Sunday, February 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

I’ve become estranged from my family since my father’s death

Dear Annie: My dad passed away three years ago. He was one of my best friends, and we shared a love of classic automobiles.

The day Dad died, I chose to stay at work rather than go to the hospital. I run a business, and if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. That evening, when I tried to console my mother, she asked, “Where were you?” She refused to look at me, so I left.

To my mother and her side of the family, it seems I am always doing the wrong thing. It was Dad who encouraged me to go my own way. My sister and her husband took over the sale of my mother’s house. I didn’t ask for anything. However, I do know classic car restorers and offered to help with the sale of my father’s cars when Mother said she wanted to get rid of them.

When I found a potential buyer for one last month, Mother informed me that she had given the car to my sister as a thank-you for all the work she and her husband had done for her during the sale of her home. Supposedly, they are “restoring” the car and plan to keep it in the family. No one bothered to tell me. I was angry and upset.

My friends all agree that my mother was wrong to give the car to my sister without telling me. I can no longer trust any of them, so either I let it go or cut ties. Who knows what else they’ve kept from me? If they truly cared about me, they would include me in family decisions. I was working on becoming closer to make up for our estrangement after Dad died, but now I feel betrayed. I am tired of paying for a debt I do not owe. — Missing Dad

Dear Missing: You seem to be in complete opposition to your family. They say “left,” and you say “purple.” Perception means a great deal. When you stayed at work instead of being at your father’s side, your family interpreted that to mean you didn’t care. When your mother then gave you the cold shoulder, you should have apologized instead of leaving. From her perspective, if you don’t care, why should she give you the cars to restore? And you believe that because you and Dad shared a love of those cars, she should have given you a voice in the decision.

You aren’t communicating in the same language, and your anger is clouding the issue. Before the estrangement becomes permanent, please see whether you can work on this. Ask Mom to go with you for counseling. We hope she will so you both can express yourselves with a mediator present to translate.

Dear Annie: I have fibromyalgia and other medical problems and need counseling for depression. I am on disability, so my income is limited, and I am unable to drive. I was wondering whether you could help me. — J.

Dear J.: Please try one of these organizations: the National Fibromyalgia Association (fmaware.org); the American Chronic Pain Association (theacpa.org); United Way, YMCA and YWCA; the Samaritan Institute (samaritaninstitute.org); and Recovery International at lowselfhelpsystems.org. You also can find low-cost or free counseling through your local hospitals and university psychology and graduate-school counseling departments.

Dear Annie: A while back, “Given Up Hope Out East” wrote that she was 50 years old and obese. She said she was happy and not going to diet anymore. It’s been months, and I haven’t been able to get her out of my mind. She needs to get busy and lose it before she gets older.

I’m 75 and morbidly obese and certainly wish I’d gotten it under control when I was 50. It gets 10 times harder every year to lose weight. I’ve lost 30 pounds in the past six months, but it’s really hard. I still have almost 200 pounds to go. Tell her to get with it! — Getting There

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

 

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

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