Sins of the family

Joey Garcia

My stepfather had an affair with my sister. My mom blames my sister for seducing my stepfather and went to counseling with him to save her marriage. She also stopped talking to my sister. I know that what my sister did was reprehensible, but my stepfather (I hate even calling him that) is a creep. Before he and my mom married, she thought he was fooling around with a woman in his office. He denied it, and she believed him, despite the text messages that showed something was going on. He’s also always way too touchy with me; it’s gross. When I complained to my mom, she blamed me. I’m getting married in August. I don’t want any family drama at my wedding. I definitely will not invite my stepfather. But should I invite my mom or sister?

Who can’t you live without? If you never spoke to your mother again, would you still allow yourself to thrive? If you had to live the remainder of life without another conversation with your sister, would you be capable of shrugging off regret? These are the important questions you face. To answer honestly, you must first engage in the soul work of forgiveness.

Forgive your mother for her fear of being alone. It has driven her to confuse the state of being single with the feeling of being lonely. She has failed to open her mind, heart and spirit to the joy of solitude and the profound freedom that accompanies the single life. Her desperation to avoid her own company forces her continued attachment to a man who betrays her.

Forgive your sister for her compulsive need for attention. She confuses lust with genuine interest. By having an affair with her mother’s husband, she is unconsciously seeking power over her mother by temporarily taking her place. Yes, serious childhood issues are operating in this situation.

Forgive your stepfather for his moral emptiness. He nurtures a serious level of self-hate and misogyny. He has not learned yet how to love and may actually be incapable of it.

And, finally, forgive yourself for believing that there is some proper etiquette that should be followed on your wedding day. Hey, it’s your party: Invite whoever you want to invite. Send your mother and sister a notice post-ceremony and explain that, like King Solomon, you opted to let love make the choice. And, yes, that means you love everyone involved so much that you allow them to maintain the boundaries they have so clearly established.

I am in a new job, and the person I was hired to work for has left. My new boss never answers a question directly. Instead of answering me, he rambles on about nothing, or he tells me a story, or he answers my question with another question. I am so frustrated. I want to do a good job, but I don’t feel like I can succeed without receiving specific direction and advice as needed.

Of course you can! The gift in this situation is that you will learn to trust your own judgment. So stop asking your boss for advice. He obviously does not have the answers you need, and he is not able to admit that to you. Instead of seeking direction or approval from him, proceed at work according to your own common sense, accumulated wisdom and professional expertise. You should also actively seek a mentor at your firm or in your industry. Try searching LinkedIn or hire a personal coach who specializes in your field. In time, you will be ready to promote up into your boss’s role. And won’t that be fun?

Meditation of the week
“Confidence is over-rated. … [I]f you work with fear at your back—especially the kind of fear that comes from really caring about something—you're likely to work harder and be more successful than those people who seem so enviably self-assured,” says Maraya Cornell, who plans another 400-mile walk through Africa to raise awareness of the poaching crisis affecting elephants and rhinos. Read more about it at

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