Dear Amy: My dad is a racist. We’ve had big fights about his bigotry. I’m his only daughter. Our relationship is already strained from his alcohol and opioid addiction, and my unstable and abusive childhood. He’s never apologized or taken responsibility for anything he’s done.My parents raised us on the West Coast. I have a lot of cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. I don’t know very well who live in the Midwest.
Recently, my cousin (on his side) posted a picture of herself and her African-American boyfriend on Facebook.
My dad posted a racist comment. My cousin retaliated with a public Facebook post calling out his nastiness for everyone to see. I privately messaged her, telling her how sorry and embarrassed I was for his inexcusable behavior.
I texted my dad angrily, telling him how it’s not OK to make racist comments, and especially not to his niece. He justified and deflected his actions, as he’s always done, and I stopped talking to him.
I feel humiliated and so ashamed by what he’s done. I’m scared his family is going to associate me with his racism.I want to cut him out of my life completely because I’m just so sick of having to tolerate all of his bad behavior.
The rest of my nuclear family would rather keep the peace. I can’t just sweep this under the rug anymore.
At the same time, I feel guilt and an obligation to talk to him because he lives alone and only talks to a couple of people.
He’s my dad. You’re supposed to love your parents. What if I can’t love him?
— Fed-up Daughter
Dear Fed Up: He’s your dad, and you’re supposed to love him.
You are his daughter, and he’s supposed to love you.
His actions aren’t loving. Using blame and guilt to control you — this is the masterwork of an addict, and it is your unfortunate burden to be the daughter of a mean-spirited, racist man.
You say your dad is alone, but he’s not. He uses social media as a way to connect with people. He’s got other immediate family members who ignore his behavior because they’re too tired, or cowardly, to respond to it.
When faced with an outrage shared on social media, generally I believe it’s wisest to respond proportionally on the same channel. Instead, you apologized privately. Cleaning up after your father is essentially enabling him. If you don’t want to be associated with his public racism, then publicly say so.
You would benefit from connecting with a “friends and family” support group such as Al-anon. There in the chairs, you would learn that you are not your father’s keeper. You are not responsible for his life. You are not duty-bound to like him. The best way for you to love him might be to demonstrate the “tough” kind — where you attach proportional consequences to his behavior.
Dear Amy: I am a widow and a senior citizen frequently included in family dinner outings. These dinners include children and other adults, who often have several drinks.
The bill gets divided among the adults.
After one outing my share came to $30, when I only had a slice of pizza.
When I expressed my concern to my son, it fell on deaf ears.
What to do?
— Widow Mom
Dear Mom: Who raised these characters who would scam money from their mom after a night out?
One of the immense pleasures of adulthood is to pick up the check for your folks.
Your son doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. How embarrassing for him. Evidently you are supposed to be so grateful to be included in these outings that you would pick up the drinks tab.Don’t do it.
If you can’t assert your right to only pay for your share, next time, at the very least, ask your waiter to please give you a separate check. Unlike your kids, the waitstaff are happy to oblige.
Dear Amy: “Furious Friend” was bullied and disrespected by her best friend’s husband. You suggested that she verbally stand up to the bully, and to also tell her friend that she wasn’t going to tolerate the disrespect in the future.
Amy, this could be dangerous advice. Standing up to a bully could get people hurt.
Dear Upset: These people had known one another for a long time, and Furious had been deflecting the bullying with humor. Yes, I agree that this could be a tough call. People should always guard their own safety first.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)