Dear Abby: I helped sister deal with awful husband but I can’t anymore
After 13 years of providing emotional support, woman runs out of patience and shifts focus to her new family.
DEAR ABBY: For years my sister has been in a relationship with a man who treats her terribly. She works full time and comes home to find him out partying every day. I have stood by her and offered advice and a willing ear, but at this point, her problems are affecting my marriage as well as my sanity.
His drug problems are getting worse, and he couldn’t care less how she feels. She follows him and sits outside the places he’s hanging out, which forces him to come out and talk to her. I have tried my best to get her to move on. Their kids are grown, so she can’t use them as an excuse anymore.
Last night, she told me she has decided to let him do what he wants but stay with him because his health is deteriorating from the drug use. After 13 years of being her emotional support because she never makes an effort to get out, I’ve reached the end of my rope.
I feel terrible guilt for feeling this way, but I recently had a baby, and with my new family, I no longer have the time or patience to deal with her drama. I know it may be wrong to bow out, but I need to tell her that her problems have become my problems and they’re damaging me. I don’t think she’s ever gonna draw the line. — WORN OUT SIS IN KENTUCKY
DEAR WORN OUT: Because your sister has tolerated this situation for 13 years, I, too, doubt she’s ever “gonna draw the line.” Had she done it years ago, it might have been the wake-up call her partner needed to sober up and straighten out.
I agree it is time to step back, quit trying to solve your sister’s unsolvable problems and concentrate on ones you CAN solve. And when you do, do not apologize or feel guilty for doing so. It won’t make you a bad sister but an emotionally healthier one.
DEAR ABBY: Like so many others, I am on social media to stay in touch with family and a few friends. I come from a large family with more than a dozen cousins and two siblings, as well as nieces and nephews.
Many of them post photos, a lot of which are about their possessions — “Look at my new car, my new house, etc.” And, of course, they expect you to “like” everything. I know, however, if I did the same thing, they would think I’m being obnoxious. Mind you, I’m not wealthy. I would like to post some photos of just the scenery, but if I did even that, I’d be looked down upon.
What’s the best way to handle all the likes everyone expects with the knowledge that they hold me to a different standard? Sometimes it’s infuriating. — SICK OF SHOW AND TELL
DEAR SICK: You are entitled to post what you wish, as well as to “like” or IGNORE what your relatives post online. Not everyone has the time to validate every post. If you are asked, say you don’t spend as much time on the internet as they do, period. And don’t apologize.
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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