Annie Lane: Frustrated by family
Dear Annie: All my life, since I was a kid, I always got abuse, judgment and blame from my own family. Now, as an adult, I still get all of that. When I got divorced, my family thought it was their right to judge and blame me. And they cut me off like I didn’t exist. It’s like I did some terrible crime so they had to punish me. There have been so many family functions and gatherings over the last few years, but no one invited me, as though I didn’t matter. It was hard, but I tried to deal with it, and slowly moved on with my new normal.
Then, earlier this year, out of nowhere, my sister contacted me after so many years as if nothing happened. And she still seems to think that they did nothing wrong. And I have a hard time accepting what my sisters and brother did to me. So, I expressed to them that I was still upset about the way they treated me in the past — and then the attacks started. They said that the reason I was divorced was because I was so difficult.
Just to be clear, they were the ones who cut me off. I didn’t break my relations with them. But it looks like that is the only way they will accept me if I agree that it was all my fault, that I deserved to be cut off. How do I accept it? I am a human being and didn’t deserve such cruelty and punitive behaviors.
Please help me. Am I right to feel the way I do? Was it cruel for my family right to throw me out when they felt like it and then contact me again when they felt like it? I can fight the world, but I can’t figure out how to deal with my own family.
— Bewildered and Beleaguered by Family
Dear Bewildered: Feelings are not right or wrong. They simply are. But your hurt feelings are certainly understandable. It sounds as though you’ve been hauling some heavy emotional baggage for a long time — far more than I can begin to unpack in the space of a column. I strongly encourage you to seek therapy, and if the first therapist you find isn’t a great fit, try another. With counseling, you can find peace within yourself, no matter what’s going on with your family.
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Dear Annie: You mentioned the great need for blood and plasma, but platelets and double reds are also in great need. My local Red Cross is open 365 days a year to collect these vital life-savers.
Dear Pete: I appreciate the important addendum. Platelets are essential in surviving and fighting cancer, chronic diseases and traumatic injuries. The American Red Cross says that every 15 seconds someone needs platelets. Because donated platelets must be used within five days, new donors are needed daily. Not all blood donation centers are capable of taking platelets. For more information, visit www.redcrossblood.org; from the website menu select “Donate Blood > Types of Blood Donations” and then click “Learn more about platelet donations.” Or call 1 (800) 733-2767.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.