Some People Are Just Mean

By Annie Lane

March 7, 2021 3 min read

Dear Annie: I had a sister-in-law who treated my family, especially my parents, in a cruel manner. The worst thing she did was prevent my parents from embracing their grandchildren after school, even though they lived across the street from the school. Their grandson was told he could NOT talk to his grandpa on his walk home. This led to one of the few times I saw my dad cry. There were many other subtle things. The only way I could accept her was by telling myself to feel sorry for someone who has a mental defect.

I had a daughter-in-law with the same traits regarding gifts and other issues.

I finally realized that you cannot change anything. You must accept that some people are just plain mean. Their actions are not your fault. Some people intend to hurt and to control. They do not want to change. You must only do your best to work around it.

Regarding monetary gifts to grandchildren, I suggest opening an account at Vanguard (or some such company) or federal savings bonds with you as the main controller, giving the grandchild control when they go to college or some such life change or need for cash. — Hurt Grandparents

Dear Hurt Grandparents: Thank you for your letter. Your ex-sister-in-law's parental control takes joy away from not only your parents but also her kids. A healthy grandchild-grandparent relationship is ideal, and parents should always try to facilitate that for their kids. It's good to understand her meanness, but if she is still around, start talking to your sibling about her. The full extent and impact of her actions should be known.

Dear Annie: I love my fiance because he accepts and loves me exactly as I am.

He isn't trying to "change me, recreate me" or "unleash my potential." I am who I am, and he embraces me.

I have unusual pets — called sugar gliders — and he plans on welcoming them and me into his very neat and clean home. He knows we are a package deal and a house is a home, not a museum.

He wants to ease my work burden and allow me not to worry about money, medical insurance or paying off credit cards. I'll still work, but if it's slow, I won't have to be stressed anymore. I have been loved before, but I've never been truly "known." — Unconditional Love

Dear Unconditional Love: To be truly known is a wonderful thing, not only by a romantic partner but also by parents, children, friends and family members. What a gift you have in each other. May we all aspire to love each other unconditionally, and to truly see and accept our loved ones.

"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 for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

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