Dear Abby: Man discovers lost family, but still feels unwanted

DEAR ABBY: I was adopted at 6 weeks old. My parents adopted my sister two years later. They weren't very good parents — not abusive, but with no understanding of how to treat children. Ten years later they had a biological son, who became the center of their world, and I was pretty much left alone at a young age to raise myself. 

Thirty years ago, I found my birth mother. At first she denied it, and then she acknowledged it. In a letter she wrote a few days later, she said she had wondered for 40 years what she'd do if the day came when she had to face up to what she did. She then told me never to contact her or her family again. 

A few years later, against her wishes, I contacted and met her two sons. At the time, I believed we were half-brothers. She died eight years ago. Through extensive research, I have since learned who my father was. It turns out he was the father of all three of her sons! 

My "brothers" resemble me, and our lives are similar. They know how to contact me, but haven't. I think they are following our mother's wishes. I have DNA proof we are full brothers, but I don't think they know. Should I contact them and tell them, or let the sleeping dog lie?

— ANOTHER BROTHER IN THE SOUTH

DEAR BROTHER: It's likely that when you were born, your parents could not support and raise you, which is sad. Having made contact with your siblings, I think it's time to let sleeping dogs lie. They have made clear that although there is a biological tie, they are not interested in a closer relationship. Trying to force one won't bring you the sense of belonging you are searching for. I have mentioned before the concept of "chosen" families people build when they are estranged from their relatives by birth. I urge you to look in that direction.

DEAR ABBY: My beloved passed away 20 months ago. I did not have a service. Recently, a close family friend went to visit the burial site and place flowers. Our plaque has his date of birth and date of "departure." This friend then posted a photo of it to Facebook and shared it with everyone on her "friends" list. Some of them I don't know, and I was more than a bit shocked seeing the picture. (I found it scrolling on my FB page.) 

I realize Facebook is public, but am I wrong in thinking she shouldn't have posted and shared it without asking permission? Am I a relic? I found it disrespectful.

— MISSING HIM IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR MISSING: I am sorry for the loss of your loved one and for your pain. The friend visited his grave because she cared for him and wanted to pay her respects. Because the visit was meaningful to her, she posted about it on FB. It's not unusual for people to post about what they are doing. I see nothing disrespectful about it, nor do I think permission needed to be sought. And no, you are NOT a "relic"; you are a woman who is deeply grieving the loss of her mate, and I respect that.

DEAR ABBY: In our 20 years of marriage, my wife's two sons have frequently stopped by or called ahead with literally 10 minutes to a half-hour's notice. It usually happens around mealtime, when we aren't prepared for feeding multiple people. 

I plan every meal in advance, and would welcome them to visit with a little common courtesy. We had two lamb chops in the oven and 10 minutes before we were ready to eat when one of the sons and his wife called to stop right over. I was furious, but my wife said they'll be gone in 10 minutes. It turned into an hour. I was waiting for them to leave, but then my wife invited them to stay for dinner. I blew up and hollered loud enough that they all left, which later led to a huge argument. 

My wife insists family can stop by anytime. I disagree. Common courtesy should be taught, and there's nothing wrong with saying, "Now's not good. How about in an hour or two?" Who's right?

— HUSBAND IN THE KITCHEN

DEAR HUSBAND: Everyone was wrong in this unfortunate situation. The son and his wife know your routine. They shouldn't have been stopping by without warning. Your wife should not have allowed them to sit around making small talk for an hour while your dinner was growing cold. For her to have invited them to stay for dinner when there wasn't enough food was thoughtless. 

I can't blame you for losing your temper, if this is something you and your wife have discussed before. However, it could have been handled without raising your voice. In the future, perhaps you could have some prepared meals in your freezer for occasions like this. Or, when family calls to say they are on the way, you can suggest they bring something with them.

DEAR ABBY: I work at a corporate office, where I'm treated very well. My boss is nothing but polite to me and even takes the time to joke around with me. Although she is kind to me, she's curt and rude to other staff members. Two of them have quit their positions and expressed that one of the main reasons was how stressed they felt because of how she treated them. Besides being rude, she also went out of her way to criticize their work. 

She is now bullying a third staff member, who confided that they, too, aren't sure they want to stick around. To complicate this further, the head of HR is a close friend of my boss, so no one feels comfortable reporting her. How can I let her know she's creating a tense atmosphere when I haven't experienced her behavior myself?

— FRETTING IN PHILLY

DEAR FRETTING: Although you like your boss and are loyal to the company, I think it would be unwise to do what you have in mind. From your description of what has been happening, your boss may be behaving this way with certain employees so they will quit and she won't be required to give them unemployment benefits.

About Dear Abby

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.