FEEDBACK Regarding the person working in the business that was established by their father, and now being urged to move on to other business courses and “upward career moves” for future employment elsewhere (Sept 27):
Reader - “You missed the boat on this one. This young person has been groomed by his dad to take over his business since he’s already taken the best years for establishing another career: diverse job experience during high school and college, and job-searching as a new graduate. Now Dad’s pushing his child out.
“He owes severance and a great reference letter at the least, and honest communication about the state of the business and his plans for it.”
Ellie - I was responding to a different “boat” from your view regarding the father’s motives: i.e., the emotional relationship of the hard-working offspring with their father, after their mother’s passing, and the father’s re-marriage to a distanced second wife.
I believe that was the letter-writer’s personal issue about the father’s intentions.
My brother relocated far away 40-plus years ago. I’d like to see him more often. He was in town recently for a family event with his wife whom he’d met in his new city.
I’ve had a hard time dealing with her since our first meeting years ago. My immediate family agree that she’s hyper-controlling and “me-focused.” Some people have ended contact with my brother because they can’t stand her.
While staying with me, some things she did and said were more than I could handle.
Unfortunately, I snapped over one “small-stuff” situation. I stormed out of my own house cussing and swearing.
While they readied to leave the next morning as planned, I offered a tepid apology, but she came back at me. I blew up again, saying she’s extremely difficult to be around.
She and my brother think I reacted to just that one situation, but it was actually 35 years of me not being able to figure out how to deal with her.
She insisted that I have anger management issues even though my outbursts were out of character.
I want to maintain my relationship with my brother, but they’re a package deal. His loyalty is to his wife, and she’s not going to change.
The chasm, created by my inability to deal with her personality, is light years across, and my brother’s on the other side.
How Do I Fix This?
Decide once and for all to curb your own reactions to your sister-in-law. Instead, walk away, and apologize if you over-react.
Accept that you’re part of the problem. Think ahead when you know you’re going to see/talk with her. Find something positive to say, even if you resort to “nice weather.” But don’t be false.
Raise a pleasant topic e.g., a good book you’ve been reading, an amusing series you’ve watched. Discern one of her interests and ask about it in a positive way e.g. How did you become a whiz at bridge tournaments?
If she doesn’t respond, switch to talking to your brother about neutral topics, if his wife’s around.
Stay focused on your goal: If you want contact with your brother, you must show his wife that you understand/accept that they live as a team.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman taunted by her fiancé’s mother (Oct. 1):
Reader – “The mid-50s man’s parents are likely 80-plus. Cognitive issues and personality changes could be involved (my mother is 94).
“The woman says: “Her husband stays quiet but my fiancé has started responding back.” Both partners are just trying to appease.
“My research/experience advises to not confront. I increasingly “bite my tongue” rather than “correct” my mother.
This woman should take the high road.
Reader’s Commentary “As the facilitator of a large group of alienated grandparents seeking help for ourselves as well as for our grandchildren, I often receive members’ articles regarding our situation.
“Recently, these articles included a number of your relationship columns concerning alienated families. I’ve also noticed that you often mention AGA (Alienated Grandparents Anonymous) as a support group. I hope it’s possible for you to add our group OAGM (Our Alienated Grandchildren Matter).
“Many thanks to you for showing your concern for us and for our grandchildren.”
Tip of the day:
Try harder to get along with your brother’s wife, or you’ll continue losing sibling closeness.