DEAR ABBY: My sister and I have a close but complicated relationship. She always embellished the stories about me when she talked to others, and most of the time they painted me in a bad light. I usually ignore them when they come back to me, because I choose to choose my battles with her.
In the past, when I confronted her, she blasted me, accused me of being the liar, and stopped talking to me for long periods of time. I value our relationship too much for it to be permanent, so I’m the one who always breaks the ice and tries to work things out. She never took the first step to redeem herself.
Recently, she suffered a traumatic brain injury and, although she is doing well, her “embellishments” have worsened. They have reached the point where other people are questioning me and my motives. I haven’t confronted her about this since her brain injury, as I don’t know if her behavior has worsened due to her health issues. Some of his personality traits have amplified since the injury, and I don’t know if it’s another.
I don’t want to hurt our relationship if it’s something that can’t be resolved because of his injury. Should I face it, or stay silent and maintain our relationship? — COMPLICATED IN THE WEST
DEAR COMPLICATED: If confronting your obviously struggling brother would resolve the situation, I would advise you to do so. But his pattern is to blow up on you, accuse you of lying, not talk to you, and not change his ways. WHY you would want a “close relationship” with someone like that is mystifying, because the closer you are to her, the more ammunition she has to slander you.
My advice is to distance yourself, and if you find out she lied about you, give the person a sad smile and say, “You know, my poor sister had a brain injury. Period.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 60 year old male with a background in information technology. I was recently offered paid training for the commercial driver’s license, which involves a good year of driving coast to coast. It makes a lot of money, but my mom is against it, probably because it means less time to spend with her. My brother lives two hours away and visits him maybe once a month, while I visit him twice a week.
I don’t really want to continue in IT, but I’m not ready to stop. I get a lot of feedback here, including unrealistic suggestions for local employment. How to manage these conflicting pressures? — CHOICE IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR CHOICES: If the only thing stopping you from expanding your work experience by getting that commercial driver’s license is your mother’s objection that you won’t be able to visit her twice a week — and her health is good — it’s time to decide what would make more sense for your future.
Because his local job suggestions are unrealistic, now might be the time to start planning for your long-term financial future. Long-haul trucking may be your most realistic option at this point. Talk to your mom before you make your final decision, to make sure she has an adequate support system.
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 or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.