Baggage Check Live: Move over cats, MLMs have taken over

Feb 05, 2019

Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Bonior was online to take your comments about her advice column, Baggage Check, and any other questions you might have. These comments may appear in an upcoming column running in Express and online.

Want to read more? Read Baggage Check columns.

Follow Dr. Andrea on Facebook here.

Welcome, everyone! I see you in full force in the queue and am so glad that you are here.

What is on your mind this week? In today's Baggage, we've got a blabby sister who doesn't seem to respect privacy. And in L2, we've got a showdown about decision-making between two spouses. What say you?

I've got a quiet house this week and am ready to think! (Still getting used to this magical development of no snow-day disruption.)

Let's begin!

Liked your answer but the LW didn't give enough specifics to really know what's going on. Hope they will chime in on the chat. Have many women friends where the bulk of the house decisions get left to them by default somehow. Wondering, if his wife wrote in would she be asking why he always puts things off or leaves it to her and then complains when she takes action.

Yes!

I really think this could go either way (or anything in between)-- and there are some great examples of both sides.

Oh, boy, Dr. Andrea--you sort of almost went there, way down in your response, but the man whose wife decides everything and then gaslights him about it seems to me to be a narcissist who is performing psychological abuse on him, I got myself out of a relationship like this a few years ago, and have helped a couple of friends get out of theirs, too. If she is a narcissist, she believes she is superior to him and that that gives her the right to make all the decisions. Whether she comes out and says it or not, she believes he is too stupid and will mess things up. She says what seems plausible to keep him quiet and compliant, but has no intention of ever letting him be an equal partner in the relationship. If she has this personality disorder, there is nothing he will be able to do about it except put a lot of distance between them, and I mean A LOT. He ought to read a few articles about narcissists (there are many on the Internet) and see if she fits these lists to a tee. And then go from there.

Hey, I didn't realize there even WAS a "way down" in my response that was possible, given that the word count for the print column is so miniscule!

I certainly think that that is a possibility, and I am very glad that in your case you were able to escape. And that's why I did mention it, way down or not.

But I also don't think we have nearly enough data to guess this from the brief information given. Honestly, I think it is just as likely that he is a procrastinator and she has been tasked with carrying the mental load of the household-- so it's more like "How DARE she choose which plumber to call! Who cares that she's the only one taking the initiative to pick up the phone after their roof has been leaking for four days? She should just keep waiting, because otherwise she's controlling him! Heck, she might as well multi-task and make the best of it by shampooing her hair under the leak in the meantime!"

So, yeah, I am guessing everyone sees the picture here through their own lens-- and my jury is still out.

I appreciate your perspective, though!

My lovely sister is a sociable, enthusiastic and optimistic person.. who is totally wasting those traits on some MLM scam. She dreams of making enough to leave her day job, and in the process is ruining friendships all over town and online. My research shows these schemes are like cults -- if you tell them it's a cult, they cut you out of their life. Is there any way to get through to her? I know I should mind my own business, but I can't stand to watch this...

Ugh.

Okay, one more time for those in the cheap seats—UGH.

I think we could have a whole chat on this alone (will MLMs be this week’s cats?) and it just doesn’t seem to be getting any better out there, despite there being more sources than ever before that are trying to get real about this stuff and educate people (“The Dream,” anyone?)

But you are right in that cognitive dissonance and the backfire effect may just make her dig her heels in further if you try to push her too hard. So, as I see it, your task is to hold fast to your own boundaries (No, you will not host a party for her or help her meet her monthly quotas, thankyaverymuch) and find a way to gently convey your “concerns” without making yourself the enemy of her dreams. The data show that a lot of people are too embarrassed to speak up when they start losing money hard on these things, so you can be her ally in that—trying to remain open to hearing about it rather than driving her underground. So—something along the lines of “I’m sorry, Sarah, but I worry about these things. I know you have high hopes for this and I wish I could share them. But I’ve heard of a lot of people losing money on these arrangements, and I also don’t want you wrecking your relationships because of it. But I want to be here for you if things start to go bad. I promise I won’t say “I told you so”—and I really do hope you succeed but can't directly be a part of it.”

I have been dating my fiancé for about 1.5 years. I love him very much, but I can’t take his controlling behaviors anymore. Whenever we try to have a conversation I am the one that ends up feeling worse and in his mind everything is fine and back to normal. I’m not allowed to talk to friends, family, or even my therapist about anything having to do with our relationship. If I want to go out with friends or to the gym he has a problem with it. He has decided that we will not live together or have children until we are married (I’m getting close to 40 and he is significantly older). He tries to control the doctors that I talk to and the decisions that I make regarding my fertility. He cares too much about what people think of him and doesn’t believe that I can think for myself (I have undergraduate and masters degrees). I have tried to get him to go to a pre-marital counselor, but he will only agree to go to the pastor (who isn’t really trained to deal with the extent of our issues). He also has this belief that counselors pull stuff from your brain that really shouldn’t be brought out. I’m at the point where I need to call off the wedding, but I’m not sure where to go with it. Do I tell him that he is controlling and tell him that the way I am treated is a form of abuse? I have tried everything that I can think of to try to fix this and I know I can’t live my life like this. Please help!

Please, please, please call off the wedding.

It sounds like you are already there, but I just want to reiterate it.

You do not owe him any type of nuance or talk or explanation beyond just keeping yourself emotionally safe in this situation. You do what is best for YOU in terms of what you tell him.

And that involves mitigating how much he will be able to attempt to control you even harder as you try to disentangle yourself from him.

Seriously-- your freedom and emotional health are the only prizes here. You have gotten to the point where you realize that you deserve better. Hang on to that no matter what. Enlist your therapist's help for talking through the logistics, and figuring out which friends and family can play the best role in getting you out of this.

You can also always talk to www.thehotline.org for added support. The attempts to isolate you from friends and family, and the belief that counselors do harm-- that really concerns me, because it ups the chances that he will try to make them the villains in this, and will increase his efforts to try to distance you from your supports in order to try to keep you from leaving.

Please remember you are doing the right thing, and whatever you "tell" or "don't tell" him should only depend on how it's going to help YOU.

Please do keep us posted.

My 13-year-old son's school friend has been out of school for over a month, due to a difficult-to-treat physical ailment (not contagious). The friend is going through lots of testing and doctor's visits, and is in chronic pain. He is a nice kid who rallies to social occasions when he needs to, but he is clearly not well. I keep up with the mom here and there. I have encouraged my son to call his friend, to check in and see how he's doing, offer to visit, etc. And yet he just won't pick up the phone. (neither kid has a cell, so texting is not an option). The kids are thirteen, so I don't want to overly push-- and yet I haven't found the right combination of words to help my son pick up the phone and be a supportive friend. Ideas?

Well, it's true that 13 year-old boys just don't tend to pick up the phone anymore. Unless it's to play a video game. It is what it is-- and even if we want them to do things our way, the truth is that the 13 year-old RECIPIENT may not prefer that mode of communication either.

So, maybe that is a bridge too far, and your work here is not in nudging him to do that, but in helping him brainstorm OTHER ways that are more comfortable for him to reach out. Present it this way: your son has a friend who is going through a hard time, is without his usual daily social interactions, and is in physical pain. That sounds really, really tough, and like something that a friend could step in and make a little bit better. Because that's what friends do, and that's why they're so important.

So-- what does your son think his friend would want in that situation? What would HE want in that situation? What feels reasonable? What feels awkward/weird, but worth doing anyway? Calling is definitely not the only option here (and perhaps our chatters can flesh out some of the other ones.)

Ideally, you can generate a whole conversation out of this, and get your son to come up with something himself, rather than just telling him what you think he should do (though those instincts are totally positive, don't get me wrong!)

Thanks again to you and the chatters for all the advice and support a couple of weeks ago, when I expressed concern over how to manage my anxiety as my child grows. I was recently given some bad news. My grandmother is in her last days, and I'm still coming to terms with her not getting to meet my baby. But I found out today that I have placenta previa and my doctor is not allowing me to travel until I deliver in about four months. Which means I can't attend the funeral. I know that funerals are much more for the living than they are for the dead, but this just feels like a devastating blow. I can handle all the other stuff that comes with the previa but am having a really hard time not being able to attend the funeral in person (I'm hoping I can Skype or FaceTime with someone there). Help? How does one process something like this?

Oh, no. I am so sorry. This is such a blow indeed.

I do think as much as you can connect in possible to the service, that can help. I also wonder if you can contribute something to the service to have you "there"-- pictures of you and your grandmother to be included in a slide show or photo display; input on hymns or poems or music that might be shared; even maybe having someone deliver some lines for you, if not formally during a eulogy, then during a remembrance after during a gathering. "Being there in spirit" has become something of a cliche, and yet I think there is real meaning in it-- and I know you can find a way to make it feel like it in this case.

I bet our chatters will have more suggestions. My heart goes out to you!

Hi. Recently I've been so anxious about my health and my kids' health. I had pains in my leg the other day and thought I had blood clots. My daughter now has pain in her neck and her doctor appointment is today and I'm so convinced it's cancer that I'm having trouble functioning today. I understand I need to see a therapist but what can I do in the moment to try to settle down and stop this anxiety spiral? Thanks.

I am sorry.

I am guessing that there is something going on that has caused an uptick in this for you lately. Stress in some area of your life? A loved one struggling with a health issue? A scary story about an undiagnosed medical condition?

A good cognitive-behavioral therapist could definitely help you get a handle on this before it turns into full-fledged Illness Anxiety Disorder.

But, in the meantime, I'd ask you-- what helped you move through the blood clot fear? Figure out what worked and what didn't. How long did it last? What did you do mentally that helped? How did your body feel, and how could you counteract that?

You'll want to label your Health Anxiety voice as such, and start detaching it from yourself. Recognize it as a thing that comes up in times of stress, but that doesn't have to be listened to. Acknowledge it, name it, but let it pass. It may help to visualize it as something concrete that you can then do a breathing visualization of dissipating (dirt going down a drain, storm clouds passing, smoke clearing, crows flying away, etc.) Go heavy on the breathing techniques as you do this, and see if sleep, exercise, and adjusting your caffeine intake can help as well.

Hang in there and keep us posted!

Why do you love such a terrible person? Please get therapy to find out why you are clinging to an objectively abusive man.

I can understand this sentiment-- she definitely could use some support in understanding what got her to this point.

But manipulative, controlling people are often very skilled in gradually getting others to loved them. It's insidious, and can often be hidden. Like the person who develops an addiction over a period of years-- it's not that they just one day decide to choose that life. It's powerful stuff.

So I want to be very careful we are not blaming the victim here. OP, you are doing the right thing and you deserve better!

How would he know, unless you tell him? This might be a case where lying is morally justifiable.

I mean, yeah, it is a pretty strange pronouncement for him to have.

Just goes to show, to me, that he is used to OP just doing what he says-- the fact that he would assume OP would follow this edict without any way to police it. That's the kind of power he's enjoyed thus far.

It's not hard to find complaints about specific MLMs by name, often by victims who learned the hard way that the promises weren't real. Telling the friend "Those things are scams" is only going to incite defensiveness; showing her what other sales people say might sink in.

Good point. And letting her discover some of that stuff on her own, with just a subtle nudge, might be even more likely to stick.

Thanks!

I was traveling and missed last week's chat, but I also have a cat-relationship question I'd love thoughts on! I own a condo that doesn't allow pets. And, after I bought it, I met a woman who owns a cat. It's been about 1.5 years and we want to move in together when her lease is up (April). She says she is ok with finding a loving home for her cat, but I do feel bad that she has to give up her friend. I really can't think of any other options, though, unless I sell my place. (I cannot rent it out, another condo rule.) I'm not sure about selling because I am not sure what happens next (would we rent or buy a new place?) or if it's a good financial decision since I bought only 3 years ago (and I wouldn't sell it for much more than I paid). But which is crazier -- her giving up her cat or me giving up a condo that I love in a great location? Again, she says she's ok giving up her cat but I know it makes her a little sad. Would just love thoughts from others who've been here.

But the cat folks liked me last week, Bucko! They LIKED me. Please don't put me in a position to get that taken away!!

Well-- here I go. Obviously this is a different situation because she is willing to rehome the cat; it is not you pressuring her per se.

Whether it's the right thing to do-- well. I know there are lots of people who will say that yes, you simply sell your place, because that's what families do to stay together.

Hmm. Can I say no more and just let others join this conversation?

Can you ask the other boy's mom to have her ailing son phone your son? Can you arrange with the mom for you and your son to stop by to visit?

Well, I think it should be made very clear that the ailing boy is WELCOME to phone her son (if that's what he wants to do), but I'd hate to put that command on him as some sort of task-- especially as the 13-year-old-boys-hate-talking-on-phones factor is probably just as in play for him as well! But it's important to remember that it's him that's struggling and needs the support. It's the friends who need to reach out and offer it.

I do think a visit-- if wanted-- sounds like a great idea. Thanks!

The rules of initialisms say to spel out the word first, followed by the initialism, so that people who don't know it will know what you're talking about.

Sorry--- this is a pretty standard abbreviation out there in the world, so it slipped past me.

MLM = Multi-level Marketing scheme. Also known as a pyramid scheme (I know, I know-- some of you will argue this. But let's be real here.) Also known as STAY THE *&%$ AWAY FROM THESE THINGS!

Does he grill her after every outing that does not include him? and she's too afraid of his reaction to lie easily or tell him off?

Great point.

And scary one at that.

Thanks.

We are trying to make a decision with/for our 8th grade daughter. She has had the opportunity to take part in an amazing STEM class (girls only!) in middle school and now really wants to be an engineer. This is great! We are so proud of her! She gets it, she loves math and science in a way she didn't when she started the program. She's found her passion! So what's the problem? She really wants to apply for a special STEM program at a high school that is not our base school. It looks like a great program, the curriculum is based around problem-solving and meeting global challenges. Math, science and engineering are taught together in a collaborative setting. BUT--it is a three year program (9th-11th grade) which would require her to transfer to this other high school where none of her friends are going and we would have to provide transportation (and it is NOT convenientely located and we don't know anyone else in our area looking to go that we could carpool with). And to further complicate things, she has ADHD and Anxiety. We really want to foster her passion for STEM, and the project based collaborative learning setting has been great for her in the single STEM class, and we think it would be a good fit in HS. On the other hand, we worry about her going to a school where she doesn't know anybody and all of the outside activities are in a completely different community. Not to mention the difficulty of getting her to school and back everyday. Ugh. Any advice on getting cutting through this sticky knot?

Well, I have a lot of different views on this, and they're not without bias. Full disclosure I spent all four years of high school at a mega-far-away magnet program for the arts (I was a violinist and pianist.) The bus rides were immense, half of my friends lived really far away, it disallowed me from doing certain "typical" high school things, it made me suffer indignities like summer school PE, and you know what? It changed my life for the better. I wouldn't trade it for anything, even if right now I'm not exactly soloing for the Boston Philharmonic.

But I am also a parent who has lived this out from that angle, and I can say that in that particular case, the late-arrivals-home and pickups that led to frantic scrambling straight to sports practice (which was just as big a passion) rather than getting some downtime-- well, I'm not sure those were the best thing in our situation.

So, every child is different, as is every program, and every family. I can't at all tell you what the cost/benefit analysis is (why does it not continue through 12th grade? That seems the biggest drawback at first glance).  But I can tell you that to prohibit your daughter from applying seems premature. Why not be able to assess all the options when they are actually in front of you? I know you are probably worried that if it is not right for your family, then it will be harder to say no if she actually gets in, rather than say "no" outright before applying.

But the way I hear it-- she's developed a passion for something great, and wants to pursue it. Would you want to let her try for it, then help her learn about gathering as much information as possible and making informed, tough decisions---- or tell her that she shouldn't try for something because it might not work out? Especially if she has anxiety issues, I think there is danger in that latter message.

Chatters?

THANK YOU for acknowledging how much mental energy is involved in doing the planning. My husband had no idea how exhausted I get doing this. I tell him but he just nods. At least he is content with whatever I set up but it would be fantastic if he could come up with some ideas, plan and implement them. He can manage an occasional lunch reservation for a special occasion but absolutely nothing else. I once asked him to make the rental car reservation for a domestic trip (while I did everything else). He picked a non-competitive company (without realizing it of course) and pre-paid so that we were stuck paying more than we would have had to pay otherwise. I actually used to do the planning for my former husband as well but he constantly appreciated and thanked me. Current husband just takes the tiring work for granted. Anyway, thanks again for the validation.

You are welcome, though somehow validation in this case seems..... not quite something to celebrate?

I wonder what it would be like for husband to see this letter?

A lot of why people get (and stay stuck) is the promise of making great money. If you encourage her to keep impeccable records of her sales and expenses, that might show her the light a bit sooner. If the conversation is framed in a "this might make tax time simpler," she's less likely to see it as an attack on her or her job. There's still the issue of the promise that she just has to work harder, then she'll be making the big bucks/driving the pink car/whatever promises they've made her. That can be hard to break away from, even when faced with black-and-white numbers.

Really helpful point-- thanks!

How old is the cat? That could affect how well the cat will adjust to being re-homed.

Ooh-- OP?

Hi there, Thanks DR. B for your advice, and thanks also to the reader who was checking in a faw weeks ago. I've been WAY behind on reading chats (and providing updates). My dream vacation at this point is a private hotel room with Thai takeout and unlimited time to binge read Baggage Check and Hax chats and then sleep through the night uninterrupted....but I digress... Update: We ended up going. Husband and I talked a lot in the car and I decided that the best way to move forward would be to both apologize and just leave it in the past. FIL met us outside when we got there and we hugged and agreed to just let that interaction be in the past. I do now choose my topics more carefully during visits, and just leave the room if I can feel myself getting upset. I was (finally) able to get in with a good therapist and we're working through a lot of things and practicing strategies I can use to manage my anxiety and my emotions better. All in all, kind of a boring but good update. As an aside: finding a therapist who is accepting new clients and who is a good fit is HARD! It is SO discouraging. But I've found it's so worth it, even after only a handful of sessions. If anyone reading this is on the fence, or has tried finding a therapist, but run into difficulty and dropped the effort because it seemed like too much...you can do this. Maybe make one more call or write one more email today. Please don't give up!

Thank you so much for this update, and for your overall message at the end. I am hearing more and more about the logistical difficulties of finding a therapist-- and it pains me every time-- but I am so glad that you stuck with it and are now able to get the benefits.

And it also sounds like the interactions with your in-laws are now in a better-place too. As much as it can be hard to start fresh, sometimes it's the most functional option overall.

So glad you wrote back!

I'm the decider on just about everything in our household. Admittedly, that's because my husband is happy not to have to worry about things and he trusts my judgement. I am pretty happy to get on with it because I'm generally good at that and I'm also a planner so things are done in advance. BUT I always run things past him. I tell him my plan and why. That way if he has questions or concerns we can talk them through way before any decisions need to take place.

Sounds like it works for you!

But what about when the "running things by" elicits a "No, I don't like that-- but I'll do nothing in the next three days to choose anything different or offer you any helpful input!"

I was a very quiet, shy student. My father was transferred my senior year. I ended up going to a small private high school for my senior year. It was the best thing for me. The fellow students felt sorry for me having to move my senior year. They were interested in a student who had moved around because of my father's job. Moving isn't terrible! Part of it is the parents telling the children they will be fine so the children will be fine. Go for the program!

Glad to hear the move worked out for you in a way that defied the stereotype. You just never know!

Lots of families move, and the kids have to adjust. Please don't underestimate your daughter's adaptability.

Absolutely.

I see it as a potential opportunity for her to overcome some obstacles and triumph through them-- especially key for a kid with anxiety.

We adopted a nearly 6-year-old cat that his family had to give up in order to move from a suburban house into a downtown high-rise. He lived a long, happy life with us, and his old people were able to visit him when they came to our house.

Lovely!

That's definitely the scenario to hope for here if they decide to re-home.

Thanks.

We live in a smaller region of the country where we have found it very hard to identify a good therapist for our son. He is introverted and has seen Counselors A for some years off and on. Everyone in town recommends Counselor A, including our son’s school but Counselor A just isn’t working for him. Plus Counselor A is highly unavailable - as in, you have to schedule appointments months in advance and even when you do Counselor A at best can meet with your child every 3 weeks or once a month. Our son needs more consistency than this. But we cannot find options locally - tried asking friends, paediatrician, other medical professionals but no luck - just the same high praise of Counselor A and no alternatives. We can’t be the only people with this problem. How do you go about finding a better therapist when this happens? Is virtual or video therapy even an option? I haven’t been able to find anything on that but we are feeling desperate.

I am really sorry. But good for you for having the courage to not accept the party line about Counselor A (at best every 3 weeks? How is that even counseling?)

The good news is-- more and more therapists are doing video therapy all the time. It's growing better and better regulated (in terms of encryption and confidentiality and insurance coverage for it) and more and more figured out in terms of jurisdictional issues (so a therapist no longer has to fear losing their license for "practicing out of state.") Which means-- there should be some decent options for you. Go to the typical therapist finder listings (Psychology Today, apahelpcenter, Good Therapy) and do searches by keyword looking for those who will do video therapy. Some might refer to it by Skype specifically but there are a ton of platforms out there now that people are using.

That ought to open up your options nicely. Please keep us posted!

Absolutely leave your spouse! You should not have anyone control where and when you go places! Your money is yours not his to control. If you are trying to save money because you are in debt and want to get out it would be great to have him encourage you to save money. That is different than controlling your money. If you want to go to the gym but need someone to encourage you that's different than having someone telling you if or when you can go to the gym! You deserve better! Being alone is hard but its better than being controlled by someone. I hope you find a true love!

Thank you.

I suspect we'll see a lot of this sentiment-- and I think OP could use it, so I will keep posting it.

When my husband and I are having a disagreement he can go overboard. When he realizes it, he will become very remorseful and affectionate. If it's not reciprocated right then he'll throw his hands up and become angry all over again. What is that?

That is, um, not good.

It makes his affection seem disingenuous and manipulative, at the very least. And/or anger is very, very hard for him to manage. 

Neither of those are good.

A good couples therapist can help see what's going on here. I can't venture yet whether it's part of a seriously problematic pattern or whether it's simply dysfunctional fighting that has grown more and more habitual over the years.

But you've got to start somewhere. Remorse isn't remorse if it depends directly on your immediate reaction. And affection isn't affection if it's trying to get you to act in a certain "acceptable" way.

Please do consider seeing someone-- and, to dust off a perennial advice columnist pearl, if he won't go, then go alone!

I've been in therapy for nearly two years, most of that time in weekly sessions that were meant to address a single, significant issue. But over the last year, I've had some bumps (my father died and I contemplated leaving my marriage), which detoured us a lot and we spent time discussing these other issues. As a result, my original problem has become less of a focus, and we don't discuss it as much. Part of me wonders if my secondary problems are "easier" for the therapist to handle, and that leads us there more often. My progress on the original issue has been painfully slow and I don't feel like we should be finished with it, but when I try to ask about his opinion on how much work there is left to do, I don't get a clear answer. Is there a better way to approach this?

Hmm.

Just how unclear is his answer?

Is it unclear as in him explaining that all these issues are all related, and not easily solved, and that these things are complicated in such-and-such ways?

Or is it unclear as in me stumbling and bumbling my way through pretending to know whether there's a difference between a "pick" and a "screen" in basketball?

I do think that his answer needs to make sense to YOU, though. So if he is failing to have that happen, then that is a problem-- no matter how sound his answer in the first place. There's a chance that this is a skill issue that affects the entire treatment altogether, or there's a chance that there just needs to be a refocused clarity on what your goals are and how you're working toward them.

Either way, though-- bring it up again, more directly and specifically, and go from there.

 

There are tons of resources out there with info that may or may not convince your sister, but at least you'll be armed with the facts. Reddit has a few groups (r/antimlm and r/defectivedetectives) and Facebook has Sounds Like MLM But OK. If nothing else, you'll be surrounded by people who are in the same boat with their loved ones. Someone recently broke down how much it actually costs to get that "free" car from one of the MLMs and it was eye-opening. Same goes with all the information on the lawsuits against Lularoe. Even if your sister doesn't listen, at least you'll be informed.

Thank you!

My now ex told me he would take care of responding to his friends’ wedding invitation and would get them a gift. So I did. I asked him about it as the date approached and he said all was well. Of course he did nothing, didn’t even RSVP, and I didn’t bail him out. Are you shocked he’s now my ex?

Ahhh!

The lack of bailout must have been pretty satisfying for you, I'm guessing!

I too was crushed when my beloved grandmother died and I was too far away to attend her funeral. I was really upset with myself and the choices I had made that put me in the position of not being able to attend. About a week later, I got a carton of milk out of my fridge and prepared to swig a gulp from the carton. I thought - even though it's my milk and I live here alone and mine are the only germs that will touch this, grandma would be so mad if she saw me. Then I remembered that she had passed and I was like, holy goodness, she probably IS watching! So I carefully got out a glass and poured myself some milk, and ever since them, I've thought that she's closer to me now than she was when I had to move away. Weird thinking, I know, but it helped me a lot. I felt less like I abandoned her and more like she came to me....

I really, really love that last sentiment especially.

Lovely.

Meaning after loss can be found in so many ways.... including a glass of milk!

Thanks for sharing.

I know just two people who have made a decent living (they also have spouses, so there's a cushion) doing MLM. One is make-up and the other is kitchen stuff. I tried it for two years (the make-up), and didn't even break even with the 'inventory' I had to buy so that I could sell it...Sigh. I think I know far more who have tried and not been successful...

Honestly, the "make decent living" folks are such outliers I am surprised you know two of them! (And sometimes there is a different story underneath it all than meets the public eye.)

So glad you got out....

first off: YAY!!!!!! GIRLS IN STEM!!!!! Second: I attended a STEM magnet program for HS (LCPS Academy of Science), and it was a great experience. I ended up with 2 very solid groups of friends, one at my "home" HS and one at the magnet. The good thing about a specialized program like that is that ALL the students are new, so there's a lot less of the "new kid" issues. Thank being said, I specifically applied to AOS and not TJ because of the differences in the programs. As much as I loved science, I also wanted to continue my interests outside of just academics (band, a part time job, scouting), which I wouldn't have been able to do if I added it a 90min+ commute each way every day. The biggest advice I can give is to make sure your kiddo has thought through all these factors, and remember that even if you apply/are accepted, you still can make the decision to stay at the regular HS (I'm also happy to talk to OP privately if that's possible/they're interested)

Very kind support here! Thanks.

Yes, I think the key is to make sure to think through as many aspects of this decision as possible-- information is power here!

My grandmother died three weeks before my son was born. I was on bed rest; there was no way to go to the funeral. I don't believe in reincarnation, but when my son does something that reminds me of her... well, then. It's nice to think of, her spirit peeking out here and there.

I love this. Thank you.

Well yes, it is satisfying now; at the time (we didn’t go to the wedding) I was upset. But I also derive great satisfaction that he’s on divorce #3, and I got out cleanly.

Okay, I totally misunderstood this at first! I thought this wedding happened after he was already your ex, and you RSVPed for yourself and he didn't get to go, or something.

Now I see it.

An additional congrats on getting out when you did!

That's because there is no clear answer. I struggle with this in therapy myself: I want to "deal with" certain issues on MY timeline and have them tied up nicely with a bow at the end. Life doesn't work that way, humans don't work that way, and therapy certainly doesn't work that way. My therapist has been extremely supportive in helping me realize this. Sorry, OP. As much as I'm sure you want to be "finished" with an issue, that will never happen. Will you learn tools and develop techniques to cope with/live with/move past/excel in spite of/live your best life/get to a point where you don't feel like you NEED regular therapy? YES! But there is no hard and fast timeline and you can't just erase issues!

Very well said.

That's part of the answer I was envisioning a good therapist giving-- when it could still seem somewhat "unclear."

Thanks.

You often, like just now, recommend finding a cognitive-behavioral therapist. What is distinctive about that particular orientation, and how does one find a competent, experienced practitioner?

Great question.

The truth is, most therapists these days tend to identify as CBT therapists-- because they need to eat, and that's what the market demands. Some of them (and I include myself in this category) integrate additional techniques as well (psychodynamic, interpersonal, or mindfulness tools, for instance) and adjust depending on what that particular client is looking for help with.

There are many different types of CBT, at that, so it's hard to generalize about what exactly distinguishes it as a group from the other kinds of treatments-- and therapy needs a little touch of art in addition to the science. And all types of therapy focus on understanding how your thoughts affect your behavior, so sometimes the differences between the types can be in terminology more than substance. But CBT is more structured and tangible. We look at specific dysfunctional thought patterns and challenge them. We look at emotional triggers, environmental cues, and relationship patterns in objective, clear ways. The therapist speaks up and plays cross-examiner at times. Measurable goals (whether behavioral goals or changes in mood) are established. So, in theory, progress is quicker. That's the best generality I can come up with.

But I also think sometimes blindly doing CBT techniques without exploring background can be a little short-sighted and run the risk of addressing some important stuff (past traumas, etc.)

There are lots of listings online-- Psychology Today and Good Therapy tend to be the most used. They are not objective rankings or anything-- providers pay to be on there-- but since so many people are on there, it is the best one-stop shop to search for exactly what you're looking for.

Good luck if you are looking!

I was aghast at last week's chat comments condemning the OP's bf for not wanting to live with her cats. The consensus seemed to be that if he loved her he was obligated to love the cats, this seems nuts to me. He has the right to his feelings, including not liking her cats, and the right to ask not to live with them. The obligation we have to pets is that we care for them so they are happy and healthy, that doesn't necessarily mean they have to stay with us to get that. My now-husband didn't like beloved pet (not allergic, just didn't like) and didn't want to live with him. I re-homed the pet in a great new home (probably even better for him than my apartment in the city) where he is happy and healthy. My relationship was worth that sacrifice. Just wanted to provide an alternative viewpoint: if OP did decide to find a new home for the cats, that wouldn't make her a monster.

That discussion really seemed to bring out the black-or-white thinking!

No one is "obligated" to love anything. Just as someone is not "obligated" to be forced to give up their loved ones because their partner is inconvenienced by them.

But to today's point about the re-homing-- that is a much less problematic issue because the couple is making decisions jointly. Glad it worked out for you!

Can you get him to pick up the phone to talk about video games? Honestly, it seems kind of perfect to me - they can play in the same place or both at home AND it gives them something mutual to talk about other than the friends health, which seems like it could be a weight off for both of them.

Yes, thanks.

And as much as I am the Hippie Granola Parent who is not known EVER for suggesting video games, playing certain games themselves can be a way of interacting for these two boys as well.

I realize it is expensive but if the parents can afford it their daughter should look into summer college programs in stem for high school students. I know students that have done it and loved it. They met students from around the country that had the same interests plus they stayed friends after the program. They could discuss applying to colleges with other smart students and there were lots of other positives from their experience!

Ooh-- additional thing to think about. Much appreciated!

Finding motivation to do the things you should be doing.... I wonder how to find the motivation to do the things I should be doing...organizing my house, exercising, cooking to eat healthier and such. Yes, I suffer from mild depression and attention deficit disorder which I take medication for both but it’s still tough to get off the sofa. I am single so I don’t have a partner or spouse to encourage me. I want to find a way to be more self motivated. I have tried talk therapy but after a few different therapists through the years I haven’t found it helpful. A suggestion I have heard is to set the clock & plan on organizing for 15 minutes but I can’t get started. I belong to a gym but I never go. Hopefully you or some other the fellow readers can make some suggestions. Thank you!

This is definitely a classic struggle and something I work with people on a lot-- so you are not alone. Even people who don't suffer from ADHD or depression tend to have difficulties with The Couch Factor at times. So I can imagine it is extra hard for you.

I wonder if your talk therapy wasn't behavioral enough. I even hear of ADHD coaches who can really try to put some tangible structure in to your day to get you meeting the small goals. In other words, you need the kind of help that directly targets this in a quantifiable, accountable way-- not the "Tell me about your mother" variety. You can also find some of these tools in books that are out there.

Here are some things to consider: The 5-minute rule, turning certain things into a game ("I'll put 7 forks away, and next time I come back I'll put away 9 spoons"); a reward system where for even 5 minutes of something effortful, you earn 5 minutes back on the couch; enlisting a friend for accountability; making the habit as easy as possible to adopt (buying freshly cut veggies that are ready to go, along with a dip you like, rather than expecting that you'll wash and chop them yourself and find a way to use them);  setting an alarm each night that dictates ten minutes of doing something and then getting to veg, etc.

Above all, you have to break things down into as tiny and concrete of steps as possible. So- you want to organize your house. It's not "Organize my house." It's "Take that 1 bag with random stuff in it and pick 17 things in it to put away, trash, or recycle, and then it's done for the night." Even 15 minutes is likely too much (though if it's not, some people really like the Tomato Timer concept. Man, I'm giving you a lot to google. Sorry.)

The good thing is that a lot of this becomes self-perpetuating. Exercise tends to GIVE you energy over time once you get into it, rather than taking it away. And however many days they say it takes to make a habit (depends on who is out there in the media promoting their book that week), once you reach that point, it becomes habitual-- it takes less effort and the inertia and conditioned response move in the direction of doing it, rather than avoiding it.

What else out there has worked for folks?

Yes, I totally agree and feel the pain here of a partner not fully sharing the burden of decision-making. But are you undermining his decision-making? You write: "He picked a non-competitive company (without realizing it of course) and pre-paid so that we were stuck paying more than we would have had to pay otherwise" -- so the one time he made a decision, you criticized it. I experienced this myself - I ended up buying gifts for my husband's family, which was stressful and draining to me to remember for every occasion. But if I stopped doing it, the gifts might be not as good/not on sale/forgotten/late. But eventually I realized either I could do it my way (and then I'd be stuck doing it) or I could release the control - meaning accept whatever outcome falls and release myself from the task. It was really up to me - I was the one holding the end of the rope. I think an equal part of the dynamic can be actually giving up the control - meaning sometimes you'll pay more, not get the thing you want, or it will be otherwise sub-par to your planning.... but at least you won't have had to plan it!

Great point.

There's certainly something to be said for the danger of the dynamic of "You loaded the dishwasher wrong again!! Hey, why do you never load the dishwasher?"

I wonder if the LW worries that daughter might fail at the more competitive STEM magnet school, owing to ADHD and anxiety.

I am guessing that is part of the concern as well.

But armed with insight, good communication with her, and motivation to support her (and keep a reality check if indeed it turns out to NOT be a good fit), that can be counteracted.

Go for it! My kids have gone to 3 separate high schools, yes logistics were a challenge, but my kids got the education they needed. My stem son commutes over an hour each way, and as a junior is driving himself this year. He had social issues in elementary and middle school and he is THRIVING! He has made friends who think like he does! If its feasible, do it! You can always move back to your local school but you can't always get into these programs later.

Yes!

I do think some of the amazing aspects of some of these programs are being able to find your tribe. Sometimes the interpersonal fit is just better, and it makes the commute completely worth it.

They often are, but some are reputable - like tupperware, Mary Kay etc. They often have the salesperson hold 'parties' to sell the products and have them try to recruit other salespeople. This is where importuning your family and friends comes in ... .

Well, I think "reputable" can be a fuzzy concept here.

You don't have to look too hard to see some horror stories with Mary Kay, for instance.

(Okay.... bring on the lawsuits.)

I find myself identifying with the questioner who asked about her husbands over the top style in the argument and the quick about face that follows. Once that about face occurs, my partner does not want to address the issue that started the altercation in the first place. It’s like Groundhog Day because we have the same discussion over and over again and never resolve it. He says he is conflict averse but initiates conflict while not allowing me to answer him. I sometimes write to him to share my feelings but he chooses to ignore those emails because he is done with the topic.

Oof.

I really don't like how hard he is trying to avoid dealing with this, and how invalidating it is to your feelings.

I hope you will consider getting some help.

The only thing I can say here is please don't consider a shelter/rescue to be finding a new home for the cat. Those resources are for already homeless animals/true emergencies, not for a situation like this. I can potentially get behind passing the cat onto a loving friend/family member

Amen.

I'm sickened about the long term prospects of my sister, who has been a drug addict for most of her adult life. She is now in her late 50s. She has been in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities, but she has not stayed clean. Our elderly parents entirely supported her until they could no longer afford it. She's on disability, but she is constantly being evicted from rentals because she starts fights, spends her money on drugs, damages property, and steals. She has a criminal record. Her life is degrading and terrible, and she's at the mercy of terrible people. Her addiction has also made her into a frightening, malicious person. No one in our family wants anything to do with her. No one knows what, if anything, can be done. Is there some solution we are overlooking?

I am so sorry.

Oh, how I wish there was some magic solution you were overlooking. Wouldn't that just be perfect. It would be the most rewarding thing-- for me to just give you a link or a number or a book suggestion, or a cognitive-behavioral tool-- and bam, problem finished.

Unfortunately, as you no doubt understand, life just isn't really like that.

But that also gives you some freedom-- because there is no one right solution here. There is no "correct" way for you to behave, or one optimal decision about what your role will or will not be in your sister's life.

Where you draw the line about what more you want to have to do with her-- and how many more times you want to try to get her help-- that is up to you. Some people would have initiated a separation already and been estranged for decades now. Some people will keep trying for one more attempt to get her in to the next rehab, infinitely. Other people would decide to stage one last, blowout intervention, and then decide that that is their line in the sand.

Addiction ruins so many lives, and disempowers so many in its wake. You have the right not to be disempowered here, and to decide for yourself what you see as the best way of interacting with her-- and what your limits are.

My heart goes out to all of you-- her included.

In our 31 years of marriage, my wife has picked out all our furniture, drapes, carpet, paint, etc. because I trust her implicitly, she likes doing it, she has great taste, and frankly, I really don't care which shade of beige the walls are. It matters to her, though, so that's her thing. My thing is planning our travel (we both decide where, I choose hotels, restaurants, rental cars, flights, etc.), physically paying the bills, much of the food shopping and half of the cooking, and other things that I'm good at and interested in. Division of labor is a good thing.

It is, indeed! Especially when it is mutually agreed upon.

Wonderful Hubs and I have similar travel/decor turfs staked out. No one wants or needs me trying to decipher hotel reservation passcodes-- and sure as heck no one needs him picking out art.

Sometimes even 5 minutes is too much for me, but I can muster myself off the couch for a couple minutes during a commercial break while watching TV. (Even PBS has underwriting announcements before/after programming).

Yes! I really like this.

Meant to post a better explanation of the 5-minute Rule, that reminds me.

Here it is.

I find it easiest to just not sit down/relax on the couch. I come home from work and immediately tackle a few things, while I have momentum on my side.

It's true that it's easy to just sink farther and farther in to the couch after a while, isn't it?

And once "comfy clothes" are put on.... all bets are off.

Fly Lady really helped me-- although her site is aimed at stay-at-home-moms, I found her when I was single and overwhelmed by a new house and some depressive issues. She aims at people who are scattered, and encourages "27-fling" efforts (throwing away or putting away 27 items as fast as you can) and making small daily efforts that are self-rewarding and build over time (a clean kitchen sink, a made bed, getting dressed every morning even if you're not working outside the home). Over time, I didn't need her, but that is because I followed her advice and it became internalized over time. Good luck!

A lot of people really sing her praises. Thank you!

I was just dealing with this in my last therapy session. I used to work out at least 4 days a week but typically 5-6. After several years off, I'm trying to get back to it but the idea of finding 5 days a week for this was daunting. My therapist suggested that I just put it on my calendar for one day last week. It's such a simple solution that I can't believe it didn't occur to me on m own. It worked though. I actually managed to exercise three times!

Absolutely. Momentum is so powerful, and just doing SOMETHING is often the hardest part!

Nothing else you're written is nearly as important as this, and it wouldn't matter if you'd dropped out of 7th grade. This is FUNDAMENTALLY disrespectful. Please please please get out.

Yes!

I listened to (and greatly enjoyed) the podcast "The Dream" about the history and economics of MLMs. One thing that really stood out to me is how few statistics we have on the lack of success, because people are ashamed to make it known when they fail, especially if they have friends/family members who vigorously warned them against it for fear of the "I told you so." You don't have to enthusiastically support her business, but don't go super-critical either.

Thanks.

That really stuck out to me as well. And the culture of silence/shame just perpetuates this nonsense, sadly.

My XH (ex-husband for the whiner who complained about not spelling things out) hated to make decisions but constantly berated me for making the decisions that he wouldn't. No surprise that we're divorced now.

Definitely too common a problem.

Glad you are free!

Former board president here. Does your condo enforce this rule? This kind of thing is often honored in the breach. If it is enforced, is there any chance you could have the rule changed?

Interesting perspective!

You say 'I belong to a gym but I never go'. Get rid of your gym membership. The fact that you don't go is just dragging you down. In stead a. go for a walk b. use that money for a personal trainer instead to come to you - it might just be a couple of times a month, but it'll be more likely to get you moving.

I like this thinking.

Removing guilt/shame can be an important part of getting motivated to move forward.

In this case they are not making or even asking her to do anything. The building doesn't allow pets; if they want to live there that's the rule she has to accept. They like their place; why should they have to sell, likely at a loss, and move to maybe a less desirable place so she can keep her cat? And she is willing to give up the cat; it sounds like she prefers the condo to her cat, too. Where is the problem?

There's a bit of sadness there, I think. But yeah, overall this is a whoooooole different ballgame than last week's scenario.

Thanks.

You don't need a phone to do that. 13-yr-old boys would much rather just computer-msg each other and play games that way. They don't have to be physically talking to each other. This obsession with getting kids to talk on the phone when they don't want to and aren't used to it seems to me to be totally out of proportion to what's possible and what's likely to happen.

Yup.

All kinds of ways interacting via technology that will be more likely to stick, with that demographic.

We live in a very sparsely populated, relatively religious, part of the Rocky Mountain West. The one girlfriend I have who is making an MLM work for her does the sex toy one. She's off the charts in sales. Turns out, when there's nothing to do in your county but go to church and drive long distances in the snow...

hahah!!

Please don't do this. 13-year-old boys hate talking on the phone and they hate doing things that their mom told them to do. Find some other way to encourage contact & support, as Andrea said.

ha- thanks! Yup, she's got to let him do it in his own way, even if she nudges him to get there.

I am allergic to animal hair. I dating someone with a large lab. It was so hard to stay at his house because I always had to take over the counter meds. Even though he was great about cleaning the house, putting clean sheets on the bed and such I left with sore eyes and just not feeling great. I could not date someone with a pet. I understand people love their pets but I could not live with a pet.

Yup-- and the good thing is you know this already!

(And for what it's worth, I feel the need to remind that allergies weren't the issue with Anti-Cat-Man last week.)

No help, just sympathy and full virtual support. And please, do not try to explain things to him. That just leads to another opportunity for him to explain why you are wrong and perpetuate the problem. Just say the decision is right for you and it is not open for discussion.

Thank you.

You have a lot of support here, OP. I really hope you will keep us posted.

This is crazy and probably too much work. But why not see if you can get the condo to change the pet policy? There might be enough people there who would like to have a cat ... .

Another vote for that!

I went to a similar stem program. It was way better than being bored to tears in the regular school and much more supporting and less sexist (although this was decades ago, but the girls in engineering experienced definite sexism). I still found high school insufficiently intellectually challenging but it was helpful to be with other smart kids (who mostly have anxiety and perfectionism too, it’s really a good peer group).

Another voice in support of the STEM program!

My son chose a IB high school that is a haul away and has ADHD/Anxiety. It's been really tough - drop off to a city bus and epic poems getting to afternoon sports at the district school - and I'm a single mom. However, he loves it and is thriving in ways that I couldn't imagine. Also, we are six months into this and finding hacks to make it easier. I'd say go for it.

SO glad it is working out overall. A helpful perspective!

One aspect of MLMs that draws people in and keeps them too long is that there are often substantial upfront costs to buy goods, pay for memberships, etc. Then people tell themselves they've already spent too much money to walk away. If might be helpful if that person could set targets: x time to get back the initial investment, x amount of income after x months, and reconsider if/when the targets aren't reached.

Very true.

How how how did I miss this when it came out?

Thank you!

Honestly I cannot imagine giving up my pets. My question is: is there actually a home for this cat? Rehoming sounds nice until you realize there’s more cats than there are homes and no one wants your adult cat.

Right-- easier said in the hypothetical than actually done. Very true.

Two thoughts: I was an anxious nerdy kid. The opportunity for a "fresh start" with other kids of the same nerd mindset, after the horrors of junior high, would have been great for me. As it was, during my junior year of high school my family abruptly moved to a new state/new school, and I got my fresh start-- even though the new school actually wasn't all that, the opportunity to recreate myself was still a great gift which I am still glad to have had. It's not all about STEM vs. continuity-- that fresh start might be just what your kid needs-- ask her.

A vote for a clean slate! Thanks. Glad you got one!

As a single women it drives me crazy when married people say such things as "I have to plan the whole vacation." "I have to decide on the meals" or "I decide on the plumbing company." Did you do all those things before your got married? Did he ever plan a vacation? Did he ever plan a dinner party? If not, why didn't it bother you before you got married? Are you looking at it realistically does he take the trash out? Does he shovel the snow? Does he carry in the groceries? Does he do repairs around the house? Does he carry the laundry from the laundry room? Most importantly does he love you and support you in other ways? Please try to be grateful you have a loving, caring husband while your single friends are doing it all.

This is a really eye-opening perspective, and I appreciate it.

I DO think that two people-- and that's before we even begin talking about kids-- cause more wear and tear on the house, create more laundry, require more groceries, etc-- but your point is well-taken. As much as I try to shy away from "Just be grateful."

Presumably the school hosting the program is also not the base or district high school for most or all of the present participants. If so, then they're your best resource. Get a list of parents of the present participants, contact them, and start asking questions: How did you handle xportation, extracurriculars, social life, the works. Maybe your daughter would like to meet with one or more present participants. Share what you learn with her; lay it all out there. I definitely think this should be done before she applies. If it's not feasible, find that out now.

Really helpful for the information-gathering. Thank you!

Has your girlfriend already figured out where she would re-homed the cat? Is it with friends or family that she could visit sometimes or still get some news from the cat every once in the while? Three years ago, my boyfriend's grandma agreed to take the cat of a friend with her while he was hospitalized and long story short, the friend died and she had the cat for four months before having to move to a senior care facility herself. We took over the cat, four-hour drive away from where she is living, and now we are sending her pictures and videos of the cat and having Skype calls with her every month. She really loved the cat (he's really a lovable cat, not that I'm biased) and the hardest thing with her moving was to let go of him. I believe having let him go with strangers would have been even harder.

Yup, a very key point.

So glad you were able to play a role in keeping this cat-- and his former owner-- feeling well-loved!

I have to admit I had to google MLM. Once I saw it I thought " of course" but most chatters are very nice on this chat. Please do not make rude comments about someone's question. Did you have to make that comment? "My XH (ex-husband for the whiner who complained about not spelling things out) hated to make decisions but constantly berated me for making the decisions that he wouldn't. No surprise that we're divorced now."

Thanks.

Yup-- I can understand folks wanting acronyms spelled out. But I want to make sure that kindness and respect are always high on our priorities!

I'm sitting here looking at my cat watch the birdies and squirrels and I know that this is his home as much as mine and he will be with me for the duration. So I guess he's the Number One Man in my life!

A person could do far worse!

(Does he do his share of the vacation-planning?)

What worked for me with exercising was setting a reasonable goal - 5 min, 10 min of X per day, writing down on a wall calendar each day what I did, setting a goal for the week and if I make the goal give myself a small reward (the fancy coffee, that magazine I wanted to read...). Oh and no guilt for not meeting the goal. I went from being a total couch potato to a regular exerciser and have totally upped my goal to better than the recommended amount of exercise. This may not work for everyone but it works for me.

I can definitely co-sign on all of this. Bravo!

my oldest nephew was very intelligent and artistic and did not fit into any of the cliques in high school, but he was perfectly happy in the local high school for special-needs kids. You never know where the answer lies.

Tribes can be godsends.

(When they're not adding vitriol to your facebook feed, I guess.)

Uh no, apply first. That way, if the daughter isn't accepted, it becomes a moot point. If daughter is accepted, and these things don't work out, she can always decline the acceptance.

I probably read too fast where this was originally said. But yes, we don't want to put too much of the cart before the horse. Thanks.

We got moved in together when my husband was in his later 30s. I joke he was on the 'quarterly change his bedclothes plan - once every quarter of a year'. I certainly never expected him to be on top of laundry and some other other household stuff. He has other qualities and almost always it doesn't bother me.

Quarterly is definitely better than biannually!

So glad you two have found your sweet spot in coexisiting and dividing the labor.

That's true for the people. However, most cats will sell their souls to their new people after a week or two of good catfood. Don't ask me how I know this ;-)

hahaha!

Happily single person here. I don't like pitting single and married people against each other like this. Being single has a ton of upside, which is very often overlooked, and that kind remark feeds into the idea that it's somehow sad and hard to be single. I don't appreciate it when people treat being single as something that needs to be pitied.

I can definitely understand that.

Yup, we don't want to encourage an us-versus-them mentality here. Keeping up a household can be hard for anyone!

After 13 years of being the Gift Giver for the entire family, as well as for all of my Now Ex's family (parents, 5 married siblings and their kids) I finally told him I had enough. I was tired of doing ALL the work at the holidays so from now on all presents for his side of the family was something he needed to deal with. (Mind you, I still took care our kids gifts - he never once purchased them anything. Christmas morning was always a surprise for him too because he had no idea what were in any of the packages that labeled "from Mom and Dad.") Ok, he says, no a problem. You know what happens next. Come Christmas we get a call from the F-I-L asking if something was wrong because they hadn't received their presents this year. Ex never sent a single thing to anyone. So he lied, scrambled, and had random items FedExed to them.

Another Tale of the No Bailout!

Interesting how all these stories are about exes! There seems to be some correlation there... mysterious.

Thanks!

To the mom who has a sick son with a sick friend- when I was a teenager, I had a very sick friend as well. The best thing my mom did was to always help me come up with a list of things to talk about with her. It was such a simple thing, but illness is scary. This helped to take the fear out of it for me. Maybe your son doesn't know what to say.

Oh, this is soooo spot-on. Great point. Thanks.

OP who took in the nearly 6-year-old cat. Not so! I'm not saying it's easy, but it's not impossible. In our case, we'd recently moved from an apartment into a house, which we discovered had mice. It was an easy "sale."

Makes a lot of sense. Laughing here!

When I lost my parents within a week of each other, the only conclusion I could reach was to turn my love over to the next generation. I thought of all the positive lessons I had learned from my parents and tried to think of ways to pass those on to my children. Maybe taking some time to write about your grandmother and your best memories of her, and the intangible things you would like to pass on, will let you be with her emotionally and spiritually while you tend to your own health and look forward to your baby.

This is beautiful, and the perfect note to end on today.

Thank you so much-- and how sorry I am about your immense loss.

Responses are still coming in a mile a minute and it pains me to have to leave, but I just got an eyeful of the time and-- oops!

Thanks so much for being part of this today. How I love this community!

I will see you here next week-- and on Facebook and in the comments in the meantime!

Be well.

In This Chat
Dr. Andrea Bonior
Dr. Andrea Bonior is a licensed clinical psychologist and the voice behind Baggage Check since its start in 2005. She serves on the faculty of Georgetown University and is the author of the Publisher's Weekly best-seller "Psychology: Essential Thinkers, Classic Theories, and How They Inform Your World" and "The Friendship Fix.”
Recent Chats
  • Next: