Dear Minerva Jayne,
My father is an alcoholic and my stepmother is lying, manipulative and controlling. Their love is conditional and brings me more angst than happiness. I've just had a baby and in order to have a relationship with my grandparents, I have to play my parents' games. How do I know when enough is enough? Is it time to break ties entirely? How do I live with myself?
Dear Genetically Tested,
It seems the relationships of at least six people are being controlled by two people bent on having their own way. What I can tell you is that while blood is thicker than water, sometimes blood isn't thick enough. Sometimes relationships grow anemic, sometimes they hemorrhage. Your father's alcoholism and stepmother's manipulation are no doubt the result of some seriously unchecked issues within their own lives and while you have to take into consideration the relationship your new baby deserves to have with relatives, you also have to consider the health of those environments. Just because someone is related by genes and marriage, they aren't automatically granted VIP access past the velvet rope of your heart. I think you need to have a conversation about how you are planning on raising your child. If they can't respect that, you can act accordingly with a clear conscience. Good luck!