Brother with is­sues must work them out him­self

The Daily Herald - - HOME & GARDEN -

Dear Abby: My brother, “Chris,” is go­ing through a di­vorce and lost his busi­ness. He is now lash­ing out at our mom and me when she spends time with me.

When I tried to ex­press my sym­pa­thy, Chris at­tacked me via di­rect mes­sage, say­ing I have a “charmed life and don’t care about any­one — in­clud­ing him and our cash-strapped par­ents.” It started when Dad gave me a car he wasn’t us­ing be­fore we learned about my brother’s mis­for­tune. When I tried to re­turn it, Dad re­fused.

Be­cause I stopped re­spond­ing to him on the in­ter­net, Chris is now com­plain­ing to Mom about my “self­ish­ness.” He says if the sit­u­a­tion was re­versed, he would have moved heaven and Earth to help me.

Abby, Chris has a job. He lives with our folks and pays to­ken rent. My hus­band and I work, but I have had a salary cut, we have two kids to sup­port and a mort­gage to pay. We’re in no po­si­tion to pro­vide the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance my brother ex­pects. My par­ents sus­pect that he’s still giv­ing money to his soon-to-be ex.

My hus­band says Chris is try­ing to ma­nip­u­late me and that I need to go on with my life, but I’m wor­ried that the longer this goes on, the harder it will be to heal the rift. I’m also wor­ried about how this is af­fect­ing our par­ents. — Griev­ing In Ni­cosia, Cyprus

Dear Griev­ing: You can­not heal a rift you didn’t cre­ate, and you also can’t “do­nate away” Chris’ re­sent­ment. He’s un­happy for a num­ber of rea­sons and is tak­ing it out on you not be­cause you’re a bad sis­ter, but be­cause you are within strik­ing dis­tance.

Your brother needs to work out his dif­fi­cul­ties him­self. A fam­ily meet­ing — in­clud­ing your hus­band — might clear the air so all of you are on the same page. Your brother needs to un­der­stand why the fi­nan­cial help he seems to ex­pect is un­re­al­is­tic and will not be forth­com­ing.

Dear Abby: Is there any way to counter a stranger’s mean or hurt­ful re­mark (racist, age-re­lated or sex­ist) in a mall or store? I feel I have to say some­thing — with­out be­ing con­fronta­tional — even if the re­mark isn’t aimed at me. What do you sug­gest? — Com­pelled To Act In Ottawa, Canada

Dear Com­pelled: Be­cause you don’t want a con­fronta­tion, I urge you to say noth­ing to the per­son who made the of­fen­sive re­mark. How­ever, you could ap­proach the per­son who was the tar­get and qui­etly say: “That was un­called for. I hope you re­al­ize the per­son who said that is ig­no­rant, and don’t let it get to you.”

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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