Dear Amy: I have been separated from my mother and siblings for several years.
Long story short, my brother is a clinical sociopath and my mother has spent her life defending all his hurtful behavior.
For example, I was in the hospital. When my brother heard I was sick, he replied with “Well, I hope she dies.” My mom was there when he said that and just laughed!
Amy, I have a lot of serious health issues and recently found out I have cancer.
I feel like I should try to contact my family to tell them. I know it’s important to share the family’s medical history, and both of my siblings have young children.
To be perfectly clear: I do does not want a relationship with them. They have hurt me too many times over the years.
Should I try to contact them? What should I tell them?
The Cancer Fighter in PA
Dear Cancer Fighter: You should ask your medical team for guidance on this, but I do not think you are ethically obligated to contact your family members.
If you do, you may want to create a separate email account from which you can email them. That way, you can read – or not read – any answers that may come in.
Keep your opinion short and to the point. Say: “I am fighting this disease and hope to cope well.”
Dear Amy: My mom and I are best friends. My parents had a real history book romance. They met as children and were married for 32 years, until my father was quickly taken from our lives by cancer when he was only 60 years old – 20 years ago.
My mother has literally been crushed since then. She longs for fun and meeting people, but can not get out to do it.
I’ve tried everything: classes, moving to different cities in hopes of finding a close and fun community, moving her into an older community, getting a volunteer job, trying a paid job, going to church… you name it, I have tried it.
I know I can ‘t get her to do things, but she’s telling me all the time that she would “do anything to meet a nice man and make some friends.”
Her father was very harsh on her and was verbally violent and she has no self confidence because of him.
I’m eager to learn if you might have any ideas or advice for my mom.
She is a very young 76, and loves to have fun, laugh and do things with people. But her life for the last 20 years has been very lonely and quiet.
I know she has to do things for herself, but she does not use the computer, and I am at least trying to find opportunities that might open up some social life for her, and to find some friends.
I hope you will come up with some new ideas or thoughts.
Frustrated and sad daughter
Dear frustrated: You’re your mother’s best friend. It is possible that if you two had allowed each other to differentiate so that you could be her daughter instead of her best (and only) friend, she could have developed some of the skills and tools to relate to people more on your own. hand.
You have made all these efforts on her behalf and have even written to me to get more ideas for things you can do for her.
I hope you can see where I want to go with this.
She needs help from someone other than you, and she deserves the enhanced sense of discovery when she makes an effort on her own.
You deserve to get on with a relationship with her that is not solely defined by her needs.
Next time she expresses her dissatisfaction and desires, tell her you have run out of ideas. Does she have any ideas? Ask: Are there things she (not you) could do differently to change the outcome?
She would obviously benefit from compassionate therapy.
And also – because you have made me do this now – an elderly hostel experience can be enriching and empowering for her. Check Roadscholar.org for programs.
Dear Amy: “Second-Guessing my Silence” wondered if she should tell the teenager sitting in front of her in church that the girl had lice in her hair.
You should have asked her to talk to the pastor about it. He could meet with the family in private.
Dear upset: “Second Guessing” was too shy to tap this girl on the shoulder. I can not imagine she has the moxie to tell the pastor.
You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.