Dear Annie: About 10 years ago, my brother, “Sam,” stopped speaking to me. The reason was that he set me up with his best friend when I was 18, but after two years together, I realized it wasn’t going anywhere and broke it off. Sam went ballistic on me: I broke up with the greatest guy in the world. Nobody else would ever want me. I hurt his best friend, and he could never trust me again.
Four years ago, Sam informed me via certified letter that he was getting married and if I set one foot inside the church, he would call the police. I sent him a gift, and it took eight months before I received a thank-you note from his wife, a woman I’ve never met.
Last month, I sent my brother an e-mail asking if we could let the past rest because I was getting married and wanted him to be a part of my big day. I got the most awful response. He said the world would be a better place if I just stopped living, that nobody loved me and that I was a vile human being. He even went to my fiance’s office to tell him how awful I am in the hope that he’d dump me. Thankfully, my fiance laughed it off.
My parents keep saying Sam will come around, but after 10 years, I doubt it. To top it off, my parents are so worried about upsetting Sam (They are afraid he’ll keep them from seeing the grandchildren.) that they are not planning to attend my wedding, either. Why can’t my brother get past this? – Midwest
Dear Midwest: Sam sounds mentally ill. His reaction to your breakup with his best friend was completely irrational, and the fact that it has lasted 10 years is a grudge out of all proportion. It’s a shame your parents feel blackmailed into appeasing him. You cannot make this better on your own. We hope you have wonderful in-laws who will fill the void.