Dear Amy: I’m going through a bit of a crisis. You see, shortly before my mother died of cancer last year, she kept a diary detailing in graphic detail about how awful I was and how hard it was dealing with my outbursts (which, I have to admit, were pretty brutal).
I have autism, and while my own outbursts were definitely a factor, my mother dealt out her own verbal outbursts.
Dad says he’s thinking of publishing her diary so that people know “what it’s really like.” Honestly, I don’t feel comfortable with this, but he says he “promised her on her deathbed” that he’d do this.
Not only do I feel uncomfortable with him doing this, but a future employer could be taking a look at this.
However, I’m terrified of confronting him because I’m concerned about his rebuttal. What should I do?
Dear Anonymous: It might help if you wrote down your thoughts in the form of a letter. Express your concerns logically and by using neutral language.
Your father’s choice and the way he presented it is unkind toward you. So far, he’s presented it as a threat.
After you express your thoughts, be patient. He’s dealing with his own loss and anger, and as time goes on, he’ll likely rethink this disrespectful choice.
Dear Amy: I graduated from college 45 years ago. I belonged to a sorority.
I had five close friends, two of whom I kept in contact with over the years. The three others drifted away my senior year when I took a semester abroad.
Despite my efforts to stay in touch, those three never wrote or acknowledged my letters, and when I returned for my last semester, they acted like strangers. Apparently, they resented my leaving because I had been the linchpin that held the five of us together.
At graduation we had all agreed to meet and introduce each other to our parents and other family members. The three never showed, nor did they try to contact me to explain or to say goodbye. They just vanished. I remember feeling hurt at the time but moved on with my life.
I never heard from them again, until recently.
Two of the three contacted me to see if I was planning to attend our 45th reunion, just as if nothing had happened. I kept my response light and friendly but made it clear that I had no plans to attend.
My two closest college friends are not going, either.
While I forgive these women, I do not trust them. I feel that if we got together in order to renew our relationship, I would need to confront them over how they hurt me.
Frankly, I’m just not interested in doing this. My philosophy is to either forgive and let go, or, if you cannot, then confront and try to work it out.
I forgave them long ago, but does that mean we can just pick up where we left off?
Am I being petty?
Dear Moved On: You are not being petty. You are making a choice, based on your instincts.
Your two closer friends are not attending, and so the only reason I could imagine you wanting to go – and it’s a strong one – is curiosity.
Don’t you wonder how these mean girls turned out? Aren’t you curious about how they would respond if you asked them to explain the dynamic and their behavior from so long ago?
Understand that there is a likelihood that they would brush off your query by claiming not to remember this episode; there is also the possibility that they would, as a group, find a way to blame you for it.
But these landmark reunions can be occasions where people close a circle around questions from their past. They also offer opportunities to renew or form friendships with people you didn’t know very well back then.
I applaud your willingness to forgive these three, and your story illustrates perfectly the truism that forgiveness is a liberating virtue.
But forgetting? That is another matter.
Dear Amy: Responding to “Frustrated Mom,” whose mother-in-law wouldn’t abide by her “rules” for the kids, I have a saying: “What goes on at Grandma’s house stays at Grandma’s house!”
This grandmother is probably doing these parents a favor babysitting, and parents have the audacity to complain!
I did not like your answer.
Dear Grandma: As long as you compare your home to Las Vegas, the kids might love you, but their parents should be wary.
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