suntimes
DECENT 
Weather Updates

Can’t force help on reckless sister

storyidforme: 67052534
tmspicid: 19069895
fileheaderid: 8624420

Updated: June 23, 2014 11:30PM



Dear Abby: I’m the middle child. Our father died in the Gulf War. None of us really knew him, but my younger sister, “Delia,” has no memory of him at all.

She has been acting out for years now, and has broken our mother’s heart more times than I can count. Whenever she messes up, she blames it on not knowing our father and the life she “could” have led.

It has been 20 years, Abby! The past is the past. Delia continues to ruin her future and blame our mom. It has Mom wondering why she was able to survive this crisis 20 years ago but can’t manage to deal with my sister.

I think Delia may have a chemical imbalance, or just never dealt with our father’s death. How do you persuade someone to get help? How do you make her see that Dad died so she could enjoy the many freedoms of America?

— Drained in Delaware

Dear Drained: I’m sorry for your family’s loss, but we are all responsible for our own behavior and our own emotions. You can’t force “help” on your dysfunctional sister. Before she’ll be willing to accept that she needs it, she will have to accept that she has been responsible for her own mistakes and behavior. If your father had lived, her life might not have been any different than it is.

The person who could use some professional help might be your mother. Counseling might help her to quit trying to rescue her adult daughter, or blaming herself for the problems Delia has created for herself. I’m not saying it will be easy — letting go rarely is. But it might improve her emotional and physical health.

Dear Abby: I am an attractive, physically fit, well-educated, 41-year-old divorced woman with two young children. Recently a co-worker I have known for several months asked me to accompany him on a weekend hiking trip. (He’s 23.) After a few conversations, he confessed that he was “deeply in love” with me and hoped we could begin a “serious relationship.”

Abby, he’s mature, good-looking, financially independent and has a great sense of humor. I’m attracted to him. Should I pursue this relationship, or wait until I’m attracted to someone closer to my own age? Help!

— A.S. In San Diego

Dear A.S.: Whoa! Slow down. Regardless of the age difference, an overnight first date (with a co-worker, yet) seems like an awfully speedy beginning to me. If you’re smart, start with a coffee date, graduate to a dinner date, and pursue the relationship from there. Only time will tell if this is the real thing.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: “Abby’s Favorite Recipes” and “More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.