Woman's estranged sister married ex-husband

(Johan Larson/Fotolia.com)

(Johan Larson/Fotolia.com)

Amy Dickinson, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

DEAR AMY: My sister and I have been estranged for several years. The issues involve mistrust, dishonesty, financial and emotional manipulation, and her choice to marry my ex-husband!

After this she has proceeded to spread untrue information about me to our extended family and friends, in an effort to sway their feelings about me and my family.

I could cite more instances of outrageous behaviour, but I think you get the picture.

What is your take on this? What am I supposed to say to people when they suggest that my sister and I make amends with each other? I'm up to my eyeballs with this. - On the Edge

DEAR EDGE: I'm struggling to imagine the context in which people feel free to suggest that you must reconcile with someone who is something of a danger to you. I'm not suggesting that your sister is actually physically dangerous, but that this relationship is toxic and depleting and not good for you. Given what you report, the "amends" should be offered by her - and are up to you to accept (or not).

If you don't discuss your sister (or your relationship with her) openly, then people will not be prompted to weigh in. If people suggest or insist that you make amends (unprompted), then you don't need to justify - or even respond. If you want, you can say, "I hear what you're saying, but I don't want to discuss this with you."

DEAR AMY: My brother had a son several years ago following a nasty breakup. They spent time together until the boy became an adult, and my brother had another child with his current wife. Now, our family never sees the first son.

My sister and I are friends with our nephew on social media. He has made comments about my brother, and it's obvious he feels hurt and angry that his father is not in his life.

My brother makes no effort to see him and thinks it's completely up to his son to revive their relationship. How can I convince my brother to accept his responsibility as a father without being told to mind my own business? - Concerned Aunt

DEAR CONCERNED: You cannot control how other people respond to you. Being told to mind your own business seems a small personal price to pay to encourage your brother to accept his own son and have a relationship with him.

If you attempt to influence your brother and it doesn't have the effect you desire (and it probably won't), then you should carry on and forge whatever relationship you can with your adult nephew.

Your nephew's choice to play this out on social media is a poor one; he should take his hurt feelings offline. Expressing his thoughts and feelings to his father privately would be honest, and might actually pave the way toward a relationship between the two.


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