Dear Amy: I have recently gotten engaged.
Growing up, my narcissistic mother physically and emotionally abused me. I was held to a much higher standard than my younger sister.
This led me to take out my frustrations on my sister -- verbally, and also through manipulation.
I didn't speak much to my family as a teenager, left the house for college, and never went back.
I have not spoken to my sister in years. At family functions she literally pretends as though I am physically not there (e.g. she won't set a place for me at the table).
As an adult I sought therapy, and have forgiven my mother (despite her lack of insight or admission of wrong-doing). I have also sincerely apologized to my sister. She refuses to accept my apology.
I do not wish for her to be part of my wedding, as she has not been part of my life for years, nor does she know me or my fiancé.
I know that my mother will not be pleased about excluding my sister, and will likely give me an ultimatum, as she often does.
A wedding is a time for love, and if she attends, I know I will feel that it is strictly due to an obligation and expectation.
It is going to be a small, intimate wedding. Should I invite my sister to please my mother? Will I regret not inviting her in the future?
-- Sister Trouble
Dear Trouble: I don't know what you will regret in the future. Your dysfunctional family and your own (admitted) abusive behavior toward your sister has presented you with plenty of opportunities for regret.
Yes, weddings are about love. They are about the couple. Weddings are also about building a family. These celebrations offer opportunities for inclusion and can mark a fresh start to a relationship.
However, you should not invite your sister to your wedding if you don't want to have -- or try to build -- a relationship with her. Given what you say about her refusal to acknowledge you, it seems doubtful that she would attend your wedding, even if she were invited.
The red flag I detect here involves your mother. Narcissists are manipulators and punishers. You don't mention what ultimatum your mother might lay down regarding your wedding, but -- whatever it is -- I strongly suggest that you and your fiancé should not cave to her demands. Doing so is a guaranteed regret.
Dear Amy: I have a strange question.
I'm wondering if my husband and I should tell his mother (my MIL) that we are expecting a child.
The reason we hesitate is because she has stated, repeatedly and emphatically, that if we have a baby she will not be enthusiastic about it, and that we cannot count on her to host a shower, be involved, or do any babysitting.
We are excited about the pregnancy, but -- hello -- we get it that she doesn't want to be a grandmother!
-- Excited and Expectant
Dear Excited: You should do whatever you want to do.
What I mean is -- you have all of the information you need to have about your mother-in-law. Hello? You get it!
Beyond that, you should not let her control you to the extent that you are deliberately withholding news that you want to share.
If you don't disclose this pregnancy and she learns about it from someone else, you will most likely be punished for that.
If you do disclose the pregnancy to her, you can accurately anticipate her reaction.
But this is not her life. It is yours! If she doesn't want to assume any grandparent roles, or if she wants her role to be very limited, then, hey, it's her loss.
I offer one caveat: Pregnancy lasts for a long time. I know of refuseniks or reluctant grandparents who have completely turned the corner and embraced the grandchild with lots of love once it arrives. This might not be probable, but it is possible.
You will soon discover the magical and transforming affect that babies can have on people. Lucky you -- and congratulations.
Dear Amy: Like "Sleeping Alone," my wife and I struggled with having different nighttime schedules and going to bed at different times. It really affected our intimacy.
We solved this by always going to bed together. Then, after she is asleep, I am sometimes awake for a couple of more hours. I work, read or watch a movie.
-- Fellow Night Owl
Dear Night Owl: I do the same.