Dad threat­ens to dis­own son if he digs into fam­ily his­tory

The Progress-Index Weekend - - LIFESTYLES - Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: I am a 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 wo­man my 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, I might have agreed, but his re­ac­tion tells me there's a lot more to this.

I want to find out more. Nei­ther of my 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 makes me won­der what hor­ri­ble thing could have hap­pened that would make a father con­sider dis­own­ing his son.a

Be­cause my father won't share the truth with me, I am left with only this op­tion. Pur­sue this, find 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 road map 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 am sure you are fa­mil­iar with the myth about Pan­dora's box. While you may not lose your father if you delve into this, you may find 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 first 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 have much of a re­ply.

When I at­tempted to help out with the laun­dry, clean­ing, etc., I was met with more 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 five grown chil­dren! How can I change this sit­u­a­tion?

— PU­N­ISHED FOR WANT­ING TO HELP 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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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