Dear AMY, Several years ago, I joined a well-known DNA testing center to advance my genealogical research.
My family is relatively small ̵
Last week, much to my surprise, a half-sister was identified. This sibling was born in another country and still lives there. She is one year younger than my middle sister.
After following this up, I confirmed the relationship. Not only that, but also that this half-sibling actually met my parents about 20 years ago.
My parents have died in the meantime and have decided to bury this secret. My sisters and I are all seniors.
My husband is the only family member who knows about it. I do not know if I should share this information with my other sisters. My husband says I should tell my children. Any advice / insight would be welcome.
Dear Secret Keeper: Your people might have buried this secret, but you should not do it.
From you narrative, it sounds as if your parents – by meeting them – recognized (and perhaps accepted) this half-sibling. I hope that could make things easier for you if you think about making this disclosure.
The truth is the truth. Your genealogy is a diagram of your family over time. Genealogy requires no value judgments.
Yes, this knowledge can raise many unanswerable personal questions for you and your family, but you and your sisters should accept the burden of not having answers and find a way to deal with them.
Please understand that as humans we are complicated and full of contradictions. We are faulty and frail. But the truth is the truth, and you should not be afraid.
Dear Amy, I am a 60-year-old woman. A few years ago, I returned to the middle-sized city where I grew up to look after my aging father.
When I was in high school, I got involved with a young man who was controlled and insulting
The relationship lasted until my early 20's when I finished it. I moved on, and he moved away from college.
Fast forward to now, and I recently learned from an old friend that this person moved back to our hometown. Amy, I realize that I have not completely dealt with the trauma of this abusive relationship, and my feelings of anger at that person have reappeared.
Although our city is quite large, I'm worried that I might encounter this person in a shop or restaurant. How could I react?
Can you help me so that this past spirit has no power over me?
Fear of the Past
LOVE AFRAID: I hope you understand that your fear of someone who abused you – though years ago – is reasonable and rational. This type of anxiety reaction has probably helped you to leave the relationship. It is the reaction of your brain and your body to a real (or perceived) threat.
You should not override or ignore this fear, but instead develop sound strategies to deal with the possibility of seeing that person.  Some options are: escape, avoidance and confrontation. It may be helpful to turn off various scenarios to make you desensitize for the possibility of meeting your ex.
My instinct is that if you meet him – or see him from afar – you would first notice how "old" he is. "Perpetrators are big and powerful in our eyes." A perpetrator can still have his own Fear and intimidate weakness, and that is the effect and consequence of an earlier trauma.
A therapist would be very helpful here, as you are facing many transitions and challenges at your age and stage of life.You deserve to regain your strength.  Would you like to send Ask Amy to your inbox for free on weekdays?
DEAR AMY: "Doggone" started dating a woman who had her dog sleeping in bed, which bothered both of them.  Therefore, I refuse to meet people with dogs or cats, and I find that they have trouble coping with why they have pets.
"Doggone" should just go could be happier with a nondog dog.
DEAR FLORIDA: I totally disagree that a pet suggests that a human has "coping problems".
However, I fully agree that people who do not like animals (or do not want to live near them) should not be with people who have them. Pets – like humans – need and deserve attention and affection.
You can email Amy Dickinson to [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.