DEAR P. OVER P.: Do it BEFORE the celebration by calling your hosting family member and explaining that there are now foods you cannot eat because of your diagnosed medical condition. Explain that you know they would not feed certain foods to a diabetic, and you need the same dispensation. Ask them to kindly not put you in the embarrassing position of having to refuse their delicious food, and if they feel it will cause a problem, they should excuse you from the event.
DEAR ABBY: Six months ago, my friend “Lindy’s” husband committed suicide. I have been there for her and understand it takes time, but I’m reaching my limit. I make plans with her for dinners at our home and at restaurants and have planned various outings, because I know it’s difficult to be in the house alone. However, she constantly manipulates, yells at me when she doesn’t get her way, and uses the loss of her husband as a rationale for why I and others must do what she wants regardless of what’s happening in our own lives, and expects us to tolerate this behavior. Because of the circumstances, I have given her several passes on the disgusting behavior she has displayed, and have gently spoken up on some occasions when she went too far. She’s pushing people away and quite vicious about it, but doesn’t see that she’s doing it to herself. How long must I tolerate her grieving process before enough is enough? — CONFUSED IN NEW YORK
DEAR CONFUSED: Lindy is not only grieving the loss of her husband, but raging because of what caused it. She’s a “survivor of suicide,” and the conflicting emotions — including anger and guilt — she’s carrying can make a person sick. If she isn’t receiving grief counseling, urge her to find some before she destroys her support system entirely. When Lindy becomes manipulative or abusive, you are within your rights to call her on it and take a step back. For your own sake, you shouldn’t continue to allow her to mistreat you.
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.