Dear Annie: My sister and I don’t speak anymore after a falling out with our now-deceased mother. It was a bad falling out, as she talked my mother into making her the sole heir of her estate because I am a lesbian.
We recently had to speak because of our father’s declining health. My niece, her daughter, is getting married, and I suspect I will not be invited, as I was not invited to her high school or college graduation. We once were very close, but now she doesn’t want to appear a traitor to her mother, I guess.
They did both friend me on Facebook, where they are discussing wedding plans and invitations. I have said nothing except, “Congratulations.”
My falling out with my sister is bad enough, but my mother and sister hurt me deeply by keeping me away from my two nieces, especially after I helped raise them. I have not said anything in years about it and don’t care to. It’s done and over with. I think I need to walk away.
Is this childish of me? Can I give myself permission to save my self-respect and dignity by unfriending them? I don’t want to seem petty, but my mother and sister schemed to hurt me as badly as they could, all because l’m a lesbian and they don’t approve.
— Disapproving Family in Texas
Dear Disapproving Family: In a perfect world, our parents and siblings would support us unconditionally and never judge us. In your case, their disapproval sounds extreme. I’m really sorry that they shut you out of their lives. It must be very painful. While we can’t control others’ actions toward us, we can control how we respond.
If you want to unfriend them on Facebook, that sounds like a fine idea. In fact, social media never really makes people feel better about themselves, so why not just deactivate your account altogether?
You might want to seek the help of a professional therapist to process this rejection. Work on forgiving your mother and sister for yourself, not for them. After all, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.
As for your nieces, let them know how much you love them and that you wish them well. Best of luck to you.
Dear Annie: What is your take on the church getting involved with politics? The pastor of the church I attended posts on social media and preaches his political views from the pulpit. I don’t share these views, so I have chosen to leave the church. Thus, I’ve lost my church family.
Most of the attendees are of the same political beliefs and go along with the pastor. The situation was just too uncomfortable. Some of the attendees have unfriended those who aren’t in agreement. I’m beyond disappointed.
— Keep Politics out of Church
Dear Keep Politics out of Church: Overt political campaigning should be kept out of church. Any person who unfriends those who are not in agreement is not acting very kind, loving or tolerant — all qualities that I hope your church preaches. Part of what makes for an interesting world is that we can have different beliefs and still respect one another. My guess is that you are not alone in being annoyed about this issue.
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