DEAR ABBY: My two siblings and I were raised by an abusive, alcoholic father. Predictably, it has adversely affected our mental health adversely. One sibling struggles with alcoholism and substance abuse. The other has a personality disorder and cannot maintain stable relationships. I cope with comparatively fewer severe issues, but I still must work hard to sustain a marriage and my career and raise healthy children. It isn't easy.
My siblings' issues have disrupted my emotional health and family life, which is why I keep them at a distance. Lately, they have expressed feeling abandoned. Other family members call me selfish and say I'm obligated to help them because I'm "the successful one." I do feel some guilt for not helping more, as we all survived the same toxic childhood. Yet, my emotional bandwidth is limited. Frankly, people with alcoholism and personality disorders are hard to be around, even if they are family. Is it selfish to prioritize my well-being by maintaining distance from my siblings? -- THEIR BROTHER
DEAR BROTHER: Your first priority must be your emotional health. Next should be the well-being of your spouse and children and the career that enables you to provide for them. If maintaining some distance from these siblings is selfish, then call it "enlightened" selfishness. Help them to the extent you can, but do not allow yourself to be emotionally arm-twisted by other relatives who remain on the sidelines.