Ask Amy: Grieving sister doesn’t welcome an addition to the family
- January 12, 2024
Dear Amy: I lost both my parents a day apart two years ago.
Two years before that, my older sister died. She was 11 years older than me.
My sister was my biggest supporter, and was like a second mom. She was a half-sister, but … we were just sisters. I also have two half-brothers 13 and 14 years older, but I’m not as close to them as I was to my sister.
These siblings are all from my mom’s first husband, who died of cancer before I was born.
My dad basically raised my older half-siblings from the time they were very young.
A few months after my parents died, I got a message from a DNA site that I have a half-sister.
My dad was in the army and always joked I could have half-siblings somewhere.
The problem is that I don’t want to acknowledge or meet this sister.
I feel bad, but to me, I am my dad’s only child.
I was raised pretty much as an only child, because my siblings were much older.
I took this DNA test to see my heritage, not even thinking that it could spark a sibling somewhere.
This has totally wrecked my life. This sister keeps messaging me and I’ve blocked her on social media.
I don’t even want her to see pictures of my family. I feel I can’t even post pictures on Facebook for fear she’ll see them.
Am I being selfish?
– DNA Gone Wrong
Dear Gone Wrong: I don’t think you’re being selfish. I do think you’re overwhelmed by loss.
You need to give yourself a break. I think it would be wise to step away from all of these triggers and work on your own healing.
Some people might welcome the timing of the emergence of a sibling (after extreme loss, here is a gain), but for you the timing could not be worse.
If you felt more emotionally balanced, however, you might not see this as a life-ruining event.
I’m not saying that you should force yourself to let this person into your world. I am saying that you should put this relationship on a shelf for a while and concentrate entirely on working through the losses you’ve experienced.
A grief counselor could help you to make sense of your own feelings.
You could find a grief group to attend through social media or by calling your local hospital.
Dear Amy: My stepfather drinks loads of his favorite brand of bourbon. Countless family holidays have ended in tears after he tied one on and got nasty.
Christmas is now celebrated at my house, and my mother and stepfather spend the night at our house.
For years he has brought a half gallon of his favorite stuff, but lately he has taken to giving me lectures about how a good hostess (unlike me) would have his booze on hand so he wouldn’t have to bring any.
I do have spirits and wine, but I don’t drink this bourbon, and neither does anyone else I know.
The main reason I don’t stock his bourbon, however, is principle: Why should I buy a drink that will serve as fuel for his meanness?
I know I am not changing his behavior by refusing to buy his booze – he will bring his own – and a part of me thinks I should just give in and buy a bottle. Money is not the issue. Thoughts?
– Having a Passive-Aggressive Holiday!
Dear Passive-Aggressive: I’m with you. You are under no obligation to provide the specific fuel for your stepfather’s drunken howls.
This truly is a case where he is welcome to “pick his own poison.” Furthermore, a guest enjoying the extreme largess of an overnight stay doesn’t really have the right to lecture the host on etiquette.
Dear Amy: Regarding the conversation in your column about how children can turn any toy into a weapon, we have a home video from over 20 years ago of our 3-year-old son receiving a LEGO set and immediately building the shape of a gun and pretending to fire it.
At the same time our 4-year-old daughter received a pretend hairs-tyling kit.
Our son took the little hair dryer and began using it like a gun.
He is in his late 20’s and owns no firearms at all.
It is just how he organically interpreted the toys at the time.
Dear Mom: So true. Given this tendency, there is no need to give actual toy guns to kids.
©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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