Ask Amy: Readers offer their own advice
Dear Amy: I was troubled by your response to Cathy S., who told her family to leave all their old hurts and issues at home for the holidays.
Suppressing those feelings may lead to more pleasant holiday get-togethers, but it also sounds like a recipe for superficial, distant relationships.
I like the idea of saying what you're grateful for and trying to focus on the positive. But when conflict appears, the ideal would be to insist on more respectful healthy ways of managing it rather than pretending it doesn't exist.
– Happy Families Take Work
Dear Happy Families: I understand your overall point, but “Cathy S” was not suggesting that her family should completely bury their wounds, gripes and hurts, but to recognize that there is a time, and a place, for airing them.
I think that asking family members to shelve their disagreements during a holiday gathering helps to create a reasonable boundary; if families concentrate on building positive experiences during these times, I believe it can give them more of a foundation to stand on, later.
Dear Amy: “The Wedding Singer” pointed out that she suffers from crippling anxiety when asked to perform at weddings and funerals.
Panic attacks when on stage are a well-known problem.
Your advice to The Wedding Singer is direct and effective.
However, should she actually wish to sing if she were freed from anxiety, she should speak with her doctor.