Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Mother's cancer gets in the way of a wedding

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

At this point in her life, we don't think her behavior will change. We just want her to be aware of how we feel, so that any future visits will be doable; so that maybe she will try to hold her tongue a bit, in the future.

What are your thoughts?

-- Worried

Dear Worried: I don't relish being an armchair diagnostician, but it is possible that your sister-in-law is in something of a manic state. I note that she has always been a talker, but you say that this has gotten worse.

Your husband has nothing to lose -- and it might actually be helpful if he started the conversation by expressing concern: "Sis, the last time you were with us, do you realize that you talked nonstop for almost two hours? This doesn't seem normal to me, and I wonder if you are OK."

She might react defensively, but occasionally a loving and respectful correction can cause a person to reflect on their behavior and work to make some changes.

Even if she doesn't change, being honest about this can enable your husband to cope with this openly in the future: "Sis, take a breath. Let's have a conversation, not a monologue."

Dear Amy: "Feeling Torn" described the terrible awkwardness in the family after parents and godparents dissolved their business relationship.

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You compared this to a divorce and noted that children of divorce often successfully compartmentalize their relationships in order to get along.

My parents went through a nasty divorce, and my sisters and I struggled, but over time we sort of put these relationships in separate drawers. When I'm with them, I actually visualize drawers that I open and close, and this seems to help.

-- Been There

Dear Been There: This sounds like a tidy technique to cope with messy relationships.


(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: Readers may send postal mail to Amy Dickinson, c/o Tribune Content Agency, 16650 Westgrove Drive, Suite 175, Addison, Texas, 75001. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.)


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