Dear Maura: I feel left out since mum died

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill

Spending quality time together can help

Sunday World

Dear Maura: Since our mother died my younger sister, who is 19, has become close to our eldest sibling. I feel really left out. There are only the three of us girls. Being in the middle, I always thought that I got on better with my baby sister. It’s sad that we don’t seem to have that much in common now because we don’t hang out like we used to. Mom died almost a year ago and it’s been difficult without her. Dad is great but we mind him more than anything. Our older sister is married and the two of us live at home still. That’s why it’s hard for me to see my sister going to hers at the weekends instead of staying with me. I said it to her one day and her thinking was that I’m Dad’s pet so I’m happy at home with him. But Dad is doing his own thing with his retired pals. He’s really tried to cope with losing Mom. I feel so lonely some evenings because I’m the only one in the house. I don’t want to be the one causing drama but how do I let my family know I need them? Answer: Each person in your family is trying to cope with the loss of your mother in their own way. Everyone has reached out for support and distraction to help them through the past months. However, this has pushed you apart, taking away the core feeling of family. Your dad has his friends, your sisters have become very close and then there’s you. The others haven’t considered your situation as they’re wrapped up in their own grief. I think you should have a family dinner. Get your dad to help and gather everyone to just be together. Remind them you are still a family and how much you miss that. Bereavement counselling could also help. Check your local health centre.

I can’t handle my girlfriend’s spending

Dear Maura: I am in love but can’t cope with my girlfriend’s spending habits. She always comes to me for money. If I don’t give it to her, it’s the silent treatment for a few days until I hand her some cash.

She’s great fun, everyone loves her including my family but this attitude of hers towards money is stressing me out. I don’t want to be without her. She’s full of energy. I’m the complete opposite. My life would take a major backward step if I ended this relationship.

Answer: The key sentence for me here is that she is stressing you out over her carefree attitude to spending. I think you are attracted to her for external reasons. Read over what you’ve described: she’s fun, everyone likes her, you’re quiet. You seem to think that without her you will be boring and nobody will be bothered with you. I think she is manipulating you emotionally. It’s going to be tough to reach a decision here. So first of all, tell her you don’t have money to hand over to her whenever. You are struggling because of her spending. I’d go a step further and explain how stressed you are trying to make ends meet because of her. If she doesn’t change her ways, then she is not putting you first, she’s not considering your feelings and that’s not love.

Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann Maura O’Neill All pictures are posed by models

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