DEAR ABBY: I am in my 20s, married and seven months pregnant. My problem is my overbearing and manipulative mother. She guilt-trips me, uses social media to shame me and has tried to harm herself and blame me for it, saying I caused it because I’m a horrible daughter.

Now that I am expecting my first child, she’s trying to control everything. All the boundaries I set are being pushed and crossed. This is causing a lot of stress for me. What can I do to get free of my crazy, overbearing mother?!

— NEEDS FREEDOM IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR NEEDS FREEDOM: Recognize that as an adult, YOU are now in control. Stress isn’t good for you or your baby at a time like this. As a mother, your first responsibility will be to your little one.

If your mother has tried to harm herself in the past — regardless of her reasons for it — surely others are aware of it. Because she is toxic and unstable, you have every right to distance yourself from her drama. Draw the line. Accept that you can’t please everyone, and that includes your overbearing mother.

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DEAR ABBY: My brother-in-law has been living with my husband and me for three years. We have been helping him out for about 11 of our 15 years of marriage. I don’t want him here anymore. My husband tells me that I need to be patient. I think I have been patient long enough.

My cousin said to give his brother an ultimatum, but he has a temper, and he doesn’t have normal arguments. He doesn’t hit, but he automatically yells. Because of that, I have been avoiding issues with him that have been bugging me. How should I go about telling my husband it’s his brother or me?

— WANTS HIM GONE

DEAR WANTS HIM GONE: Unless you are prepared to follow through on your ultimatum, I don’t think you should put it in those terms. A gentler way to phrase it might be to tell your husband that he has been a wonderful, supportive brother, but he has been doing his adult brother no favors by fostering his dependence upon both of you. Point out that what’s been going on for the last three years has been extremely unfair to you, that you no longer wish to live this way, and that it’s time to set a certain date when either his brother is out of your home — or you will be.

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DEAR ABBY: How do you think people feel about receiving greeting cards that have a charity organization’s name and address on the back of the card? I receive beautiful cards from charity organizations to be sent out by me and have often wondered if people think you are too cheap to buy your own cards. These cards include birthday, get well, Christmas, etc. I hate to throw them away, but I would like to know how people feel when receiving these cards.

— SENDER OF GREETINGS IN VIRGINIA

DEAR SENDER: Speaking for myself, when I receive a card from someone, I am far more pleased that the person thought of me than how much was spent on the card. It’s the thought that counts, remember?

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READER ALERT! If you know a student who would like to enter the $5,000 Dear Abby College Columnist Scholarship contest, see the information at DearAbby.com/scholarship and learn more. The deadline is fast approaching.

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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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