A re­sent­ful brother

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

My brother and I are close in age, and from the time I was born, he has bul­lied, teased and ig­nored me. Af­ter years of ther­apy, he fi­nally con­fessed that he had been jeal­ous of me be­cause our mother was over­whelmed and he felt abandoned.

A few years ago, I was di­ag­nosed with a rare form of can­cer with a low sur­vival rate, but against all odds, I am in re­mis­sion. Sev­eral months ago, I asked my mother for a fi­nan­cial gift to pay for an ex­per­i­men­tal treat­ment that was not covered by in­surance. She has a siz­able es­tate and is in her 90s, and she read­ily agreed. It most likely saved my life.

My brother was fu­ri­ous with her and with me and wrote a cold email to the other sib­lings, say­ing that “ev­ery­one has prob­lems” and ask­ing why I was be­ing given spe­cial treat­ment. Last week, he sent out an­other email to the fam­ily, masked in sin­cere lan­guage about how he was con­cerned for our mother. He wanted to make us all prom­ise not to ask her for any more gifts, say­ing she is anx­ious about her fi­nances.

The whole fam­ily knows that she is quite com­fort­ably off and that her fears are most likely a re­sult of early de­men­tia. But it was clear in a sep­a­rate email to me that he blames me for stress­ing her out.

I have no in­ten­tion of ask­ing my mother for any more money, but these ex­changes have left me in tears. My hus­band says I should not open any emails from my brother and I should cut off con­tact, but now my brother has con­tacted all of us with a plan for a sib­ling re­union — to take place dur­ing a time I’d planned to visit my mother. I don’t feel safe with him, but I’m not sure how to get out of this re­union with­out caus­ing a fam­ily rift. I just want to fo­cus on liv­ing each day and loving my young chil­dren. — Liv­ing Life With­out My


For what­ever reason, your brother is a deeply un­happy per­son, and he’s bent on bring­ing oth­ers down into his mis­er­able com­pany. He is toxic, and cut­ting off com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the healthy choice for now.

Like a clas­sic bully, he’s re­act­ing to your with­drawal by des­per­ately try­ing even harder to pro­voke you, stir­ring the pot with this “sib­ling re­union.” You ab­so­lutely do not have to go to this re­union. Visit your mother in­stead (as­sum­ing the re­union isn’t tak­ing place at her house).

If your brother seeks help to be­come a hap­pier per­son and less emo­tion­ally ma­nip­u­la­tive to­ward you, you can re­con­nect. Un­til then, in­su­late your­self from his at­tacks, and fo­cus on your­self and your re­cov­ery. Con­grat­u­la­tions on your can­cer’s be­ing in re­mis­sion.

I’d like to know why some restau­rants and din­ers don’t treat tea drinkers the same as cof­fee drinkers. I’ve been din­ing with a group on more than one oc­ca­sion when cof­fee drinkers were given un­lim­ited free re­fills on their cof­fee but I was charged for a sec­ond cup of tea. I can’t be­lieve tea costs more than cof­fee, so I won­der what the reason is. — Tea Drinker

Your ques­tion stumped me, so I asked some servers >> Why the “steep” cost for tea? Ap­par­ently, it’s be­cause it re­quires many more steps than cof­fee. Not all restau­rants have hot water at the ready, so they heat it up just for that cup of tea. Then, at more up­scale restau­rants, there’s the mat­ter of pre­sen­ta­tion — pre­sent­ing all the tea bag choices, ar­rang­ing the lemon, cream, su­gar, etc. This in­for­ma­tion is purely based on my small, un­sci­en­tific sur­vey. If any other servers or tea drinkers would like to weigh in on this, I would love to hear from you.

Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­nie@cre­ators.com.

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