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Dear Mrs. Web,

My parents, both in their 70ís, had a fire in their condo. They live about 7 miles from me. I moved them here to my house, found them a temporary apartment, and have been dealing with the contractors, insurance, condo management, and utilities. I did this along with my part-time job and caring for our young daughter. I also fixed their meals and made them feel comfortable in our home.

I have two sisters in the area; one who lives about 12 miles from here and another who lives within a mile of my parentís apartment. While I was helping Mom and Dad neither one of them called or asked to help.

I am feeling very resentful towards them both. I think they should have offered to do more during this difficult time. My parents, however, think I am being unreasonable. They say if I had called either of them, they would have helped. I feel they should have pitched in, or at least called and asked. May I have your opinion? No one except my husband seems to think I have the right to be upset.

The Bill of Rights does not contain the Right to Be Upset.  How you respond is your choice. 

I understand your frustration. Your sisters are not as thoughtful as you are. Most people arenít. This is not something to become upset about. That would be useless emotional grief.

You have learned from this. When there is something that needs doing in your family, you will have to ask for help in order to receive it. This is very common. Most people wait to be told what to do. Very few people take the reins. That is why there are more workers than managers.

You have also learned something good about yourself. You are proactive and good management material. Donít blow up your family over this, it is not worth it. Next time Ė ask for what you need. All good managers learn to this, it is called delegating.


Dear Mrs. Web,

My 78-year-old mother became ill last year. She and I decided to have me move in with her. We split the costs on remodeling and I have a small apartment in the large house. I want to be there for my mother. 

She has improved since I moved in. I am stuck here; I cannot afford to move. We get along well but I miss my own privacy. When I moved in, I agreed to pay half the utility costs.

My mother insists I use more than half of the utilities each month.   Therefore, she calculates her costs on a bill she received before I moved in. She pays half of the bill and I am stuck with the balance of the costs. My son calculated the bill and tells me this is totally unfair. Do you think this is right?

Utility prices go up and down and it is my opinion you should share costs 50-50. In your shoes, I would discuss this with her. Perhaps your son being present would be a help to explain the math. If she still disagrees, wellÖthis would not be the hill I would die on. Just let it go. Everyone has her odd spots and this just might be your motherís

Dear Mrs. Web,

My father, who was a very moral and strict man when I was a child, has been having a five-year affair with a woman my age who was my best friend. They carry on behind their spousesí backs in front of the entire community. They have lied to me and everyone else about it.

My father says this is none of my business and that I have a too vivid imagination. I wrote him a letter to explain how betrayed I feel by all the lying, and how hard it was to watch our family breakup over this. He chose not to respond.

I honestly have lost my appetite, and am haunted almost nightly by my dreams. Everywhere I go someone has something to say about this scandal and it is humiliating. My whole family is so angry. I know you are supposed to love your father unconditionally, but I am having a really hard time accepting my fatherís behaviors. I just feel this is wrong.

It is wrong and you are hurt and betrayed. I am sorry. Your father has been very clear he will continue to pursue this affair with your former friend. He is being clear that he heard your objections and that they donít much matter.

You will need to develop some detachment about this situation. With the detachment, you should be able to weather the humiliation of watching your father make a fool of himself. These people are two adults who have decided to flout the moral conventions of your community and hurt many people. They should be rightly shunned by polite society. 

There is a difference between loving your father because of the relationship and accepting his behaviors. He is your father, that will never change, no matter what he does. That he is acting like a bounder and a cad is a fact and does not require any unconditional support.



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