Put Yourself First
Dear Annie: I have a friend who spent many years in an emotionally abusive relationship that seems similar to what "Sad Grandma" described. What I have seen with my friend's children is that they have learned to treat their mom the same way their father did.
They watched for years as she put his needs and demands first in all of their lives. By putting him first, she taught her own children to put her last.
My friend is now working very hard to change her relationship with her children, and I hope "Sad Grandma" can, too. Remember: When you always put others first, you teach them to put you last. -- Fellow Mom
Dear Fellow Mom: Thank you for your letter. You bring up such an important point, which is that more is caught than taught. "The Gift," a book by Edith Eger, highlights this very important lesson.
Dear Annie: My aunt relocated to Florida from Illinois with her husband. When her sisters would come for a visit, she would make a "Whoopee List." It was a list of things to do with them while they were there, such as going to Disney World and other neat things!
Yes, we now live in a world that has changed greatly, but I try to remember to treat our guests like royalty, as my aunt did. I believe having good hospitality is even biblically based.
I'm the youngest of five. When I went to visit a couple of my brothers, they treated me the complete opposite of the way my aunt treated her sisters. I think one brother did not really want me there. I must say that I'm hesitant to ever visit them again.
I was very hurt by the way they treated me. And it is one of those lessons in life where we learn. I still do the polite things of sending birthday and Christmas cards, but the closeness is gone.
I have friends in Washington and Florida who have invited me, but I'm reluctant to even visit them. I think we all must make a note to treat visitors -- even those who show up unexpectedly at our front door -- kindly, politely and with genuine regard. We definitely know that when a family member or friend returns for another visit to our home, we did right with them on their previous visit.
I truly appreciate sharing this with you, and it helps me to write to you about this matter. It has been on my mind for years. -- Visiting Family and Friends
Dear Visiting Family: Your letter highlights one of the most important rules of life: the golden rule, which is to treat others as you would want to be treated. Whether that applies to a guest in your house or to any other situation in your daily life, you will be much happier and relaxed if you practice this rule. If your brothers don't apply it, that's their problem, not yours.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.