Mother dislikes son for his resemblance to her brother
DEAR ABBY: My 25-year-old son is a single father of three boys, 6, 4 and almost 3. They have been living with me, my youngest and my husband in a two-bedroom house for a while now, and I'm not happy with my life.
I enjoy my grandkids, but I don't enjoy my son. He looks and acts like my older brother, who I never liked because he was mean and bullied me even as an adult. What can I say or do to get my son out, and how do I deal with my feelings toward him? I love him, but I don't really like him.
— OVER IT IN NEW MEXICO
DEAR OVER IT: If the only thing you have against your son is his strong physical resemblance to your brother — whom you dislike for good reason — you are being unfair to him. However, this is your home, and if the conditions are no longer pleasant for you, you have the right to change them. Give your son a reasonable deadline to find other living arrangements without alienating him, if that is possible. (Your living conditions ARE crowded right now, so your reason is valid.)
DEAR ABBY: I am the youngest of eight children. My oldest sibling, "Lois," is 72. She is in the habit of returning "gifts" she says I gave to her as far back as 40 years ago. (She doesn't want to deal with getting rid of the items herself.) I think this is extremely rude. Lois does this only with me and one other sister.
Most of the time, I don't even remember the gift, or I already have one of the items. She'll usually attach a "sweet" note to it to make me feel guilty for not keeping it. She will also send it to me via another family member. I try to tell her to pay it forward to someone who could use or enjoy the item, but she ignores me. How do I get her to stop this?
— GIVE AND TAKE IN TEXAS
DEAR GIVE AND TAKE: You can't get Lois to stop, so stop trying. When it happens again, find the humor in it and donate the item to a thrift shop. (Or rewrap it and gift it to another relative for Christmas or a birthday.)
DEAR ABBY: Every day when I bring my lunch to work, one of my co-workers asks, "Hey, what are you eating?" I tell her and offer her some, and she accepts each and every time. This has been going on for weeks. While I'm not against sharing, I would like to enjoy my entire lunch. I think I'm being taken advantage of because I'm polite.
The last time she asked, I told her what I was eating, but did NOT offer her any. Was that wrong? Should I be responsible for feeding her every day? Bear in mind that when she does it, she has already eaten her own lunch.
— HUNGRY IN THE SOUTH
DEAR HUNGRY: During the pandemic, food sharing has become a no-no. I wonder where you got the idea that because someone asks you what you're eating it means you must offer to share it. Now that you know your co-worker is a human vacuum cleaner, continue to just answer her question. If you do, I'm betting she will soon stop asking.
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