Friday, May 04, 2007

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

I've Moved

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

MMmmmmmmmmmm...Humble Pie

This was sent to Aunt B via email...

Dear Aunt B:
Im not sure how to deal with the problems I'm having with my new Sister-in-Law.
We had been best friends for at least 14 years, and I had recently
married her brother after dating for six years. Our friendship fell
apart for good when I was unable to change my wedding rehearsal date to accommodate her needs (she has health problems and is considered
disabled.) A separate rehearsal date just for her was planned but she
wouldn't accept it, it had to be all or nothing. I told her that I felt
guilty but she said I was being selfish and unreasonable and letting
down a disabled person. Eventually she ended up dropping out of my
wedding, but she attended the wedding as a guest and bad-mouthed me to her whole family and turned some of her family against me. Since my
wedding day she has further trashed my reputation and most of her family continues to be against me.
We have had many fights in the past (usually about me disagreeing with
her about something) and to resolve our issues we've ALWAYS had to use the mediation of a clergy person or counselor. She never has to
apologize, always has a poor excuse for her selfish behavior, and always
turns everything around to make it my fault. My husband, who is the
kindest, most easy-going person I know, is so angry with her and
doesn't care to see her anymore. Holidays and get together's are now
scheduled separately so that we don't have to be in the same room with
his toxic sister.
I am not willing to be her friend but her behavior has ripped a family
apart. She has done nothing to allow the family to heal. I don't want
to be the one to start apologizing because I feel I did nothing wrong,
but I think something needs to be done to start the healing. How can I
get her to make the first move? Also, am I wrong for being so hurt and
angry at this person, who was supposed to be my best friend and has
caused such unrest in my new marriage?
Thank you so much for any advice you have to give, Aunt B! I look
forward to hearing from you.

Aunt B said...

Woohoo, do you have your hands full, huh?
First, to make up, I would throw her a Pity Party, with lots of balloons and blowers but make sure it fits her schedule, of course (insert sarcastic tone).

I do not apologize for that. I've seen her kind before and it gives people with disabilities a bad name. It's actually shameful. Because you have a disability does not give you license to be a nasty person. You get more bees with honey than vinegar, right?

I am considered disabled, (our secret, nobody knows) and do not behave any less than I would want to be treated. I was hit by two cars when I was 18. Then, years later, had to have two ribs removed, the artery and nerve moved and a portion of lung removed. My step- sister, was born with Cerebral Palsy, no kneecap, one leg shorter than the other and has had so many surgeries, to try to help her, she looks like a train track. She was also placed in an Asylum when she was 5 years old. Back in the day, (my step-sister is 50+), when a child had such disabilities, that's what the Doctors told them to do. This place was so horrible, my Aunt, who wrote for 20/20 and People Magazine, did an investigative story and had the place shut down. Throughout it all, my sis rarely complained. Oh, she said she hurt but she never used her disability to get her way, use people or to obtain pity. She was released when she was 22 years old, married and now lives in an Assisted Living situation. I have worked with patients who are bitter and with do anything to grab a pocket full of pity and this is how I am able to see through it. You don't have to be disabled to be a bitter and nasty person though, huh? You don't have to be disabled to use people either, right?

Now, I am only telling you some of this, not to establish that I am mean or unfeeling. I am telling you this, only to validate your feelings. I do not believe you are wrong in this situation. I don't care if they had to bring her in on a stretcher, hooked to an I.V. pole and a heart monitor. She should have respected the event, for what it was. You did your best to accommodate her and that still wasn't good enough, was it? If you ask me and you did, I would label it...
Why, do you think she behaved as she did? I think it was because you were stealing The SIL Show. The attention was on you and her brother and not her. You were stealing her thunder. If it hadn't happened then, it would probably have happened at another big event such as a baby shower or birth and so on. Some people just can't stand to see other people happy, either. She may be quite miserable and you know what they say, "Misery loves company." She just screwed up and drove you away. I'm quite sure, she thought she'd get her way completely. You'd feel so sorry for her, you'd crumble and she'd have you exactly where she wants you and anybody that comes in contact with her and her world. I feel bad for her husband, oh my?
The question is; How can we point all this out to her?

The Answer

I think you should edit this post, your answer here and send it to her, along with how you feel. What do you have to lose, at this point. She really needs someone, to point out that she is behaving rather childishly and with complete disregard for her brother, amongst others.


You can pray for Wisdom and write her a letter. In that letter, you state that you want to end this bitter feud. I am a huge fan of writing letters. When you try to talk to someone, in a heated situation with added discomfort, the letter does not allow for them to take a defensive posture and not hear what you have to say. The added bonus, is that quite often, for many people, what they read, may sink in deeper than what they've read. This is true, especially, when they'll want to come back in a nasty way. This takes away their ammunition and render's them equalized for that moment. The way you term things, the psychology of it all, will be the key.

I would tell her that, you no longer want to keep up or fuel this chaos in the family, it has been damaging and serves no purpose(She will have to look at the whole affair and if she continues, after you've made this statement, then she is the one that is not acting on behalf of the family). You tell her, that you make this gesture for her brothers sake. You state that you no longer want strife in the family over what should have been a memorable occasion for "her" brother(emphasis is taken off of your feelings and placed on her brother and how she is treating him). You tell her, that you are trying, to be adult about this, for the sake of the family and you would hope she could do the same(She will then, hopefully look at the fact that it is not a mature stance, she has taken). Tell her, that it was never your intention to offend her but you had done all you could to accommodate her and her needs (She will have to look at the fact that you did offer her a lot of leeway and hopefully see that she was acting in a pitiful manner, using her disability to get her way). State that you want to end this long, arduous and painful feud, as you know in your heart that it is not good for the family(See, now you have made it very clear, if she continues this whole affair, she must not care how her family feels). State that you no longer want to inconvenience the family to accommodate, the two of you and a bad situation or bad blood between the two of you. Why should they suffer for a disagreement between the two of you? Can we end this, for the sake of the family and especially, "Your Brother?" Then, you say, "How can we end this?"

See, you've not apologized and you've not really given in. You've kept your dinity and served up a slice of humble pie, for you both to share, of course she'll get a much larger piece than yours cause you are not the selfish one, right, lol? I think you have detoured, the whole responsibility and the weight or burden back where it belongs. It's doubtful, she'll even realize it. If after you've written this letter and sent it to her and she does not respond in a favorable stature, you can no longer carry the burden, in any way, shape or form. You have made an attempt with no admission of guilt. It will seem that you have the best interests of the family and her brother, in your heart. If she does not respond in a favorable manner, it shows her true selfish colors and she's just a waste of time, energy and you are so much better off, without her baggage on your mind. I pray, her heart will warm and she'll be receptive and maybe even read between the lines. I pray for your wisdom and words.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

~Sound Advice~

Listen to me friends, heed the warning, live and learn...

Never take a sleeping pill and a laxative, all in the same night, please!!

~Love Knows No Heirarchy~

This was sent to Aunt B via email...

Dear Aunt B,
I am a new great aunt, but because we lost our mother at an early age (12) I am also considered the grandmother because I have taken care of all my younger siblings all through their lives and have been there for numerous births. I am sure my sister wants first dibs on grandmother, but where do I fit in on giving advice etc .without stepping on toes? We have our first great-grand-baby due tomorrow.
Thanks, Lynn

Aunt B said...

Hi Lynn,

Wow, this is a bit vague but the title of this post speaks the answer, huh? As family, you have a right in the say so of all things, if you choose and the family member is receptive.
In today's world, things are different than they were years upon years ago. We now have more step families but we've always had your situation, where a sibling raises the family. Unfortunately, especially in days gone by, the parent or parents often dyed young, leaving a sibling to do the rearing. There was often no choice. It commendable that you all got through it but to persevere is a dying art, as well.

Your Mother died and none of you are really the Grandmother, correct? But let me tell you this; I adopted my daughter, when she was 15 years old. She came into my home and became part of my family. In reality she is not my daughter, now is she? I did not give birth to her, do I have a right to want her to call me Mom? No, I do not have a right to it. There is no entitlement but it sure made me feel good when she starting calling me Mom and my husband Dad. In turn, when she had her first and only daughter, I was Grandma. I loved it, even though I was kind of young, when my Grandbaby called out to me, "Grandma." It felt really good and I can understand.
Your situation is a bit different, is it not? I do not know just how close, you and you siblings are? If you are close, I invite you to sit down and talk about this. I do not mean to offend any of you but not one of you has the right to claim to be Grandma, really? So, for the sake of the child, you must work this out. When the child grows up, can they explain or can you explain to them the connection, the family tree? I think it is also honorable to want to fill that gap, that void, so the child does have a Grandparent. This is a touchy situation and I think it comes down to who is oldest, maybe? I am having a hard time answering this because it is evident that I don't have the whole story? What is wrong with you all just being Aunts and Uncles, unless you've already started the process of changing roles? Is this what happened? You did say, that there were already, several births, right? Who is or have you already designated someone as Grandmother? If you are already, "Grandma," why change it?

Even if you are or are not, you should be there, as family in all things. If this means that you give advice, it is because you care. Being a "know it all" and "my word is the law" is different than a family member that cares and wants only the best for their entire family, right? I think you only want the best for this child.

My Answer

Not one of you has the entitlement or reserve to call yourself "The Grandmother." So, you must work it out amongst you and try not to confuse things and especially in regards to the child and their hold on understanding the family tree. Regardless of what you want or your sister wants, or the feelings involved, you must do the right thing to not confuse the child. I invite you to have your family read this. I invite you all, to then sit down and really talk this out. The child will love you regardless of title, if you are there, an active figure in their lives. They will most certainly, be a fortunate person, to have the love and thoughtfulness of an Aunt. Many people have little or no family. So, it is a wonderful thing, that you all care enough to give this new child a sense of family. I hope, you can all, work this out. Please send me more information, so I may understand, if this has not been helpful. I do hope things turn out well and for the interest of the children. My prayers are with you!

Hopefully a big Congrats is in order very soon.


Aunt B

Monday, March 12, 2007

Some Things Are Better Left Dead

This was sent to Aunt B via email...

Aunt B
I could really use some advice. I am currently a freshman at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I dated an awesome girl for two years while I was in high school but decided to call it quits due to the long distance(I lived in Ohio during this time). After we broke up, my friends and I decided to plan a senior trip to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. During my time on vacation, my best girlfriend and I had sex. To add a third dimension, it was my brother's ex. I have had a guilty conscious about it ever since, but have somehow kept it locked inside. This has had a tremendous impact on me because she was only the second person I ever had sex with. The third girl was at UAB(My College). Within the last couple of months, my ex-girlfriend and I have decided to get back together, but when the subject of sex came up I became really uncomfortable and lied to her. I want to tell her the truth, but am afraid it could ruin our relationship forever. What should I do? And should I tell my brother about me and his ex?

Aunt B said...

Dear Grant,

I feel you on this, right here, right now...

It's odd that you would say this as I just spoke with my ex's brother. I slept with him and fully understand that feeling, that guilt you speak of. That was almost 20 years ago, that I did the dirty deed. My husband (common-in-law) and I had broken up. He was extremely abusive. I put him in jail, after he put me in the hospital. His brother comforted me and you can take it from there. I immediately regretted it and always have. I have gone to my Higher Power and asked for forgiveness and I believe I am forgiven. But I do have guilt from time to time. I resumed a disastrous relationship with my husband. Maybe it was Stockholm Syndrome or just good old mental illness but I went on to have a 19 year relationship, before I got out. I never told him that I slept with his brother. In my case, he probably would have beat me half to death. I speak to him now and then because of our son. His brother answered the phone, thus my memory of the incident.
Now, this is different, your situation and I realize this. Your brother was no longer with this girl, right? I really don't see what you did, sleeping with this girl as an attack or hurtful act upon your own brother. It's an unwritten rule to not go out with your brother's ex's and that's what it was, his ex.

I am all about confessing to a Higher Power, Priest, Rabbi, Confidant or whomever you trust, just to get it out. I may get some flack on this but...some things are better off dead.
I do not feel that, when you go into a relationship, that you owe them a sexual resume or list. Just as you do not owe them every single thing that you did as a child, teen, young adult, whatever, that you are not particularly proud of. In fact, I feel that, each relationship you start in, you start with a clean slate. What good does it do, to know who or how many people either of you, have slept with?

past is "Your" past, as well as her past is hers. You have no right to her past and she has no right to yours...leave it there, in the past. Now, don't misconstrue what I am saying here; if you have not been practicing safe sex with each and every person, are you going to tell her/him? Probably not, so get tested. It is a murderous/unscrupulous act, to infect someone because you were not responsible.This is harsh but fact, ok? This is a huge black and white area here. Of course, we pretend there are gray areas here and we are not responsible. Every time you sleep with someone, you are sleeping with their past, especially, if they have not been responsible. In a perfect world, we would not have all these diseases but we do and they are so real and so very scary. I've seen it up close and personal, people dying from Hep C and AIDS/HIV. My first husband died from the effects of Hep C and I suffer from it as well. So, it's very real.
"I never thought it would happen to me,"
would be my famous last words, huh?

I know, without a doubt, some would say different, that honesty is the best policy but I feel, no one has a right to make you divulge every thing, every sexual partner or encounter. Do you really want to know every single guy, your girl has slept with? I mean really, you've got three on your roster. What if she has more or vice versa? It should not be a matter for discussion and I don't know who made up this awful rule. Some things are better left dead.

When you start a relationship, a serious relationship, be faithful, start with a clean slate and be honest when it comes to your feelings with that person. What I mean is this; If you love them with all your heart, tell them.Communicate. If you are not happy and want out, don't fool around and then go back and say, "Hey, uh, I don't think this is working?" Now, you owe them honesty, you owe that relationship honesty and you tell them that you have been unfaithful and you move on. Hopefully, you'll be honest and not get in that jam. It really hurts the most when you've been betrayed, the last one to know, when your relationship's not working and your spouse or boyfriend, has fooled around. I truly loathe a liar, someone telling me that they love me but twisting the truth only to benefit their urges. They just love to make excuses for that behavior, too!

Your Answer

Get Tested. Assuming you get a clean result, you make it known that the past is the past and "They are your future. Them and only them and that's what matters." Go to your Higher Power and talk and tell. Be responsible in this and other relationships. Sex does complicate things, doesn't it? Learn restraint. If this old relationship does work, do not complicate it with nonsense, that only clutters a clean slate. Be faithful to her or tell her it's not working and move on before you look or shop somewhere else.

Mistakes are only mistakes, if you've not learned from them. If you learned from them, they are no longer mistakes, now they are, "Learning Experiences." May you have many of these.

PS, You gotta watch those damn Spring Breaks. I went to Ocean City, Md. for Spring Break 1975 and came back pregnant. I didn't think, nor did he, that that would happen! It changed and altered my life. Wear a condom!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

~Points To Ponder~

I received this via email. It's touching. Copy and send it to someone you love. Don't think you or they will live forever. Say what needs to be!
¸...¸ __/ /\____
,·´º o`·,/__/ _/\_ //____/\

```)¨(´´´ | | [1] | | [1]| | |[1] || |l±±±±
¸,-·²°´ ¸,.-·~·~·-.,¸ `°²·-. :º°

One day someone's mother died.

And on that clear, cold morning,
in the warmth of h er bedroom,

the daughter was struck with
the pain of learning that sometimes
There isn't any more.

No more hugs,

no more lucky moments to celebrate together,

no more phone calls just to chat,

No more "just one minute."

Sometimes, what we care about the most goes away.

never to return before we can say good-bye,

Say "I Love You."

¸...¸ __/ /\____
,·´º o`·,/__/ _/\_ //____/\
```)¨(´´´ | | [1] | | [1]| | |[1] || |l±±±±
¸,.-·²°´ ¸,.-·~·~·-.,¸ `°²·-. :º°

So while we have it . . it's best we love it .
And care for it and fix it when it's broken .
and take good care of it when it's sick.

This is true for marriage
.... and friendships ..

And children with bad report cards;

And dogs with bad hips;

And aging parents and grandparents.

We keep them because they are worth it,

Because we cherish them!

¸....¸ __/ /\____

,·´º o`· ,/__/ _/\_ //____/\
```)¨(´´´ | | [1] | | [1]| | |[1] || |l±±±±
¸,.-·²°´ ¸,.-·~· ~·-.,¸ `°²·-. :º°

Some things we keep --

like a best friend who moved away

or a classmate we grew up with.

There are just some things that

us happy, No matter what.

¸..¸ __/ /\____
,·´º o`·,/__/ _/\_ //____/\
```)¨(´´´ | | [1] | | [1]| | |[1] || |l±±±±
¸,.-·²°´ ¸,.-·~·~·-.,¸ `°²·-. :º°

Life is important,

and so are the people we know .
And so, we keep them close!

¸...¸ __/ /\____
,·´º o`·,/__/ _/\_ //____/\
```)¨(´´´ | | [1] | | [1]| | |[1] || |l±±±±
¸ ,.-·²°´ ¸,.-·~·~·-.,¸ `°²·-. :º°

I recei ved this from someone today

who thought I was a 'KEEPER'!

Then I sent It to the people
Think of in the same way!

Now it's your turn to send this to all those people

Are "keepers" in your life!

¸...¸ __/ /\____
,·´º o`·,/__/ _/\_ //____/\
```)¨(´´´ | | [1] | | [1]| | |[1] || |l±±±±
¸,.-·²°´ ¸,.-·~·~·-.,¸ `° ²·-. :º°

Thank you very much
For being a special part of MY Life!

¸...¸ __/ /\____
,·´º o`·,/__/ _/\_ //____/\
```)¨(´´´ | | [1] | | [1]| | |[1] || |l±±±±
¸,.-·²°´ ¸,.-·~·~·-.,¸ `°²·-. °

are a Keeper!

"Life moves pretty fast.
If you don't stop and look around once in awhile,
you could miss it."
"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle"

Monday, March 05, 2007

~Walking Through the Fire~

Dear Aunt B,

My sister is 48 years old and is a widow. She receives $350.00/month for a
pension. She will not keep a job because she usually thinks the employer is
giving her a raw deal and has said she does not really want to work for
other people. She does not want a minimum wage job but she has no education
or skills. She has a son living at home who has two good jobs but he
refuses to pay any rent or utilities. The problem is she is about to have
her house repossessed because she cannot pay. I am not rich and make just
enough to stay above water. What should I do besides pray for her,
encourage her to get a job, and point her to local agencies for help in
training for a job or in avoiding foreclosure?

Aunt B said...

It occurs to me, that you are a kind and gentle soul. I would not want to be in your shoes, not at all. I feel for you as well as your sister.

I have owned homes and I have lost them, more than once. So, I know the devastation it can cause. At the same time, I feel like saying that sometimes we need to lose everything, to gain what is most important. This is a tough situation, it really is. I don't know all the proponents of the game nor do I know if you've helped her in the past. Regardless, I think that you need to proceed with care, with caution. I would not want you, to lose your sister over this. Money should never come between family or friends but you are backed in a corner here.

My gut instincts tell me to say to you, that your sister has been so busy being a victim, she has lost touch with reality. I mean, is it realistic for a son to live at home and not help with the bills? You and I know that it is wrong. She is allowing this, apparently. Of course, the son, must have less scruples than genius? After all, if you could work, save money and not pay a dime out, would you not do it? The thing is though, he is doing it to his own Mom which is beyond incorrigible and loathsome. It is the son, that should be helping her, not you. But you knew that. I could almost understand it, if the son didn't have a job but it almost makes it worse because he does, two to boot.

If you weigh it out, which I'm sure you have, you come to a few conclusions. If you help her, financially, you may, just prolong things. If you help her, it may send mixed signals, that all is right with the world as it is and nothing will be gained.

I do not like hurting any one, much less a family member but enabling them is just as bad. That means, your sister is enabling her son and if you help her, in a financial aspect, you are enabling them both. So, is there a solution here?

I think that it is time for your Sister to see the ramifications of her situation. If she needs to redefine her, "Values and Beliefs," now is the time to do it. It's easy to think we are all that and shouldn't pay our dues. It is then, that we will be humbled. I had worked as a Chef for one of the Eastern Seaboards finest restaurants. But when I went to prison, they put me in the dish room. I had to work my way up the ladder to become 1st Cook. Woohoo! My point is that Sis needs to humble herself and realistically look at things. You can bet your butt, I know how she feels. She has a grown son, yet she can't get a good paying job, fitting her life skills. It is humbling. Losing everything, hurts even more, so which shall it be?

Laying down a cushion will not bring around change and in turn, the behavior will continue. Unfortunately, I had to learn this "tough love" philosophy, myself. I have lived in my car and I know what it is to lose everything. I have gone to prison and come out with only the clothes on my back, a plastic cup and spoon and a bit of sanity. But I survived and in turn, I realized that my behaviors are what brought me down. It was a real kick in the teeth. I played the victim. I was abused, beaten and tormented but "I" allowed it. I only tell you this, so you see or know my affirmation with your theory, of steering her in the right direction and fervent prayer. I am a firm believer in prayer. I also believe that God does want us to rely on Him. He doesn't like ugly and he sure has an aversion for stupid and those that play stupid. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss but when we consciously look the other way, God does find a way to wake us up. He'll hold our hand, as we walk through the learning fires and comfort us when it's over. We'll then realize that the finest gold is tempered.
So, if you asked me, I'd say to tell your Sister, that you will pray with her, for her reassurance, wisdom and understanding. You will help her with the leads to agencies that may help her get on her feet, in a subsidized manner. That doesn't mean you do it for her. That means, you might look through the resources available to her and give her the phone numbers.
I think, the key issue that poses itself to me, is your Nephew, her son. She has got to realize, that she is not being the good mother, she thinks she's being. By allowing him to think he's getting over, that he's on a free ride, it has all the earmarkings of an entitlement personality. That is a behavior that facilitates a survivalist mentality. "I do what I have to do, to get along." It is the kind of person that is willing to explain away right from wrong, good from bad. They are best at giving, every explanation in the world, to justify their behavior. He'll make excuses to justify the very fact that he would take advantage of his own Mother, to meet his own trappings. I don't like it but Mom, your Sister has got to put her foot down and stop being a victim here. She's doing no one a favor. She's the one, that's going to suffer for it, while her son moves rosily along. He needs to step up to bat, man up and do the right thing. If he does not, mark my words, Mz.Karma will be calling.
Far be it from me to want to misdirect you. I advise you to pray fervently, for wisdom for yourself and your sister. Somehow, I feel if you can weather this storm and hold fast, not giving in, all the way, she will be forced to take action and do the right thing. The right thing would be, for her to require, from her son, some much needed assistance. He owes her that and it's a sad state of affairs that you, her sister, should even have to worry like this. Sometimes, we have to pray with our soul, a prayer from deep within us for God's will, to be done. Now, is one of those times, I believe, to pray and..."Let Go and Let God."