DEAR MAMA BEAR: Your daughter has survived high school, and along with it the cruel treatment of the girls who promised to befriend her. For that, I congratulate her. Teenagers can be so completely centered on themselves that the feelings of others do not exist for them. Also, girls in high school tend to form cliques. Add to that the fact that there is so much misunderstanding about mental illness — not only among teens but also adults — and I have a pretty good idea of what happened and so should you. What life lesson do you think exploring this with the other parents will accomplish for your daughter? Your efforts would be better spent by continuing to emotionally support her and encouraging her to move forward with her life.
DEAR ABBY: My husband’s family is full of people who drink too much and then act like fools, slurring their words, stumbling and vomiting. It happens at many gatherings, and it stresses me out. They often pressure me to drink more and/or get drunk. Because I don’t do it, I feel ostracized at these gatherings where I’m told I need to “loosen up” or “cheer up” by drinking more. No one else in my life thinks I’m uptight. I’m normally very sociable. These days, I avoid those family gatherings as often as possible, but I’m afraid I’m courting more problems by not participating in family activities. My relationship with my husband is fantastic, and he understands and supports me, but I don’t feel like his family does. I’ve tried to be frank with them, but the conversations don’t seem to stick. I can’t avoid my husband’s family forever. What to do? — IN THE MINORITY IN LOUISIANA
DEAR MINORITY: Because you have told your in-laws that being urged to drink makes you uncomfortable yet they persist, you are doing all you can short of cutting off all contact with them. Continue to limit the times you attend those family events, and when asked about your absence, continue to be frank about the reason. Then hope they are sober enough to get the message when you deliver it.
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.