Dear Carolyn: As the youngest of seven kids by a fair margin, and who didnt resemble anyone on either side of the family, I was always ostracized by my father, who made it very clear to everyone that I was not his. My siblings followed his lead and the only vaguely familial relationship Ive had in the past 30 years was with my mother and my husbands family.
Recently, in a twist worthy of a soap opera, one of my brothers needed a transplant, and I was the only compatible donor.
I guess that was enough to prove paternity to them, because now Im receiving invitations to family gatherings, but no apologies.
It would have meant everything to me when I was younger, but Ive made my peace, and have no desire to associate with them. I wasnt going to let my brother suffer, but wonder if they would have done the same for me.
How do I tactfully tell them to leave me alone?
I suppose its glib to say youre all set, you gave at the doctors office.
Fortunately, your phrasing here seems ideal: These invitations would have meant everything to me when I was younger. It allows you to make your point while choosing not to say that theyve shown you their souls as theyve shown no one else, and you want to get no closer to people of such low quality.
As a proponent of inclusion and forgiveness wherever possible, Id usually turn now to an argument for accepting these invitations anyway.
But theres nothing to work with here.
If your family were capable of grasping their role as your unwitting moral tutors, then surely theyd be proud of the way you turned out. Your thanks-but-no-thanks stance isnt hurtful; its a right they helped you earn.
Dear Carolyn: Since my ex-girlfriend broke up with me, weve hung out a couple of times. I figured Id give trying to be friends (or at least not enemies) a shot. But, I cant do it. Not only is it impossible for me to move on with my own life, but I also have some serious trust issues with her. Also, if she put forth some effort to keep in touch with me, I might think otherwise, but she doesnt.
Whats the best way to handle ending things once and for all, once the relationship has ended? Do I owe her an in-person meeting or would a phone call suffice?
MOVING ON FOR GOOD THIS TIME
Since Exies not matching your effort, your best way is there for the taking: Stop getting in touch with her.
You apparently see this as deserving of milestone treatment and its certainly fine to say goodbye with your own needs in mind. However, please do so only with full awareness that Exie might not play the role youve mentally scripted for her. Imagine arranging an evening of The Last Time We Ever See Each Other import, and she responds with an eye-roll or a shrug. Are you ready for that?
Its not quite as memorable as taking her hands in yours and wishing her a nice life. But what do you need more now to say goodbye to her, or to break free for you?
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