“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#1 May 26, 2013
DEAR AMY: I am the mother of five grown children and the grandmother of 13.

My husband has an unmarried sister with whom he has never gotten along. Over time the animosity toward him was transferred to me and our children. For 20 years she was overtly nasty to all of us, especially the children, causing them significant distress. Suffice it to say, she was never close to our family.

After my mother-in-law died, we stopped including this sister in our holidays and special occasions. Now, 25 years later my daughter-in-law has decided to include this aunt when she hosts and has convinced one of my daughters to do likewise.

This upsets me terribly. I am not trying to control their relationships with this distant aunt; obviously they are free to entertain her when and if they choose.

I am just asking that she not be included when our immediate family (24 people) gets together on very special occasions and holidays. Is this a reasonable request from their mother?-- Upset Mother

DEAR MOTHER: You say you are not trying to control these other family relationships, and yet you are.

I realize this is tough, but you have an opportunity to demonstrate your own ability to tolerate and even reconcile, at least a little bit, with someone who has hurt you.

If this in-law has not mellowed with age, she will show her true colors soon enough, and then the younger generation will be faced with the same tough choice you had to make.

DEAR AMY: I’m responding to the letter from “Sad Mom,” whose son has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She wrote about not telling her parents the severity of that horrible terminal illness.

Considering that the elderly parents could be easily upset and might not react well to bad news, your advice was right on. However, I remember my mother telling me several years before she died that one of the worst things she had to deal with was being excluded from news or information because someone thought she couldn’t handle it. She found this extremely insulting and very isolating.“Who do they think I am? I am an adult who has handled bad news in the past and can certainly handle it now!” were her words.

Let’s keep our elderly healthy citizens involved. They have had a lot of life experience and have learned how to deal with problems, and can probably teach those of us not in our 80s or 90s (or 100s) how to react.-- Interested Reader

DEAR READER: I completely understand the frustration of older people who feel they are being isolated from upsetting news. I agree with your view that our elders can continue to mentor and teach us.

DEAR AMY: I think your answer to “Losing It,” who complained about a fellow gymgoer who was extremely thin and always turned off the fans, was wrong.

Why should the people who attend the gym have to confront the person and possibly cause a conflict?

I would just go to the staff and explain that the fans would ease the stuffiness of the gym, and let them deal with the hoodie-clad woman if she tries to turn the fans off again.-- Also Hot and Sweaty

DEAR ALSO: Many readers agree with you.“Losing It” was looking for a way to deal with this without involving management. I think it’s usually best to be brave enough to ask someone courteously to please respect the status quo of the group. If that doesn’t work, management can step in.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 May 26, 2013
DEAR AMY: Your heart was in the right place, but you were off base telling “Doormat” to take her young brother-in-law to the military recruiter if he isn’t willing to look for work.

As a 25-year veteran of the Air Force, I know the military can do a world of good for a young person without skills or direction. However, the military isn’t a dumping ground, and the entry standards are pretty high.

We can and should expect the young people we entrust with our nation’s defense to be smart, honorable and motivated — not our castoffs.-- Veteran

DEAR VETERAN: I understand your point of view, but I have also heard from many other veterans who reported that they were given a similar directive —“a job or the military”— and are glad they chose the military.

Los Angeles, CA

#3 May 26, 2013
L1: I suspect the daughter and daughter-in-law see some possibility of an inheritance from the elderly aunt. What other reason could there be after 25 years of absence?

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#4 May 26, 2013
The LW said the aunt caused the kids distress. Maybe that was the mom's projection and not the kids because it was the kids who reached out.
Or,TiredofIt could be right.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#5 May 26, 2013
1- Agree with PE, sounds like the LW is the one with the issue. I just don't understand "cutting" family members out of your life. You're not the Waltons. Just about every family has that one person people don't particularly care for. You can learn to deal at the once or twice a year gatherings. And maybe inheritance is an issue, but I'm not inclined to immediately go there. Who says she's got money? Not all old people do. And just because she's never married doesn't mean she doesn't have children.(And I find it suspect that the LW would mention her marital status at all. As if being married is what defines a woman.) Distant nieces and nephews likely wouldn't get a bulk of any money anyway (I doubt I'm even mentioned in any of my aunts' wills. Doubt my cousins are mentioned in my mothers'. So no, I don't think that has much to do with anything.) I just think these children don't share their mother's views.

2- I think most people are in agreement that it's not right to keep important info (like a terminal illness) secret from close family members.

3- Was this really worth a rehash? If I'm pumping iron in the gym, some scrawnyass btch doesn't get to dictate whether or not *I* get a fan blown on me. I'd turn that thing right back on again, or tell her not to turn it off in the first place.

4- Three godam rehashes!? The military USED to take the dredges of society, but are those really the people we want using automatic weapons and heavy artillery? Yes, the military has gotten more selective and for the obvious reasons. To have the opinion that the military is for "castoffs" and those who can't hold a "real" job is an insult to the honest, hard-working military personnel and veterans.

Salinas, CA

#6 May 26, 2013
Edog for the win on all of today's letters.

LW1: While there are extreme cases where people need to cut toxic relatives out of their lives, most of the time, you just need to put that one person on ignore for a couple of hours. Everyone should learn how to do that; it is a useful skill.

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