At 47, I want to limit contact with my family. My mother can be smothering, cruel, and vindictive. (At 18, I found all my stuff on the lawn because she suspected I was gay).
Yet, my parents helped my younger brother and his girlfriend to buy a condo.
He’d been a school dropout, couldn’t hold a job, and had drug, drunk-driving, and assault charges.
I had a good job, but was paying off student loans from graduate school. They’d only help if I declared bankruptcy on my student loans (which wasn’t actually allowed).
This still bothers me. My brother eventually got his life together and now owns a home and rents out the condo.
I’m still the good kid and check up on my parents constantly (my dad has Alzheimer’s), and my brother does nothing.
I’m ashamed to be so angry and hurt about money, but I tried to do everything right and be what they wanted, yet got told “maybe someday” they’d help me too.
My dad made a lot of money. They could’ve afforded to help me.
I’m angry for days after I talk to them.
I want to stay in contact with my dad who’s fading. My mom’s life now is spent taking care of him.
How do I get over this? Am I being entitled and selfish?
Unrewarded “Good Son”
Point accepted: Your parents were unfair in how they treated their two sons.
It’s also clear that your brother might’ve ended up living on the streets or in jail if they hadn’t stepped in to raise his possibilities, through financial help and some belief that he’d do better.
Yes, some parents would’ve “equalized” their generosity. Maybe your mother was to blame - perhaps due to bigotry, or blatant favoritism.
But ending contact with her now won’t change the past.
You’ll still nurture this pain because you’ve let it fester, instead of fighting it.
To stay in contact with your dad will necessitate seeing her. She holds the keys.
Meanwhile, her life isn’t easy anymore, and they may need all their savings to provide your dad with comfort and care during the coming years, as well as care for her aging, too.
You have been, and still are, “the good son.”
Reward yourself. Grab the chance to get past the unjust wounds by seeing a therapist to vent all your anger, hurt, and sense of loss.
If you truly want to toss off this burden, you must confront it and learn how to put it behind you, instead of ending contact while still carrying it.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the father of the 18-year-old daughter with a boyfriend (Oct. 4):
“I’m a single mother who raised two children on my own.
“My rule has always been that they need to tell me where they’re going, with whom, and when to expect them home.
“They’ll let me know they’re back and if they have friends sleeping over, even if I’m sleeping.
“They understand that we need to know how many people are in the house, and who’s where, because we’ve had emergencies where we had to leave immediately.
“Even older, the same rule applies, also to me.
“My children know where I am, with whom, and what time to expect me home. It’s not only for my safety, but also respectful.
“I’ve always told them that if they cannot tell me what they’re doing and with whom, then it may not be worth doing. I look at my life in the same way.”
FEEDBACK Regarding losing a beloved dog (October 6):
Reader – “When we lost our first Airedale, it was devastating. While some swear they’ll never go through that pain again, others, like us, search right away for another companion.
“It's not meant to "replace" the dog we lost, but to give new life to an empty home.
“While each of our Airedales have had similarities and differences, you love them all (perhaps some a little more than others), but they're all a gift.
“My advice is to find another companion. Perhaps if she weren’t able to look after a puppy, then a rescue dog would fit her situation.
“Just knowing she's saved a life might be what she needs to move on.
“It's always helped to mend my broken heart.
“We know that they can't be with us forever and when they leave, you know it's going to hurt. But I still wouldn't be without them.”
Tip of the day:
Deep hurts can’t heal if nurtured for years. Get professional counselling.