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Fierce and forgetful

Dear Manay Gina,
My oldest sister is my best friend. Since we’re 10 years apart, I have always looked up to her. She always knows what’s best for me in any situation, or so she thinks. Many times over the years she has hurt my feelings with snide remarks about my relationships or work-related issues. She says cruel things without realizing she is hurting my feelings. But I still get her opinion whether I want it or not. However, the older she gets, the worse she becomes.

Lately, I noticed that she’s doing it to everyone – families and even her colleagues. She has become, what we call, brutally frank and very forgetful. I really suspect she is becoming senile at 56, if that’s possible. I have tolerated her all my life because I love her dearly. But I avoid her more and more these days. What can I do? She is family and I cannot let her know she is hurting my feelings.

Mely

Dear Mely,
Unfortunately, senility or even Alzheimer’s can begin earlier than 56. In fact, according to the Dementia Society of the Philippines, an estimated 200,000 Filipinos suffer from dementia. Many more, it seems, remain unreported.

Anyway, this kind of mental deterioration can amplify whatever leanings the person had before. If she was bossy earlier, that trait could become more pronounced with a neurological problem.

I wonders why you think you can’t let her know she is hurting your feelings? What you – or someone in the family – should do is get her to a neurologist. Getting the right treatment is essential to helping a person live well with dementia.

Now, if there’s nothing wrong with her wiring, then tell her she is apparently unaware of the effect of her words. Good luck.

Affectionately,

Manay Gina

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“For it is mutual trust, even more than mutual interest that holds human associations together.” – H. L. Mencken
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Send questions to dearmanaygina@yahoo.com (Gina de Venecia)

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