Q. When I was in my early 20s, my husband and I visited my aunt and uncle. My uncle had been drinking and tried rubbing against me and copping a feel. I got away from him and never said anything about it to anyone, as he was married to my favorite aunt (my mom’s sister) and I didn’t want to start any trouble. She was more like a sister to me than an aunt. They moved to another state when my uncle retired. My aunt always wanted me to visit, but I made excuses.
In 2003, she passed away, and my uncle moved back to my state. He called wanting to take me out to dinner. I told him fine and added that my 25-year-old daughter and granddaughter would love to go, thinking I would be safe with all of us. He said fine, but later called and said he didn’t want my daughter and granddaughter to come. He started talking dirty to me and insinuated that I cheated on my husband. I told him he had the wrong person and hung up.
His children are two cousins I love dearly. I’ve never told anyone any of this. I cannot stand this man. My problem is this: He is way up in years now, maybe 90, and I’m sure he doesn’t have much longer to live. I do not want to go to his funeral to show respect, as I have none. What would I say to my cousins if I didn’t attend?
A. “I was feeling unwell.”
Q. Help! My co-worker is driving me crazy. When I was hired, she insisted on buying me lunch despite my protests. I would buy hers to keep it even. It was expensive, and I kept trying to stop it. She refused to listen. She kept calling me her friend. I did not want to be her friend. She had a nasty reputation. I had been around her when I temped for the company, and when anyone disagreed with her, she said she had worked for a large company out east, as if that made her right.
She was divorced, and the reasons for her divorce would expand whenever she heard someone else’s problems. Her life story keeps evolving, too. She was molested by a teacher; she is on several medications; she was abused by her father. She spends more than four hours a week talking to her mother at work, and the rest of her family calls her after the boss goes home. She always has a special project that keeps her from doing her share of the work. And that is the tip of the iceberg.
I am tired of the drama and of being called her friend. I treat her fairly, but would not be sorry to see her leave. We work the evening shift; the day shift does not want her, as she is too disruptive. Management is blind, as she sucks up to them. I have put up with her for almost two years and am ready to go into therapy. I am a solitary person. I don’t need the stress that working with her brings.
A. Unless you are a two-person night shift, I would get a petition going with your other co-workers to present to whoever is in charge. If that doesn’t work, I would meet with the boss and lay it on the line. She sounds nuts. One should not have to be in therapy just to go to work. If you can’t get her out of there, and if you can’t find a comparable job for yourself elsewhere, tell her flat-out that you wish to be left alone, and then only respond when it concerns your work.