I’m a divorced professional woman whose beloved sister lives in another country. She’s been like my mother since our mother suffered from mental illness and died years ago.
I’ve tried hard to be kind to my sister’s husband, but he’s very controlling. Although she’s a high-level professional and manages their financial concerns, he doesn’t like her to travel to visit me.
I’ve visited her three times over five years although I’m very financially strapped. When I’m there, he’s rude, demanding and has his relatives over, excluding me.
When I stay in a hotel, my sister rarely visits me without him because he insists that he needs to come along.
He hates my town, makes fun of my financial state, and my " alternative lifestyle." He does nothing for himself (or others) and demands that my sister accompanies him everywhere.
Their son exhibits similar behaviour but has a diagnosed mental illness, so I’m convinced that his father does too. But my sister refuses to acknowledge this.
She’s exhausted, and unwell. She won’t discuss the situation but says she tries to be positive and hates it when people raise unhappy topics.
What can I do to help and see my dear sister?
Missing My Sibling
The help you think she needs is at direct odds with what you want. Insisting she visits you will push her away.
She’s unwilling to challenge her husband’s wishes, and may also be protecting her son from stress over this issue.
Stay connected through email, Skype, private letters. When you can visit, accept her situation, and make the best of whatever time you have together.
My relative finds overweight individuals abhorrent.
My adult son is smart and educated. His career requires him to frequently stay in hotels, and over the years he’s gained weight (not morbidly obese).
His partner is also tall like him and overweight. She, too, is educated and has an excellent career. They’re both healthy, don’t seem bothered by their weight, and seem very happy together.
I have always struggled with weight. I’m well aware of the health implications, yet I’m 76 and in excellent health.
However, it now bothers me very much that my relative is negative about my son and his partner based on their weight.
She sees them on Facebook (they live in another city) but she never says anything positive about them. She regularly talks to me about heavy people, like how repulsive a particular woman appeared in a bathing suit. She does have many other great attributes and aside from this issue we’re close. I don’t have much family and always just accepted this as being her thing. But now it’s hard.
She’s fat-phobic for whatever reason, but apparently isn’t openly fat-shaming anyone, yet.
Still, her insulting critique of the bathing suit clad woman and her cold comments about your son and his partner, are plainly rude, and pointed.
The fact that you’re also overweight underlies her remarks to you.
Speak up. Tell her how you feel about having your own son and his partner diminished by her attitude, which is harsh and hurtful.
Say that you care about your relationship as family but would like her to respect your love for, and pride in, your son.
Educate her: Fat-shaming is just another form of bullying. Fat critiquing reveals a closed mind.
Fact: There are numerous ways that someone can end up being overweight – from genetics to environmental and lifestyle factors. It’s not just a choice.
My girlfriend broke up with me after knowingly giving me an incurable sexually transmitted disease/infection (STD/STI). She didn’t disclose until the very end.
She led me on emotionally, invited me to family Christmas, etc. Then, when I got the diagnosis, she left me cold-hearted and ghosted me.
I tried to tell her that the relationship isn’t the issue. It’s the non-disclosure.
Shall I reach out to her parents? I really love her.
How To Confront?
Start by “confronting” your own attitude, first. She is not a woman to ever trust again.
In Canada, it's a crime not to disclose HIV before having sex, or another STI that poses a “significant risk of serious bodily harm.”
In the US, knowingly transmitting HIV or herpes, both incurable lifelong conditions, is grounds for civil lawsuit in some states.
Focus on your health, not on someone who cares nothing for how she’s harmed you.
Tip of the day:
To have closeness with relatives, respect for each other’s needs and situations must be equal.