DEAR HARRIETTE: My family dynamic has always been messed up. I don't get along with my brother or my parents, because my parents clearly favor him over me due to the fact that I had a child right out of high school. It does not matter to them that I am a productive member of society who pays her own bills, has her master's degree and does not live at home; they will not stop holding my teenage indiscretion against me.
I recently stopped attending family holiday events, because while I get along with my younger brother and sister, my older brother, my parents and I cannot seem to make it through being in the room together without some sort of snide comment being made or it devolving into a full-blown argument.
We have a family occasion coming up soon that would bring us all together for a weekend down South, but I am tempted not to go to avoid the drama and the headaches. Do you think I should suck it up and go to the event, or do you think I am making the right decision by staying home? I will always love my family, but the back and forth has become quite tiresome. -- No More Drama, New Orleans
DEAR NO MORE DRAMA: In advance of your upcoming weekend, reach out to your family. Schedule a face-to-face if you can. Put your cards on the table. Tell them how uncomfortable you continually feel based on the way that you believe they treat you. Acknowledge that you had a child at a young age and that you have created a viable life for yourself and your family. Point out that you wish they would be proud of you -- or at least accepting -- but that what you feel is their constant judgment. Tell them that you don't feel accepted or welcome, but you want to be close. Express your trepidation about the next reunion, given how you feel they mistreat you when you are together. Ask them if they would be willing to refresh the relationship.