I’m 22 and have always felt uncomfortable around my brother, 26, though he’s a good human being.
When he comes to the house I want to hide in my room.
I know that it's something that relates to issues I need to work on.
He's mainly nice and amiable with me. He doesn't know that I feel this way.
It got better as years passed, but little things he says still have great affects on me and my mood.
I can't imagine how to even start to talk to him about it, when I feel so sensitive around him.
It’s not helpful for anyone to just guess at what your discomfort is about.
Probing its source calls for getting individual therapy, and I urge you to do so.
It’s crucial to your emotional well-being.
A professional therapist will help you find its roots, understand your own reaction, and decide how to talk to your brother about it.
You don’t want to let insecurity with a sibling extend to other relationships now or in your future.
I’m 68, an artist, youthful, energetic, and extraordinarily healthy.
I recently met a man through online dating. He’s 74, widowed eight years ago.
His very serious relationship of five years broke up four months ago, as his girlfriend became distant and didn't have time for him.
I felt that he hadn't let go emotionally from either his late wife or ex-girlfriend. He mentioned both of them constantly.
However, he seemed very interested in me. I felt no sparks but was interested enough to explore the possibilities.
He introduced me to his daughter and granddaughter, who are in his life a lot.
He works two days a week (he’s a doctor) and said we must travel to meet his siblings. Three weeks ago, he suggested we live together.
However, he mentioned his ex girlfriend too often, which sent red flags.
He also said they’d previously bought seasons tickets for concerts but assured me they’re just friends who are back in contact.
I was starting to feel this man is it, although we’d only hugged, kissed, and held hands. He never sought more intimacy.
After a recent big night out, he said, “my ex and I have decided to work out our differences.”
He added that he’d continue to see me for art exhibitions and chats sometimes.
I responded that I was hoping that our relationship would reach a more intimate level, that I have a lot to give a man and was beginning to think it’d be him, but it's best to say good bye.
He agreed and was gone!
Ellie, I understand that a girlfriend of five years is a given reality, and that he’s more comfortable with her as his children grew very close to her.
But how does a man go so far as to suggest a future with me, and then suddenly rule me right out of the picture?
I happen to notice he's back online… this behaviour is very strange.
What’s It All Mean?
It means you’re well out of this man’s “backup” plan.
He’s online again because he’s incapable of being alone or relying on one companion.
He’s obviously not a sexual player, but he’s an emotional “user”… leading you on (and who knows who else).
Now, back with his ex, he still needs a replacement in the wings.
Fortunately, you’re confident and smart enough to not have became deeply attached and know that moving on is the healthier choice for you.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young person who wrote again about post-traumatic stress disorder (Nov. 11):
Reader – “Was it necessary to mention that his or her attacker has schizophrenia ?
“My brother suffers and struggles daily with PTSD, schizophrenia, agoraphobia and alcoholism.
“All were caused by heinous trauma inflicted by two family members.
“Yet he has the kindest, most gentle soul, and is likely more afraid of others.
“I’m not taking the writer’s attack or PTSD lightly.
“I just felt you’re painting all persons with schizophrenia with the same brush.”
Ellie – In no way do I link all attacks by strangers, to people having schizophrenia.
I was supporting the writer’s outreach, by referring to his/her original question to me last April, which included that detail.
Struggles living with mental illness are as hard on people with schizophrenia as on others with different diagnoses.
I appreciate the opportunity to state unequivocally that stereotypes about schizophrenia are wrong-headed, unfair and unkind.
Tip of the day:
Probing a persistently unsettling family relationship requires professional therapy.