Dear Barb – The Crime of Divorce

Dear Barb:

I have a very dysfunctional family and it has been that way as far back as I can remember. My parents divorced when the kids were all quite young. It was a difficult divorce. My parents do not speak to each other and the extended families have chosen sides, therefore I really don’t know any of my dad’s family. The dissention has filtered into the relationships amongst the siblings as well. I really want my family to stop the fighting and get along. I don’t know if I should try to make things better or just let things be and accept that this is how my family is ? Confused Carrie.

Hey Carrie:

It’s never a bad thing to try to heal a family, but you will have to accept that there is only so much you can do; the rest is beyond your control. Perhaps arranging a family gathering at a nearby park would be a good start. Invite everyone. Ignore the comments from family member who say they are not coming if so and so is coming. Invite everyone. Suggest each person bring their favorite dish and then just see what happens. You may be surprised at the outcome, sometimes all is required is one person to take the initiative. Best of Luck Carrie.

Dear Barb:

My older brother was recently sent to prison. I know he deserved it, but at times I feel guilty. At times when I’m out living my life and having fun, I feel very sad that he is stuck in prison. I try to see him as much as I can, but it is a long way to travel. My parents are sad all the time and feel that it was something they did that caused him to get in trouble. I wish I could help them to feel better, but I don’t know if there is anything I can do. Even his girlfriend calls me up crying and I don’t know what to say to her. Do you have any advice for someone in my position? Thanks Travis.

Hi Travis:

Thanks for writing. We all make mistakes in life and we ultimately have to pay the consequences for those mistakes. I don’t know what your brother did, but it was serious enough to land him in prison. When someone in the family goes to prison it impacts the entire family, as evident in your family. Parents often question what they may have done to cause the situation and siblings often feel guilty as you do. I could say you and your parents have no reason to feel guilty but those are just words. My suggestion would be to make an appointment with your family doctor and he/she can recommend a support group for families who have loved ones in prison. As well there is an online support group: I believe with some support you and your family should be able to get through this difficult time. Take care.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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