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Dear Christine, Concerned in Canton

  • Posted on October 16, 2017 at 11:04 am

Dear Christine, Every year it’s the same thing with my wife. I love her dearly and really try to understand but I am struggling. Both of her parents are gone and so is a sibling. They’ve been gone for over 20 years but each holiday she becomes so depressed that it practically ruins our holiday. She makes excuses not to attend parties and events because she says she’s too sad. I’ve had losses too. My parents are also gone and have had my heart broken a few time but I just want to choose to be happy and to enjoy the friends and family we do have. I’ve tried everything to talk her out of this seasonal depression to no avail. She’s fine the rest of the year but the holidays from Thanksgiving till the end of the year she just chooses to be miserable. This year I choose to be happy so I am going to accept invitations and let her make her choices. She passed on family Thanksgiving, I went to Christmas Eve party without her and Christmas she stayed home. Am I wrong to leave her at home alone? Signed, Concerned in Canton Dear Concerned, I think…

Dear Christine, Crazy in Clawson

  • Posted on September 11, 2017 at 10:23 am

Dear Christine,  My girlfriend and I have been together for a year, and maybe I moved in too fast (second date…) but I’m having a hard time with her relationships with her family. Her two daughters live with us half of the time and half with their father. I am very close to the girls and they talk with me all the time, and tell me that they love me and even come into our bedroom at night to kiss their mom goodnight, and me! My girlfriend claims she isn’t gay but just loves me, and she’s isn’t comfortable telling the girls, or anyone else in the family, that we are in love and we are a couple, and with the girls, we really are a family. Her family is involved with Christmas, and last year, we pretended I was just living there for a while, to help them out. She wants me to move out of the bedroom, so her sister and brother in law can have her bedroom when they visit for Christmas this year. That’s the living end for me! I’ve been out and proud for over 20 years, and I just feel like a maid. I’m “the help”, helping with the household, cooking, driving kids around etc, but not given the respect of being family! My girlfriend has been telling me all year that she wants to tell her family, but that she’s not ready. I’m afraid she’s never going to be ready, and I feel like I’m going crazy. Help! What do I do to not feel like a maid, but be a part of this family? Crazy in Clawson

Dear Crazy,  The holidays are such a stressful time, even without the pressures of coming out to family! Sounds like you have a very loving and good relationship with your girlfriend and her children, and that’s wonderful. Since you’ve been out forever, and she never saw herself as lesbian before, it’s really important to give her space and time to figure out how to acknowledge this relationship with her family. I would be surprised if the kids haven’t figured out that the two of you are a couple, saying good night to both of you in your bedroom! Kids are pretty sophisticated and aware these days. They may not know the labels, but clearly they feel connected to you, and treat you like family, not a maid.

I’m not recommending you move out of the bedroom for visitors, as I don’t recommend a couple in their own home give up their private space to others. One example of why, is the story I heard recently. A man stayed overnight at a friend’s house, and she let him use her bedroom. He opened a bedside drawer, looking for a clock, and he found some handcuffs! Clearly, she hadn’t expected him to go in the drawer! He found it very embarrassing to see her the next morning, thinking “Good morning Mrs. Handcuffs” but trying to keep cool and be appropriate. When he thinks of that friend, the handcuffs are the first thing that comes to mind. So, keeping your privacy is important, both yours and your girlfriend’s. Keep talking with your girlfriend about her process, but back off of any ultimatums. Listen to her thoughts and feelings, and trust the love that you and she and her children share. Love conquers fear, always. Trust your girlfriend’s process and hopefully she will tell her family directly, soon.

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

Dear Christine, Trans in Trenton

  • Posted on September 3, 2017 at 1:55 pm

Dear Christine,
How can I be happy when I’m never gonna be a cisgendered male, And the surgery is still not good enough?  I might as well end it, I can’t ever be happy with no support, or with the surgery results, No I haven’t started HRT just yet.  And on top of that I always get jealous of cismales.
Trans in Trenton
Dear Trans,
Thanks for writing Trans, and for my readers, I’ll start by explaining what your question means.  Cisgender male  or abbreviated to cis, is a word that’s been around since 1994, referring to someone who self-perception of their gender matches the sex they were assigned at birth and their personal identity.  (Cisgender has it’s origin in the Latin-derived cis-, meaning “on the side of) which is an antonym for trans-, meaning “across from” or “on the other side of”.)
I hear your pain and despair about your body and your identity not matching and the dread that it never will be in coherence adequately with hormones and/or surgery.  It’s a really tough place to be.  You have the option to end your life, but that is a permanent solution a problem that may not be so all pervasive once you start taking some steps to help your body look as you feel on the inside.  I’m just not sure that happiness is all wrapped up in a perfect body.
This is an extreme example, but Stephen Hawking is a man who has lived with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) for 50 years, far longer than most people with that disease.
It usually kills a person in just a few years, progressively paralyzing the muscles, until your lungs cannot breathe anymore.  Stephen Hawking got a terrible case of pneumonia in 1985, and his doctors asked his wife if it was time to pull the plug and let him die.  He was so very sick, and had ALS on top of it.  His wife said no.  She had him treated and eventually he came out of that very serious infection.   After that, he had no use of his voice, and has had to use a computer to generate a voice to read the words he types.  He is now a quadriplegic and on a ventilator.  And yet, he said that the bout of pneumonia in 1985 that almost killed him made him realize how brief life can be.  So, he set about his work in Physics.  He has lived longer than most people with ALS, and he has achieved more than most people in general.  He is internationally known for his work in black holes in astrophysics, and at 70 is awaiting data to confirm his M-theory, a complete theory of  the universe, which would launch him toward a Nobel Prize.  He has regrets, however, and one is that my disability “has prevented me from playing with my (3) children and my (3) grandchildren as fully as I want.”


So, I offer Mr. Hawkings as inspiration that happiness can be deeper and more lasting than the physical package which clothes our soul.  You have a spirit and you have a purpose.  Your job in this life is to figure out that purpose and live out your life being fully who you are!  I hope you can find a way to make peace with your limited and imperfect body, and perhaps hormones and surgery will get it looking closer to what you know of who you are on the inside.  No, you can’t be a cismale, and if that is all you focus your life on, you will always be miserable.  You can be a transman and you can make a difference in this world by living out loud, being you, trans and all.  Hormones do amazing things to resculpt bodies and there are new advances in transgender surgeries that get better all the time.  You are who your soul is, not your body.  It definitely helps to have your body look and function well, but who you are is a lot deeper than that.  Talk to a professional who can help you sort out your body image issues with being trans and not cis.  Explore options of going on hormones and start taking steps to make peace with the body you have, which will never be the body you want.  Even if you were to somehow magically become a cisman, aging happens to us all.  If you look at your parents and grandparents, you will see that their once young, handsome, strong bodies have become disfigured, sagging and arthritic, and their once gorgeous blonde or brown hair is now gray, or even bald.  No one is perfect and I highly doubt that anyone is 100% happy with their body, trans or cis.  Doing what you can with hormones, clothes, and possibly surgery will open the door to contentment with the wrapper your soul comes in.  It’s all a process.  Give yourself the space and time to explore this with people who can help you.  Keep in touch. Christine C. Cantrell, PhD

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

Dear Christine, Fearing Fatherhood

  • Posted on August 27, 2017 at 10:49 am

Dear Christine,
I am16 years old, now the thing is I’m not really sure of my sexuality, but I think I’m gay.
This weekend I had a talk with my grandma (this is when they start telling me my duties as a man and other crap) and she spoke about family and how I’m the only male of my generation with my granddads surname, so should I not have children, our surname kinda dies with me.
When I told her i don’t want kids, she threw a fit and lectured me about how I’d be killing a legacy. We also watched a popular TV show which features a gay couple, and she said to me “and I hope you don’t like what you see.”
Also, my mom is very homophobic (my dad seems more accepting) and if she found out about me, there will be a sh*t-storm. What’s worse is that even she expects me to carry on the family name.
Normally, I don’t care what people say (even my parents, but they know that I don’t want kids) but the way my gran spoke to me made me think. Part of me thinks that my family is selfish for expecting something of me that I’m not comfortable with, but another part thinks that I am being selfish for not wanting to have kids for the family.
I am not the kind of guy to just sleep with someone, so I won’t be having kids unless I actually marry the woman.
It seems that so far my only solution (which I am greatly considering) is either studying abroad and hopefully finding a job there so I can stay, or moving out of the country after studying and running away.
I know I’m only 16 and shouldn’t be worrying about kids, but let’s be honest, this is going to haunt me for a long time, so I might as well think about it now. So far I have no plans of coming out to my family.
What I want to know is whether I should go through life faking being straight, marry a woman and have kids with her? Also, any other advice would be appreciated.
Signed, Fearing Fatherhood in Farmington

Dear Fearing Fatherhood, Hey!  Last time I checked, most families didn’t want their 16 year old kids having babies just to carry on the name!  You are too young for all this pressure!  If you aren’t out to your family, then I’d encourage you to not come out until you’ve got more support in your life to cope with your family’s dreams and expectations of you.

David-Furnish-Elijah-Furnish-John-Zachary-Furnish-John-and-Sir-Elton-John

So, what do you do?  It’s hard to be out and proud with homophobics in the family.  You are not alone, however.  There’s support, here on the internet, and in the real world (Affirmations Youth Program would be a good place to start http://.goaffirmations.org).  If you have a parent (your dad seems more possible here) have him check out Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, PFLAG, a national non-profit organization with over 200,000 members and supporters.  There, your family can get facts and information about having a gay kid, and they can discover that it is completely possible for you to have your own children, even as a gay man!  Science is wonderful!  For PFLAG in general, check out this site:    http://pflag.org and for PFLAG Detroit’s area chapter see http://pflagdetroit.org or PFLAG Ann Arbor http://pflagaa.org or info@pflag-fr-detroit.org. 
I do not recommend trying to pretend to be straight to the point of marrying a woman and having children.  That’s not fair to the woman, or children, and it’s certainly not fair for you.  Focus on school.  Graduate High School, and the College.  Studying abroad is a great way to learn more about yourself as an independent adult (I studied in Jerusalem for a year).  There are others who make sure they move out of the family home as soon as they are able to support themselves, some even moving out of state, where they can explore who they are without family pressures.

Gay men have kids all the time these days.  There’s women who will be a surrogate for you, allowing her egg or someone else’s to be mixed with your sperm and implanted in her for the pregnancy.  There’s also plenty of foster children and children who need adoption.  They might not carry on your genes, but they are children who are here and desperately need a family to belong to and to love them.  I just heard an interview with Elton John on the radio last week, and learned he now has two sons, Zachary (2.5 y o) and Elijah, 9 mo old) both born of a surrogate mother.  He has been legally in a civil union with David Furnish since 2005, and is a staunch supporter of gay marriage in the United Kingdom.  The United States is changing rapidly in attitudes and laws about gay marriage.  There are currently 13 states that allow gays and lesbians to marry, and fifteen countries around the world that recognize gay marriage.  The Federal Agency that collects taxes in the US, the IRS, recently ruled that gay and lesbian couples who are legally married in any state or country must now file taxes as a married couple.  Social Security also just announced that same sex marriages will be recognized by the Social Security Association, allowing gay couples retirement and disability income rights, among others.  There are lawsuits going through in Michigan and Ohio and other non-gay marriage states that are working to overturn the state constitutional amendments that were made 6 -9 years ago to forbid gay marriage.  You’re 16.  By the time you’re ready to marry anyone, male or female, I’m guessing it could be 10 years.  That is a long time with how quickly change is happening in acceptance of gay and lesbian families and marriages.  By the time you finish college, you may well be out, living in a different state from your family and you may be out and happy with life.  And they may see what more straight but not narrow people see:  you are still their son/grandson, and they love you for who you are, nothing more, nothing less.  Take care, and keep in touch.

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

Dear Christine, Dressed in Dearborn

  • Posted on August 14, 2017 at 9:27 am

Dear Christine,  I’m a straight male, and I like dressing up. I’ve always been into fashion, and my brother and cousin are gay, and I’m an LGBT advocate. Still it bothers me to be called something I’m not: gay. How do I get my classmates, gay and straight, to stop bullying me at school, who assume that I’m gay just because of the way I dress. There’s nothing wrong with being gay, it’s just that I’m not gay! Dressed in Dearborn Dear Dressed, A few years ago, there was a term used to describe people like you: metrosexual. These are men, often straight, who are extremely well groomed, dress well in the latest style, wear colognes, and they might get highlights in their hair, or get manicures or pedicures. They aren’t rugged, but are clean. A lot of the Hollywood stars are metrosexuals They aren’t a man’s man, or a hipster. They are in the know about the finer things in life. Celebrities get talked about all the time, and people speculate about their sexuality if it isn’t obvious. One example is Kevin Spacey. Rumors have it that he is gay, but when asked by reporters, he doesn’t deny or…

Dear Christine, Perplexed in Pontiac

  • Posted on July 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

Dear Christine, My wife’s family is horrible. They voted for Trump, they call black people, colored or the N word or worse, they are homophobic, although they have given that a bit of a rest since I’ve been around, they love the idea of a Muslim ban and want the wall to be built. You get it? I go with her once a year to visit them only because I love her so much and will stand by her side through everything. She has started to really struggle lately and is thinking of cutting them off for good. It makes her feel really guilty because she also sends money to her mother who is a lazy alcoholic in my opinion. I swear I don’t know how she came out of that family. She is so wonderful. How can I encourage her to walk away from them without feeling guilty? Thanks, Perplexed in Pontiac Dear Perplexed, I hear you. Many families have been torn up over political disagreements, particularly after the 2016 Presidential election. In fact, I just read an article that mentioned that it’s hard for those who dislike the current administration to spend time around people who like the…

Dear Christine, Explaining in Ecorse

  • Posted on July 17, 2017 at 10:13 am

Dear Christine, My partner and I are a lesbian couple and very active in the LGBT community. Recently I’ve been questioning my gender identity and I’m thinking seriously of transitioning from female to male gender. I’m not sure how to explain my gender changes. I was always more of the tomboy type. I’m coming to realize that I don’t have a gender identity crisis, but I identify as gender queer, and being explicitly male or female is not really the issue for me. Explaining homosexuality to our children was a challenge. They are 6 and 10 years old and they are fine with having two moms. The whole family is very accepting of our being a lesbian couple. Our parents are confused about why I want to change, when I so confidently identified as lesbian. How should I go about explaining transgender issues to our kids, and our parents and families? I find that gender clarity is very important to my family and society in general, but it isn’t so important to me.  Explaining in Ecorse Dear Explaining, My question is: is it necessary to undergo gender transition if identifying as male or female is not a big deal for…

Dear Christine, Guilty in Garden City

  • Posted on May 30, 2017 at 9:33 am

Dear Christine,

I have trouble saying no! A friend calls and says, let’s meet for dinner, I say yes even though I’ve had a rough day and would rather stay home. My kids volunteer me for all kinds of stuff at their schools and I always make it happen even if I wish someone else would step up. I’ve been asked out on dates with people that I am not interested in dating, and I say yes and then it’s harder to say, not interested, later.

I do like helping people and I don’t want to complain or seem selfish, but I’m feeling over burdened lately and just plain tired. How can I say no sometimes without feeling guilty?

Guilty in Garden City

Dear Guilty,

Like many women in our society, you are good at giving, giving and giving, and you’re so good at it that people come to expect you to just keep giving, giving and giving. No one is wondering how it’s affecting you, because you will give till you drop, and they are used to that. However, just because you’ve been one way all your life, doesn’t mean you can’t change! The bottom line, is however you treat yourself, you are then teaching other people to treat you the same way. No, even though you give to them selflessly, they are not inspired to return the favor. That’s a subtle and manipulative deal that you may have accepted, but they may be completely unaware that anything is expected from them toward you! So, you have to find a way to figure out what your NEEDS are, not WANTS. Needs are like water, air, food, shelter. You can’t live without them. Wants are things you fit in because you enjoy them or value them. But they don’t keep you alive. Some needs you can go a long time without, such as food. But air is something you have to have every minute or two! You have loving friends and family who probably appreciate all you do, but have gotten so used to your routine help that it has become an expectation. If you decide that you NEED a nap and can’t help a friend move, or that you NEED to stay home and relax after a hard day, then you NEED to take care of you first and foremost. If you don’t, absolutely no one else will. Why? Not because they don’t care or don’t love you, but because they don’t have the inside track to how you feel physically, emotionally, financially or socially. If you always say yes, they probably assume you are gregarious, outgoing and love being busy and surrounded by others. And that might still be true, but there still may be a time here and there that you NEED to say no, to get your sleep, relax or just be. Here’s a tip. As you start to say no (try it out and see how you feel. Write in a journal about how it feels; what is hard about it, where do you succeed, and when do you cave in to others; what are the triggers that get you saying “yes” when you NEED to say no? You WILL feel guilty. Lots of guilt. And probably your friends and family will pile on the guilt too. Not because they don’t love you, but because they are used to you taking care of them and they don’t want you to stop. So it kills you? Then they’ll feel guilty, but not until then. So you feel guilty? Spare me! Save guilt for doing something really wrong, like carjacking or robbing a bank. THOSE are actions that deserve guilt as a response. Taking care of you is your one responsibility as an adult and no one else can do it for you. No one else knows exactly what you are experiencing moment to moment. And if you have trouble figuring out what you need, imagine how much harder it is for your friends and family, who don’t want you to change. Tell them before saying no something to prepare them for the changes you are about to start. Tell them you are more tired these days than you used to be (I know that one is true for me, age hits us all) and that you will be saying no, not to be mean or heartless, but to focus a bit more on taking care of you. They don’t have to like the timing of your saying no and taking a nap when they want your assistance, but they don’t have to like it. As you have already experienced, doing everything for everyone else hasn’t made them happy either! Because happiness comes from within. It’s an attitude we create. You can’t create someone else’s happiness, so that’s a losing proposition. So go forth boldly, taking care of you. Make a list of your NEEDS. Then, tell your friends your plan to pull back, so they aren’t shocked. Then, try saying no. Take that nap, and see how you feel after, refreshed and energized, calm and quiet inside. Keep me posted and let me know how it is going. This is going to be a process for you, not something you master in 3 weeks.

Christine C. Cantrell

 Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-288

Click here to email Christine.

Dear Christine, Baby Fever in Berkley

  • Posted on May 15, 2017 at 10:55 am

Dear Christine,

My wife and I want to have a baby. Her best friend is a straight guy that she’s known since middle school. He has offered to be the baby daddy. Now I’ve always been a little jealous of their closeness and I tell her all the time that that boy is in love with you. She shrugs it off.

So back to the baby. This guy is a good choice for donor for many reasons. He is smart, good looking, he even has my ethnic background. He’s agreed to sign off on any parental rights but wants to be a part of our lives–like he already is really.

It’s the how. They think it’s perfectly ok for them to have sex to accomplish this. They say they’ve never been intimate before and I believe that. They have even said they will make it more like a procedure and not intimate and I can be in the room!

I want us to have a baby so bad and for medical reasons, it’s better for her to carry the baby. Should I go along with this? Is this as normal as they are trying to convince me that it is?

Help please!!

Signed Baby Fever in Berkley

Dear Baby Fever,

So you and your wife want to have a baby, but you are jealous of your wife’s closeness with her straight, male friend from long ago. And they want to do the cheap and old fashioned method of conception, even including you. But you have second thoughts. OK. These days, there are other ways to have a baby. The three of you could agree on a doctor’s office where he is given some Playboy magazines and a cup and some privacy and he produces sperm. That sperm could then be inserted with the traditional turkey baster in your own home, just you and your wife, or could be inserted with the assistance of a doctor. If you are feeling jealous already, why watch your wife have clinical pregnancy insemination with someone she cares about, even if you are watching!? Also, make sure to contact a lawyer about drawing up legal papers to have him sign off on parenting whatever child might emerge from this union. I have heard of plenty of situations where there was an agreement, but it was not legally sound, and years later, the father challenged the mothers in court to have some legal relationship with the child. Also, if he is a part of your family anyway, be prepared for questions from your resulting child. If that child looks like him or has traits that are clearly from him, the questions will follow, eventually. If you and your wife are really ready to have a baby, you will be honest with each other about what you really are comfortable doing and what each of you are really not ok with doing. There’s no right or wrong that supersedes, but for your marriage’s sake, you and your wife need to be completely clear with each other about what you can and can’t tolerate. Good luck, whatever method you use! Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

Dear Christine, Alarmed Aunt in Auburn Hills

  • Posted on March 27, 2017 at 9:20 am

Dear Christine,

About 15 years ago my sister, now 72, started distancing herself from members of her family. First, her twin sons, now grown men with families, then our father. More recently me, when 3 years ago I found her sons and sent her a photo of her grandson. I haven’t seen her since. She showed up on the doorstep of her older son’s house 15 years ago and moved into his back room in a very small house. She wouldn’t tell anyone why she left her own house. She has stopped driving, wakes up and goes to bed early, and watches TV and seems to enjoy that, according to my nephew. Pretty much no life for someone who used to live a very active social life.

Her sons have moved back to the area and want some answers. She abandoned them to their fathers’ care when they were just teenagers, and now in their midthirties, they are suffering from that rejection.

The twins have had no luck getting her to answer the phone or the door. The older son, by her first husband, told the wife of one of the twins that she doesn’t want to see them.

I know right before she started changing that she was dating a married man. I assume that didn’t go well. My sister is also smart, a MENSA member. Our mother passed around the same time this started and our father moved to Florida and married again fairly quickly. Two questions: How can the twins get resolution when she won’t speak to them? Is there anything I can do to get my sister some mental health care?

Alarmed Aunt in Auburn Hills

Dear Alarmed Aunt,

Let’s see if I get the family configuration here. Your parents had two children: You and your sister, age 72 and smart. Your sister was married twice. She had her elder son with her first husband and then twin sons with her second husband. She abandoned her sons to their fathers’ care when they were teens. She is no longer married, but was dating someone who was married. She began to change and inexplicably moved in with her oldest son. Your mother died around this time and your father then moved to Florida and remarried. Your sister has cut off her contact with the twins and your father and you, causing pain and confusion all around.

If that is true, your sister has a safe home and family taking care of her. As far as you know, your sister is sane and able to make decisions about her life and her care, probably assisted by her oldest son and his wife. She chooses to have no contact with other family members. If that is the case there is very little you can do. She has the right to live where she wants and associate with those she prefers and dissociate from those she prefers not to see. She doesn’t owe anyone any explanations, though it would be helpful to all involved if you understood what she is thinking and why these changes occurred.

What causes the pain and turmoil is that you don’t know is the “why” behind her behaviors and decisions. Are you in touch with her oldest son? He would have direct information about her physical and mental health, her finances and ability to take care of herself and whether or not she might be experiencing cognitive decline from normal aging or from other causes (alcohol intake, drugs, lack of nutrition, diabetes, dementia, small strokes, called TIAs) or any major health problems. He would know if she is under the care of doctor, a general practitioner or a geriatric specialist. You don’t know if she knows or cares that her sons are in emotional turmoil from her apparent rejection of them for the last 15 to 20 years. So, I join you in wondering what in the heck is going on and who has your sister become.

If your sister won’t respond to the twins or you, the next logical person to contact is her eldest son and his wife. What is your relationship with them? Are they open to talking to you or his brothers about this situation? Are they able and willing to shed some light on what is going on emotionally, physically, financially and socially with your sister? Do they agree that there is something out of character for your sister going on, like cognitive decline, dementia or TIAs? Have they accompanied her to a doctor appointment? Do they know if your sister might be depressed? Is she open to family, medical or psychiatric intervention?

There’s very little you can do at this point. If your sister lived alone, you could request the police do a wellness check. I would start by contacting the son she’s living with. If he and/or his family will help you understand any of what is going on, that would be helpful. If they are obstructive, then you are at a dead end. If you believe that her son may be abusing her, then call Adult Protective Services in the city where they live and they will investigate the case. Your sister has the right to do and see and interact , or not, with whomever she chooses. As long as she is not a danger to herself or others, there is no legal reason you may interfere and insist she get a mental health evaluation or other medical services. Meanwhile, send her your thoughts of love and wish her peace.

If you need to, lean on other family members, such as your other nephews, and friends and spiritual or psychological guides. Psychotherapy might be helpful to figure out how to let go of that which you cannot change and to not take personally the actions of someone who has changed drastically from the sister you grew up with/mother who birthed them. It hurts and it’s very hard to watch from a distance and feel helpless. Take care of you and encourage your nephews to take care of themselves and each other. Take care of those whom you love and who are able to respond. Take care and keep me posted. Christine Cantrell, PhD

Psychologist