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Sun, April 21

Dear Annie: The roller coaster that is sisterly drama

Dear Annie: My sister “Katy” is 10 years older than I and has never married or had children. She was a devoted and loving auntie to my kids when they were young, but they have grown up and don’t hang with her much anymore. She and I have grown apart, as well, in part because of my own devotion to my family and husband but also because of our roller coaster relationship.

Every year, she gets angry with me for some reason. We don’t talk for a bit, and then I reach out to her via email or talk to her face-to-face. Often, I will apologize just to get the conversation going. She will never admit that she has been out of line, nor will she ever apologize. My mom says she will never change.

Am I doomed to ride this roller coaster for the rest of my life? What can I do to change how we get along? -- Feeling Queasy in Vermont

Dear Feeling Queasy: No one can force you onto a roller coaster ride without your consent (as any daredevil friend of a fraidy-cat at the amusement park could tell you). You are not doomed to keep joining your sister on these emotional loop-the-loops. The following are my tips for keeping steady ground when dealing with your sister.

1) This may not be about anything you can change. Accept that. It’s the first step toward serenity.

2) Stop apologizing when you don’t mean it. When you acquiesce to her bullying behavior, you indulge the dysfunction.

3) That said, try to take an unflinching look within and see whether you have any prejudices about your sister and her life choices. I’m not saying you do, but it’s worth doing a little self-examination, and if any such thoughts show up, try to scrutinize and be aware of them.

4) Be honest and open with your sister. Tell her more or less what you’ve told me -- that you’d like to have a better relationship with her and that you regret all the fighting that seems to come up between you.

But also, set some healthy boundaries. Being open doesn’t mean subjecting yourself to cruelty. If she gets nasty, tell her you love her and are ready to talk when she’s ready to do so in a respectful manner.

Dear Annie: Obviously, everyone knows that drinking alcohol can cause a hangover. But can marijuana have a similar effect? I used some the other day and felt terrible the day after. I’ve never heard anyone talk about feeling yucky the day after using marijuana, but I sure did. I have to assume that because I’ve used marijuana only a handful of times, this out-of-the-ordinary mood swing was related. The two unusual things paired together can’t be a coincidence, right? -- Setback From Smoking

Dear Setback: To answer your question generally, two unusual things paired together absolutely can be a coincidence. “Correlation does not imply causation,” as they say in data science.

On to the rest of your question. I’m going to assume you’re writing from one of the states in which recreational marijuana use is now legal. The jury is still out on whether marijuana use can cause a hangover, it seems. Scientific studies on the effects of marijuana have been limited because of its illegality. From what I found in researching your question, there are plenty of anecdotal accounts of brain fog and headaches the day after marijuana use. My advice is to listen to your body. If something makes you feel ill, discontinue use of it.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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