While I'm away, readers give the advice.

On people who see therapy as an admission of weakness:

I'm a guy. I'm also someone you might have met at a Mensa meeting years ago when I was kind of an elitist, arrogant toe rag. Going to a therapist is something I just would not have done; so much of my self-worth was wrapped in being smarter than people that admitting I needed help thinking through something would have been unthinkable.

Sadly, it took some traumatic events to wake me up to the fact that maybe I didn't know everything about everything. And an amazing revelation that people could still like/love me if I was fallible. I don't know how to make someone see the light, but if a person is agreeable and really tries, therapy might really help.

On older relatives who play favorites:

My grandparents' generation (all four sides) had a total of over two dozen siblings. During my 20-year Navy career, I made it a point to appear to be a good nephew by sending postcards from foreign ports and remembering birthdays and anniversaries, mostly because I enjoyed getting mail and care packages at sea.

Shortly before I retired, a great-aunt who had lost her only child in World War II passed and left me everything. She mentioned in her will that she chose me as her heir because I didn't forget her.

I really didn't know how much the cards I sent every so often and the occasional letter meant to her, but evidently it meant almost a million bucks. I didn't scheme to get into relatives' wills - I was probably as lonely at sea as they were at home, and I really hated mail-calls if I had nothing. I had lots of time to write, so I reached out. Who knew, right?

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.