Son wants to delve into his fam­ily his­tory

The Island Packet (Sunday) - - Tv - JEAN­NEPHILLIPS

Dear Abby: I ama 22-year-old, sin­gle male who re­cently grad­u­ated from col­lege. I re­ceived lots of con­grat­u­la­tions in per­son and by phone, text and so­cial me­dia.

One of them came from a wom­anmy age named “Bree.” When I re­sponded, I didn’t re­call ever hav­ing friended her but learned she’s a cousin who lives back east. Ap­par­ently, her mother and my father are sib­lings. When I asked my father about it, he got very de­fen­sive and told me who­ever it was I spoke to is a com­plete and to­tal liar. Or­di­nar­ily, Imight have agreed, but his re­ac­tion tells me there’s a lot more to this.

I want to ind out more. Nei­ther ofmy par­ents will say a word about it, and I don’t know why. When I told them I plan to travel to the East Coast and meet Bree, I was told I may not be wel­comed back if I do! This makesme won­der what hor­ri­ble thing could have hap­pened that would make a father con­sider dis­own­ing his son.

Be­cause my father won’t share the truth with me, I am left with only this op­tion. Pur­sue this, ind part of my fam­ily I never knew ex­isted and learn some­thing, but lose the fam­ily I have and re­gret it for­ever. Any in­sight?— Lost Cousin in Cal­i­for­nia

Dear Cousin: I can of­fer in­sight, but not a roadmap for how to pro­ceed. Fam­ily se­crets can be dev­as­tat­ing. That your father re­acted so strongly shows how threat­ened he is that you might un­cover some­thing he isn’t proud of.

As a col­lege grad­u­ate, I am­sure you are fa­mil­iar with the myth about Pan­dora’s box. While you may not lose your father if you delve into this, you may ind that when you do, your im­age of him may be shat­tered. If you re­ally feel you will “re­gret it for­ever” if you do, then make sure you are pre­pared for the pos­si­ble penalty.

Dear Abby: My only son and his wife had their irst baby re­cently. My daugh­ter-in-law treats me ter­ri­bly. She’s hy­per­crit­i­cal of what I do or say. I am usu­ally so blind­sided I don’t have­much of a re­ply.

When I at­tempted to help out with the laun­dry, clean­ing, etc., I was met with­more crit­i­cism and ad­vice on how to per­form those tasks. She also says I don’t know how to prop­erly hold an in­fant. Abby, I have raised ive grown chil­dren! How can I change this sit­u­a­tion? — Pun­ished For Want­ing to Help

Dear Pun­ished: Re­mind your daugh­ter-in­law that you’re just try­ing to help her. She may not have been crit­i­cal of your ef­forts as much as try­ing to con­vey how she would like those tasks done. How­ever, if you can’t please her, take the hint and stop of­fer­ing.

She may be a ner­vous new mother, but she ap­pears to have gone over­board to the point of be­ing tact­less. The next time she tells you you don’t know how to hold a baby, point out that you man­aged to raise ive of them safely to adult­hood. Then back off and give her some space be­cause she may be hor­monal and need it. Con­tact Dear Abby at www. DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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