Life Advice



Ask Amy: Family secrets create a wedge between siblings

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: A couple of years ago one of my brothers, who has had a checkered past, fathered a child that he hasn't acknowledged to our parents.

That same brother told me that our other brother is involved in drugs. He said that information had to stay between us.

I was informed about those secrets – I didn't seek them out – and they're just two of a number of secrets that my family has.

I tried broaching a talk with my brother regarding the child and was ghosted until he felt confident that I wouldn't say anything to our parents.

The other brother tends to gaslight me.

My parents said they didn't want to know anything that was going to cause tension in the family, and I wonder if they think ignorance is bliss?


I don't live in the same area as my family, so that's helped me with keeping physical space. I've also learned the art of setting boundaries re: being seen as a confession booth.

But my parents frequently praise both siblings when they visit or call me, and it has started to grate on my nerves.

I also am just not comfortable at family gatherings lately, as I feel like I'm acting or performing. Is there a way I can handle how grating this is?

What is the best way to respond when I'm asked to visit?


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