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Ask Amy: Mom’s fibs about sister’s support causes trouble

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: Several years back, my sister was in a pretty bad place. She was in her early 30s, still living at home, and didn’t have viable career plans. She desperately wanted to get married and have children, and none of this was working out for her, as she had very little self-confidence.

My mother works for my uncle. She has been quite successful. One day she asked me and my youngest sister if we would be OK if she hired my sister as an assistant to help build her some confidence. Of course, we both said yes, wanting what was best for her.

The plan worked well. My sister is now married with three beautiful kids and a gorgeous home. We are all very happy for her.

However, I recently ran into my uncle, who then offered me a job. I have no desire to work for him, but while I was turning him down he disclosed that my sister’s salary and bonuses were absolutely absurdly inflated.

More importantly, I became aware that my mother had lied to us about it. (My mother would go out of her way to bring up the nominal compensation my sister received.)

In this same conversation I also discovered how she paid for two years of my sister’s college before she quit school. I have paid for every cent of my own education.

 

I have no problem with my sister, but my mother’s secrecy and dishonestly bothers me. When I brought it up, she said that all situations are different, and she never intended to upset us.

She then told my sisters that I confronted her about it, and now my sister thinks I’m upset with her. What kind of meal is this: sour grapes or an actual beef?

— Dissed Sib

Dear Dissed: It can be challenging for parents to treat all siblings equally, because their needs can be quite different. One child might be a self-starting scholarship winner, while the other needs rehab.

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