Dear Abby: My older brother is toxic. I want to cut ties with him because he has always criticized, antagonized, marginalized and dismissed me. He has no filters and also criticizes and ridicules my grown children. I’ve had enough.
If I were ghosted, I’d want to know why and not be blindsided. But it’s pointless to engage or explain to him. He’s a lifelong bachelor with no children or significant other, so he has me in his will if he goes first. I would be physically ill to inherit his estate — home, car, funds and personal effects. I want nothing from him. Should I notify his attorney and copy my brother that I wish to be removed from his will? — Other Brother in Washington
Dear Other Brother: It would be even more effective if you include in your letter the reasons for your decision.
Dear Abby: I have been divorced from “Mildred” for 10 years. I have been with my girlfriend, “Eleanor,” for five years, and we are serious. (She was not the cause of the divorce; Mildred’s temper was.) My daughter’s boyfriend plans to propose to her at a surprise party. All her friends and family will be there. Mildred is hosting the party, and she’s refusing to allow Eleanor to attend. My ex and Eleanor have never seen or spoken to each other. What should I do? –Excited Dad in New Jersey
Dear Dad: What you should NOT do is allow your ex-wife’s vindictiveness to dictate your social life. If you would like to bring your girlfriend of five years to the party, make plain to your ex that you’re bringing her, and then do it. Mildred does not have to like Eleanor to behave like a gracious hostess and a lady. (She probably could benefit from counseling, but do not suggest it.)
Actually, counseling might be helpful for you and Eleanor to help you learn how to handle Mildred in the future, because there will probably be more family celebrations. You have my sympathy.
Dear Abby: I am a daughter who has spent 40 years helping out my parents. My father passed away seven years ago, and I miss him every day. My mother, whom I love very much, has become very needy, demanding and vocal in running all of our lives since Dad’s death. I’m at my wit’s end and don’t know what to do. My mother wants to be waited on hand and foot and has become very lazy. She’s 85 and has no major health issues. What do I do before she drives us all nuts? — Frustrated in Iowa
Dear Frustrated: Because your mother is in good health and of sound mind, I presume, it may be time for a family intervention. Explain that you love her, but you all have busy lives, and she is going to have to assume more responsibility for herself.
Encourage her to become active with her church or to seek out volunteer opportunities, and guide her toward the nearest senior center where she can find companionship, commiseration and activities she may enjoy to fill her time. I wish you luck. You are all still in the midst of a transition, and they are rarely easy.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com