I did not go into specifics in the Facebook post, but I did say that the treatment I received colored my memories in a less than flattering way.
I summed it up by asking people to think about the effect their words have on the people around them.
My 32-year-old niece read my post and was offended. My portrayal wasn’t the grandmother she remembered. She then blocked me.
She showed my post to my brother, who proceeded to berate me for my “anger” and for forgetting that she loved me. He then said I need therapy to deal with my anger. That was the last I heard from him.
I saw a therapist for four months. After hearing all about my life, she marveled at my restraint.
Over these months, I’ve sent cards and gifts for special occasions, as I always have, without mentioning the issue, but I’m wondering if I should respond and if so, how?
I believe they’re upset because I didn’t tow the “party line.”
Distressed: Yes, people should be aware of the effect their words have on others. That includes you. Your knowledge, experiences and memories of your mother would not line up with your niece’s. After all, your niece was 11 or 12 years old when her grandmother died.
You assume that your family members are upset with you because you have told the truth about your mother’s behavior and its impact on you.
I believe it is just as likely that they are upset mainly because you posted these thoughts, feelings and impressions in a public forum.
You don’t mention having any regrets about this, but — speaking as someone who has written two memoirs — when you publish painful personal family stories, family members are going to react. You can either own your version and try to talk about it, or retreat to your respective corners.
Ask your therapist to coach you about ways to handle this without violating your own truth. If you regret posting this publicly, acknowledging your regret might at least start a conversation.
Sending cards and gifts as you’ve always done might seem to you like gestures of reconciliation, but this behavior is also one way of sweeping this under the carpet, without acknowledging the pained reactions that your posting seems to have triggered for other people.
Dear Amy: “Wendy,” a very good friend of ours, passed away a few years ago.
Wendy and her husband, “Bart,” were married for more than 40 years. We felt very sorry for Bart. During our last visit, we learned that he now has a live-in “girlfriend,” who is basically his new wife.
They take turns living in his house and then in her house.
This bothers my wife and me because Bart’s new lady-friend’s husband is still alive.
He suffers from dementia and probably doesn’t know that any of this is going on. The new lady friend seems almost overjoyed with the situation.
Do you feel this is a proper way for Bart to act? How would you advise us to adjust our attitudes toward this?
Upset Friends: As far as I’m concerned, it is completely appropriate for “Bart” to engage in a new relationship. According to you, his wife passed away a few years ago.
In terms of his girlfriend, I don’t think it’s wise, or kind, for you to judge someone too harshly, unless you’ve walked in their shoes.
You should remind yourself that it is not your job to render a ruling on two people who have found each other late in life.
Dear Amy: I was surprised at your response to “Desperate,” the woman whose older parents kept defying covid recommendations by sneaking out of their house.
I believe it is our responsibility to do everything possible to stop the spread of this pandemic. Shame on you for advising her to let them go.
Disappointed: At some point, each of us needs to recognize that we cannot control people who have the right to behave according to their own (possibly flawed) judgment.
2020 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency