Dear Carolyn: How can I socialize when I can’t talk about my life without people freaking out? I admit my life is stressful, but other people have lives that are just as, if not more so.
I take care of my 92-year-old mother-in-law, her two dogs and her parrot in my home. My brother died in October and my father, who suffered from severe Alzheimer’s, died less than a month later. I helped care for my father as well, and for a nephew with serious issues. My husband has serious health issues, but is still healthy enough to work.
People, reasonably, want to know what’s happening in my life. I try to give a quick answer, that I care for relatives, but it never suffices, and as people learn more I become an object of pity (“Oh, how sad”), horror (“I could never live that way”) or ridicule (“How were you so stupid as to get yourself into that situation?”)
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