DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm ready to rock the boat on my uncle. My poor mom pretty much raised a six-child family while her father, a truck driver, did drugs and treated the family poorly. Her mother did much of the same. My mom was pretty much the slave of the family. Her brothers were horrible -- into drugs, just complete jerks -- while her sisters were teen nightmares. Most of the siblings stopped speaking to the parents, but my mother tried to keep communication lines open. Now my grandmother has dementia and some messy things have arisen with her will and power of attorney. After years of my uncle having nothing to do with his mother, he's back in her life. I'm pretty sure he took advantage of the fact she's losing it. Now, my grandma has been led to believe he has been the one always there helping! My mom is one of the most sweet and strong women. I know it's breaking her heart, and it's not about money. Speaking up to the family is going to cause some drama, but I think it's needed. This uncle needs to be outed. I want to go down to his house and scream in his face for messing with my beautiful mother, taking advantage of his own and screwing the rest of his siblings. This guy has no morals and I can't stand it! The siblings aren't all that nice, but I have a feeling that when I speak up, the s--t will hit the fan. I think the family needs to know. What do you think? -- Defending My Mom, Winnipeg
Dear Defending Mom: Going to yell at this uncle alone isn't the street-smart way to deal with a nasty character. It may make you feel better to scream out your frustrations, but this man -- now grandma's golden boy -- will direct his nastiness directly at you and your mom, which means further alienation from grandma. Since there isn't a load of money at stake, you have to know your real goal. Is it for grandma to know her daughter has been the one there for her, and this son is a sham caretaker? For that, you need to talk to her alone. If you want to get the wind up about your brother in the family and make some misery for him, the best you can do is tell a few of the aunts and uncles what's up, and join forces. Who has power of attorney now? Is he contesting it? Go to your lawyer for best legal advice. This won't be the first time an interloper has tried to squeeze out the real helper in the family.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm writing in regards to your column about the bullied worker who quit. The Human Resources (HR) department is certainly the best place to start, but there should be more than just a written letter. It is commonplace to make yourself available for an "exit interview" in the last few days of a job. This can be initiated by you or the HR department. The interview is more than just a vent session to voice your displeasure of your employer/boss/company, but also an opportunity for the company to improve all aspects of their organization. It is a low-pressure interview and there are no wrong answers. If your boss or someone biased insists on sitting in, it'll be a waste of time. A good exit interview can also help establish a contact within the company who would provide a reference for one's hard work while understanding the circumstances under which you left. -- HR Grad, Winnipeg
Dear HR Grad: Thanks for taking the time to write in with help. Too often, employees quietly leave after being badly treated, and the work situation never improves. Since the victim who wrote me says she doesn't need a reference from this company, she has nothing to lose and she can help future employees by reporting the bullying boss -- plus she gets the anger off her chest. I remember being sexually hounded by a man in his 60s when I was a 19-year-old working in a big company. I quit the job I needed without saying anything because I didn't know what to do. He no doubt went on to target other people. Work bullies can't continue going after victims if they are brought to face consequences.