Dear Amy: My mother and my brother keep bringing up trips they want to take with us.
I’ve been on trips with them before, and I’m never going to go again.
Both of them are prone to explosive meltdowns that are excruciating to be part of.
I can handle them for a short evening, but that’s it.
The idea of traveling with them is very stressful to me.
I also don’t want my 11-year-old daughter to have the stress of traveling with them.
I keep dodging their requests.
My response is: “Go ahead and go by yourselves, and report back.”
They are not taking the hint.
I see them about twice a month, and the pressure turns any visit with them into a nerve-wracking time for me.
I’m at the point of wanting to avoid them completely.
Telling them straight up that we’re not going to go a trip with them will cause of huge emotional episode, and even then, I don’t think it would sink in.
Any advice on how to have them get the message? Can we recover from this?
— Passport Denied
Dear Denied: The way you are behaving (so far) is to avoid stating your own preferences, while you become increasingly annoyed by the consistent efforts of your family members to include you.
Now you are at the point where you are on the verge of avoiding not just the topic but the people raising the topic. That solves nothing.
These relatives might need you as a competent buffer of sorts because they’re so volatile, and that’s why they are pressuring you.
It’s possible that if you provide a consistent answer, they will eventually stop bothering you about it.
You can state your case without blaming these family members, thereby hoping to avoid a meltdown. You just say, “I don’t want to go. I haven’t had a good time in the past. But you two should go ahead.” Repeat as often as necessary.
Consider the fact that by staying home, you might be preserving the shreds of your relationship with these family members. If your declaration causes a meltdown, then take refuge in the fact that the meltdown isn’t happening in a far-away destination.
Dear Amy: I’m confused about how to handle a family situation. I am a middle-aged, single woman, living alone. I work sporadically but have enough to live comfortably in-between jobs.
I have a young relative who visits once or twice per month. I am always happy to see her.
Every time she visits, she brings a large amount of dirty laundry to wash, using my washer and dryer.
I have never had an issue with this in the past, as I remember what it was like to live in an apartment with no washer and dryer.
She runs about 4 or 5 loads each visit.
One thing that is starting to annoy me however, is that in addition to using my machines, water and electricity, she also uses my detergent and dryer sheets.
She has a full-time job and travels, so I know that money is not the issue.
How hard would it be for her to buy a jug of pods and bring a few over with her?
I’m worried that if I say something, I’ll get branded as cheap.
Should I just keep quiet and be glad to see her, laundry or not?
She jokes about the laundry issue, so knows it’s a bit of a mooch.
— Wondering Relative
Dear Wondering: You are a good egg. You accept these visits for what they are – an opportunity for you to provide a considerable service for your younger relative, while using the time together to develop something of a sudsy bond.
She is already joking about this, so she realizes that she is on the verge of an imposition.
Follow up by saying, “There’s a sale on laundry pods at the Dandy Mart. Why don’t you pick up a container of your favorite brand, and we can put your name on it for your own use while you’re here?”
Dear Amy: Thank you for running so many questions from people facing dilemmas created by DNA testing.
I recently freaked out by discovering that my cousin is my half-sister. When I looked into it, I learned that this is a common issue. Reading the very fine print on the DNA testing contract, I saw that it is to be used “for entertainment purposes, only.”
Dear Relieved: The cousin/half-sibling connection seems to be the most common source of confusion.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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