do, I have my own that I like much better.

I know she expects me to display her items and will be all bent out of shape when she sees I haven't. Is there a diplomatic way to avoid hurt feelings?

- Florida Reader

DEAR READER: Not really. So hang one or two of them in an inconspicuous place when you decorate for the holidays, so they will be "lost" among the items you prefer to display, or refrain from decorating this year.