Dear Carolyn: My family of origin is broken. My siblings and I were emotionally and physically abused as children. My parents would of course dispute the word “abuse.” They did the best they could, but they didn’t have good parenting skills.
Fast-forward, decades. The “kids” all live far from a place we never call “home” and rarely visit. Sole surviving parent has a wide circle of friends but has become increasingly quirky and difficult to be around. As a result, elderly parent gloomily spent the last Most Important Holiday alone.
I feel torn between: A. a sense of responsibility to ease another human’s pain by visiting during Important Holiday; and B. protecting myself from a person and place that causes me anxiety and crushes my sense of self.