Dear Annie: Once a year, I spend a weekend over at my son's house to babysit my grandkids. They always take a trip for their anniversary so my son asks me in advance. I don't mind because I really don't get to see them often.
My husband has a real issue with this. I would let them come stay with us, but we always have company and there really isn't much here for them to do. My husband threatens to leave me every time, and he literally stops talking to me. Am I doing something wrong? He always makes me pick — him or my grandkids. Please tell me how to better handle the situation. — Grumpy Gramp
Dear Gram: The saddest thing in your letter is that your husband is missing out on the joy and beauty of being a grandparent. You are not doing anything wrong while he is doing everything wrong. Making you pick between him and the grandkids is immature — and incredibly controlling. Him wanting you only to himself, not allowing you to have other people (even your grandchildren) bring you joy, is a huge red flag.
This controlling relationship is isolating you from friends and family. Your husband is hurling veiled or overt threats against you. Saying that he will leave you for spending time with your grandkids is one of those threats. His actions are more than just grumpy; they are toxic. Reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for support.
Dear Annie: I am the youngest child of six children. I am in my 50s, so I am not a child. My mother had twin girls first. These two sisters have always been praised for being twins. They act as if they know everything, and they do not take criticism well. One of the twins is so dysfunctional that it is impossible to even bring up any sort of sensitive subject.
When I cannot take it anymore, the other twin pleads with me not to say anything. It has gotten so bad that I will not go to family gatherings at times. I have realized that when I do go, I worry about my hair and what I am wearing before I go. I have been told by a sister (not a twin) that I need to stand my ground and say something like, "I did not realize I asked for your opinion." I know if I do that, then my sister will not leave me alone. She will say that she didn't mean any offense by what she said. But she'll keep talking about it the whole time I am there.
If I know she will not change, should I stand up for myself or keep my head down? — Youngest Sister
Dear Youngest Sister: You should stick up for yourself. What she is doing is bullying, and a bully doesn't stop until they see that you are strong enough to stick up for yourself. Continue going to your family parties and remember that what your sister says doesn't matter because your sister is being mean and insensitive. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. So, don't consent!
I am sorry that you are dealing with such mean remarks. It also sounds like her twin is enabling this type of bulling behavior by walking on eggshells around her. You don't have to anymore you can stand up for yourself. How someone treats you says a lot more about that person than it does about you.
"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 protected]