While Im away, readers give the advice.
On grandparents who are a bad influence: My father married an emotionally unstable woman. She managed to engineer their lives (and mine) through our collective fear of her anger and tantrums. I spent 20 years kowtowing to her out of fear she would force my father to choose between us.
One of her favorite zingers was that I had all this education and what was the point when I chose to stay home with my children?
However, she started to compare my children in a negative way when they were under 8 years old; the eldest, a girl, was the genius, and my son was a challenge because he did things differently than she thought he should. I put my foot down.
I started pushing back against her nastiness to me and our children. This caused a catastrophic tantrum on her part, and my father did as I suspected and chose her over us. Sadly, we are happier, even though I desperately miss my father and his presence in the childrens lives.
I wish parents would feel empowered to protect their children from becoming the next generation of victims of their family dynamics.
On friends who forget to care about whats going on in your life: I follow what I have vaguely come to think of as the 70/30 rule of friendship. It doesnt have to be 50/50, but there has to be some give-and-take.
Sure, if someone is having a problem or a particular situation, it can be all about them for a while, but if its clear its just going to be all about them all the time, I start backing off.
On judging people who dont have college degrees: College costs a lot of money. Not everyone has it. Some of us come from families and lives so dysfunctional that theres not a single responsible adult on the scene to explain the availability of student loans. Some of us, when we figure out these things DO exist, are sufficiently scarred by a childhood of crushing poverty to reject the idea of signing on for debt.
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