Hey Captain, I (she/her) am getting married in May! Besides all the awful that is wedding planning, my fiancé (he/him) and I are excited and happy to celebrate this milestone. His parents had a short, violent relationship that resulted in their divorce and going no-contact with each other when my fiancé was a child. I, … Continue reading #1249: Parents who are no contact (with each other) at our wedding.
Hello lovely readers! Whenever I write about family estrangement, setting boundaries with family members, difficult parents, etc. a) I'm usually answering a bunch of letters in one, if that makes sense, like, there are many of this kind of question so I am picking one to tackle at length and b) immediately afterward I get … Continue reading Family Estrangement and Personal Bandwidth: A Request
This is another one in a series about difficult parent relationships: A dad who wants to talk on the phone for hours about only the things he wants to talk about and who reminds his daughter, when she tries to set boundaries, that he has nobody else to talk to. It's about guilt and about … Continue reading #1248: “How to set boundaries with someone who just doesn’t listen to me?”
I've gotten a bunch of letters about family weirdness and estrangement and boundaries (weird, almost like there was a series of events in the last month that forced a lot of family togetherness, can't think would have caused all these old wounds to re-open at the same time? 😉 ) and I'm going to put … Continue reading #1247 “I went no-contact with my mother and it’s turned her into a bogeyman”: Anxiety, Anticlimax, and the Aftermath of Estrangement.
Dear Captain, I (34/she/her pronouns) have a new stepfather as of this summer. He has been with my mom off and on for the last 10+ years, and they finally married in July 2019. I think this man is a Garbage Human, but we have to let our parents make their own adult decisions. A … Continue reading #1245: “My Brand New Stepfather Thinks We Are On The ‘LW’S Mom Is Terrible Train’ Together. Help?”
Ahoy Captain, This past year I (31/F) finally received a diagnosis for what I've been struggling with for over half my life. I have Complex PTSD/PTSD (I'll spare you the differences and overlaps) (Ed. Note: No worries! I, Jennifer, will link people to a basic explainer.) Encouraged by my therapist I shared the PTSD with my … Continue reading #1243: “Broaching a service dog with dismissive family.”
Hello, Captain, Quick aside: I really like your switch to allowing comments only on select posts. It makes the whole site somehow calmer and more inviting. Being able to read your writing without the distraction of subconsciously wondering what sharp poky things might turn up at the bottom is relaxing in a way I wouldn't … Continue reading #1242: “What’s a helpful holiday gift for my 10YO niece who has crappy parents?”
I wrote a piece for VICE about taking good care of yourself during holiday visits with family. We're at work on the sequel about hosting holiday visits that people won't have to write to internet advice columns about. The therapist I spoke with for the Vice piece, Rae McDaniel, is a delight and had so … Continue reading Captain Awkward at Vice and other links.
It's time for the monthly feature where I answer the things people typed into their search engine before they wound up here as if they are questions. These come in completely anonymously and context-free. A few links before we get started: Dear Mantis on Twitter: Great advice column or GREATEST ADVICE COLUMN? Our beloved Goat … Continue reading It Came From The Search Terms: Cold November Wind
Hi! I am 28, she/her. My sister in law ("A") is also 28 and my brother ("D") is 31. I have a question about gift etiquette. Last year on my birthday, A and D gave me a bunch of used DVDs. They got me slightly damaged copies of a couple movies and every season of … Continue reading #1237: “What to do about deliberately bad gifts?” A post about letting go of some etiquette rules when they no longer serve you.