I’m an adult whose parents divorced when I was three-years-old. My father was never part of my life other than phone calls on birthdays or holidays, and seeing him once or twice a year.
It hurt me that he didn’t care more. He remarried and had a child, and now has five children from three marriages.
I recently found the courage to tell him I wasn’t happy with our relationship, and if, like me, he wanted things to be different, he should show it.
No response, but I felt empowered. I’ve also contacted my youngest sibling with no response. I suspect that she resents how I treated our father.
I said I hope she’d allow me to explain why I feel the way I do. I’d like to have a relationship with her despite what’s going on with our father, as we’re both adults. What more can I do?
Seeking Sibling Comfort
Your outreach to her was about you. Make the next one about her. Show interest in learning how she feels, and suggest that as half-sisters, you may have more in common than you know.
Remind yourself, however, that you’ve had many different experiences growing up, and she may not relate to yours.
Don’t rest all your hopes on people changing. You’ve found the ability to change things for yourself, but others may not.
Last year in middle school, one classmate, a girl, constantly pushed people around, yelled at everyone, was bossy, and sometimes bullying others including me.
I’m very confident, but I can't stand this girl. She’s repeatedly said she doesn't like me. We often have arguments with me standing up to her and her swearing at me.
My teacher told me countless times to stay out of drama. I try my best to avoid mean girls and dramas but sometimes it’s hard, as I want to stand up for myself.
When I see someone being put down by that girl I step in and say, stop. When she’s gossiping about people, I step in and we end up in a screaming fight.
I can't handle another year with her. Most teachers like her because she’s a butt-kisser, so a teacher will take her side.
Someone needs to put her in her place. But I need help deciding when to stand up or butt out. And, how to handle her if she’s in my class next year.
Inform your parents fully of past bullying incidents so they’ll quickly support you if anything happens. No teacher or principal will ignore bullying behaviour that’s reported by parents and the bullied student.
Also, tell your parents about your uncertainty over when to stand up for yourself, and when to walk away. You do need some direction. There are some obvious times to avoid a battle, e.g. if several people are ganged up against you, and you’re liable to get badly hurt.
But that doesn’t mean you caved. Always write a record of what happened, even if it was someone else being bullied. Then show it to your parents and perhaps a teacher you trust. They’ll help you pass the information along without you always having to get in the middle.
Ask your parents to urge the principal to have a school-wide bullying policy and seminars to inform everyone about it.
When school resumes, avoid this girl without being obvious. But don’t go in expecting the worst. She may’ve grown up somewhat, and may not be in your class. Focus on your own friendships, new activities, and of course, school work.
FEEDBACK Regarding the husband who’d sent lewd texts to his friend about a female co-worker:
Reader – “To dismiss deeply lewd, crude, sexist, and insulting texts that were essentially secretive, creates a foundation of distrust in a relationship.
“That he beat his chest with machismo self-inflation - by assuming he had a chance with his former co-worker, and telling his friend that he was free from the fetters of marriage to take it - displayed a vast ego, repressed instincts, and an insulting and demeaning view of women in general.
“This woman has every right to be angry, and have a switched mind as to how she views her husband. Still waters run deep, and I wouldn’t believe this’d be the first - or last - insult, given the nature of her husband as she described.
“Thank you for reading my response, and for your column. It’s a great read!”
Tip of the day:
An adult can make personal changes, but still can’t change others.