Q. Without going into lengthy detail, we have been dealing with a bad relative for at least five years. We have constantly dealt with their inappropriate behavior. It has gotten to the point now that we don’t even want to deal with this person anymore, but if we cut ties, they twist stories around and make us look bad.
This person cries a (lying) sob story to the family matriarch to con money from her, and she falls for it every time.
I am tired of being stressed about this person; everyone is walking on eggshells.
I feel we shouldn’t have to do something just to appease this person. It will only encourage and condone their behavior. Yet we don’t want to ruffle the family feathers.
Normally I would say the hell with it — we should do what we feel is right.
The bigger part of the problem is the family matriarch. She is so controlling, everyone is afraid to cross her for fear of her cutting them out of the family (and her will).
A. You need to decide what is most important to you — your own personal and emotional integrity, or the (possibly slim) chance of some financial gain down the road.
You cannot count on someone who behaves poorly to ever change. Only know that if you tolerate and condone this behavior, it will continue, and likely escalate — because people like this tend to raise the stakes in order to control people who are growing tired of being manipulated.
The way out is through true liberation. You just say, “I’m done dancing around you. Do what you are going to do and say what you’re going to say . . . it no longer matters to me.”
First you have to genuinely not give the tiniest hoot about what people (whom you don’t respect anyway) think of you. You also have to be willing to say “bye-bye” to any money that is dangling over your head.
If you can manage this, you will be the envy of your family, as they continue to walk on eggshells in exchange for the chance to play the family lottery.
Q. I am into the second year at my first job out of college. I am the marketing director for a small company in the Midwest. I enjoy my job to a certain degree.
My dad works for a Fortune 500 company that sells medical equipment. He is pressuring me to join his company at an entry-level position. Granted, the offer is very appealing and something I would like to do. I enjoy the field.
Overall I will feel bad about leaving the company I’m at now, but my dad says it is normal in business for people to leave at any moment.
The position he is telling me to join is an offer that people don’t see every day, especially at my age (23).
I am afraid I will look back in five years and say, “Dang, I wish I had taken that job offer.”
What do you think I should do?
A. You have already stayed at your first post-college job for a respectable length of time; it’s OK to look for a different job.
However, I disagree with your father that it is “normal” for people to leave their jobs at any moment. The appropriate thing to do is to stay at your current job while you interview for your hoped-for job at this larger company, and then to give your current boss a respectable notice (two weeks is the norm) before you leave.
You would be smart to put your father on “mute” for a minute, while you do your independent due diligence on the other company, investigating with an open mind the reality of working there. Also, take a moment to ponder the reality of working in the same company as your father. He seems a tad overwhelming. Do not leave this job until you have a new one locked down.
Q. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for recommending Head Start to the “Old-Fashioned Grandma in OR,” whose granddaughter was yelling and swearing at her toddler son. I am a Head Start teacher and part of what we do is to help children (and their parents) navigate different ways to behave.
A. I described Head Start as “a miracle,” for good reason. Thank you and your fellow teachers.
Amy Dickinson can be reached at email@example.com.