DEAR ABBY: I am a platonic friend and part-time caregiver of a wealthy gentleman. I now reside in his residence out of necessity. We respect each other, and neither of us intends to be anything more than friends.
My problem is his family. They know I exist, but refuse to get to know me. They do not allow me to accompany him to holiday events at their homes, even at his request. His sister, the matriarch and a devout Catholic, has been verbally and emotionally abusive to me. My friend believes it's all about his money, and they consider me a threat.
I always feel hurt and rejected on these special occasions. I have no family of my own, and I'm alone on holidays most of the time. How can I overcome this hurtful situation? His nieces and nephews never call him or invite him to dinner in between holidays. Neither of us has children, so he is loyal to his relatives above all else. How do I get past the rejection? -- MORE THAN A CAREGIVER
DEAR MORE: Unless your friend has made a point of remembering you in his will, I hope you realize that when he passes, all you will receive from his family is a wave goodbye -- if that. The disrespect and lack of empathy "the matriarch" has shown you is shameful. That your friend/patient lacks the backbone to insist you be included suggests to me that your relationship appears to be a one-way street.
The way to get past this would be to make sure you are saving enough money (if you haven't) to tide you over until you find a job after his death. In the meantime, allow yourself enough personal time to cultivate relationships with people who won't ignore you during holidays. It's important that you not become more isolated and disconnected than you are. If you are religious, your own church might be a place to start.