Dear Annie: I'm a 70-year-old woman, respectable, attractive, well-educated, retired and totally self-sufficient. I owe no one anything and ask for nothing.
The problem is my family. Although I have always treated them with kindness and respect, they are extremely disrespectful and spiteful to me. My narcissistic drama queen "victim" sister, who brags how "competitive" she is, sobbingly tells our relatives that I am "so mean" and that I have said derogatory things about her and her husband. This is completely untrue. I have never said such things. I don't know exactly what she told them, but my relatives now barely speak to me.
My sister has a history of going behind people's backs and making false accusations, but my extended family is unaware of this. She lied about poor treatment at her job and got several people fired. She is so manipulative and believable that no one ever questions the validity of her false accusations. Meanwhile, she looks like a helpless little victim, needing desperately to be rescued, as she is "only trying to do the right thing."
What can I do to about this? -- Senior Sister Scapegoat
Dear Scapegoat: Very little. The more you protest, the more everyone will believe that you are bullying your poor, little sister. We are surprised, after all these years, that your family hasn't caught on to her manipulations.
You can try sending a letter to other family members, explaining the situation and saying you regret that your sister has succeeded in alienating them from you. We guarantee you, however, that one of the things your sister most enjoys is your angry and frustrated reaction. So do your best to stop giving her the satisfaction. One of the hardest things to do is to train yourself not to care, but in this case, it's worth it.
Dear Annie: In the past year, I have been invited to several large, informal dinner events. The host of the last event made two turkeys and all the fixings. She baked homemade pies and other desserts.
At the end of the dinner, several adults got up from the table, leaving their dirty paper plates and cups on the table, even though there was a trash can nearby. How do you educate adults to throw their plates and cups away after they are finished eating? -- Ms. Etiquette Here
Dear Ms. Etiquette: At casual, informal dinners where food is served on paper plates, most folks will clean up after themselves because it is so easy to do. But some hosts prefer to do their own cleaning and would rather their guests enjoy themselves with conversation. If you think the host would appreciate your cleanup assistance, set an example by being the first one to toss her plate and cup, and feel free to suggest that others do the same.
Dear Annie: I have a solution for "Guilty By Accusation" and other families who have members on medication. I put all medications in a lock box. I dole out the medication and the key stays with me. That way no one is set up to fail and no one can accuse others or be accused of taking the drugs. -- D.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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