Dear Amy: I have had a horrific pandemic year: Pandemic, breast cancer diagnosis, a child with depression, suicide ideation and a long stay in a psychiatric facility for them — and our business almost failed. All of these have turned out OK, but we are still reeling.
My sister tends to be extremely self-centered. She tried a little to be supportive, but I really got tired of the hug and heart emojis she sent me as support.
I also got tired of her telling me how great I looked.
Neither of those are very supportive gestures from a 50-year-old woman.
When I told my family about our business failing, she texted back saying how helpless she felt … blah, blah, blah.
She relies on me visiting our parents, even though she goes on vacation.
We don’t have the greatest sister relationship.
She just had a personal health crisis which was scary and worrisome, and I am finding it really hard to send her support.
I am still dealing with all of my traumas and I don’t know how to ignore my resentments toward her. There is only so much I can handle right now.
I guess I keep hoping that at some point she will grow up and we could have a better relationship. She is better now than she was 15 years ago.
Dear Struggling: Your choices in responding to this sister are:
Do nothing, which changes nothing (you continue to stew in your juice and resent her).
Send her a few hug and heart emojis as a passive-aggressive “see how YOU like it” gesture.
Or give her a call and spend a few minutes compassionately listening and commiserating.
I think the key to some of your own healing lies behind Door Number Three.
It’s a version of the ancient “Golden Rule.”
Your sister might respond to any supportive gesture by wallowing in her own self-pity and demanding more from you (that’s how immature and self-centered people tend to behave when they’re knocked down), and if so, you’ll have to calmly put yourself first.
Your own traumas and tribulations have seasoned you to the point of bitterness. This is a normal and human response but being deliberately kind to someone else for a few moments will lift you and take some of that bitterness away.
Dear Amy: One of our sons and his wife are consistently late for each and every get together, most of which are held at our home.
They are parents to our 2-year-old grandson.
They can be between two and four hours late — it seems they just pop over when they feel like it.
We usually set a time for what they have said works best for them!
This past Father’s Day, everyone came over at 1 pm.
I did all of the cooking (as usual), and they showed up at 5 pm!
Our other four married children are also parents. Due to the lateness, the rest of the family is not getting to spend any time with this one grandchild/cousin because they are ready to go home by the time the latecomers arrive.
This has become a big issue.
We have stopped waiting for them to eat and decline their offers to bring a dish or dessert because it’s not here when we need it!
As a parent I’m torn. I’m not comfortable saying anything to my son or DIL, and I don’t think my other kids want to, either.
Do you have any suggestions on what we can do to try to get them to see that this is rude and inconsiderate?
— Upset Mother
Dear Upset: If you and other family members are too afraid of your rude and inconsiderate son to point out the obvious, then I can’t help you.
If the words “rude” or “inconsiderate” are too daunting for you, you could say, “I am completely thrown off when you are always so late, and it is starting to affect your relationship with me and other family members.”
Dear Amy: Like “Surviving,” I felt empty and depressed after my cancer treatments and surgeries were finished.
Everyone thought it was over, but my physical healing wasn’t over, and my psyche was still hurting.
I wish I could give Surviving a hug and tell her that it does get better.
In the meantime, I’d advise her to pamper herself and find people to talk to that she can trust to listen and empathize.
— Also Surviving
Dear Also: Many, many virtual “hugs” are being sent her way.