February 11, 2008
“I am sorry I have facilitated your insecurities by allowing your jealousy to influence my behavior. I will try not to do this anymore. It is not good for either of us. Walking on egg-shells is not how I like to spend my energy.”
“Going out to dinner with my friends (daughter, son, mother, father, brother, sister) is something I like to do and I sometimes like to do it alone. You are perfectly capable of understanding that having other important relationships does not mean I am rejecting you. Healthy adults can keep many relationships going at the same time. Why don’t you try it sometime?”
“We are each better off when honest, even if what we have to say is painful. Keeping you happy is too large a task for me. I hereby give that responsibility back to you. Anger, resentment, and the failure to forgive – all fruits of jealousy – are individual pursuits. You have to take care of this on your own. I am not going to interfere with your journey by trying to resolve your issues for you.”
“To love you is to stay out of your control. I’d rather have no relationships than relationships that inhibit who I am.”
February 4, 2008
“We’ve been married for seven years and have two children. We have serious issues. I have been unfaithful. He has been very abusive. After the honeymoon years we found out what type of people we really are. I tried to leave but each time he would get sad and I would run back. He hasn’t hit me for six months. To make matters worse I recently met a man who has made me feel like who I used to feel. I feel I have no right to leave my husband since he hasn’t hurt me in so long. I feel like I would rather live alone then with him. I would feel safer. He has never abused the children but I worry for when they get older. Do I need to save them the trouble of finding out before it’s too late and just leave?” (Letter edited)
You cannot legitimately assess your marriage while another man is in the wings. Somehow, get some distance (breathing space) from both men. Staying because he has not hurt you is perverted logic! Consider long-term safety. Health is defined by what people do, and not by what they don’t do. Surround yourself with supportive family and friends and, within the warmth of community, make a decision,
November 20, 2007
“Our brother (almost 60) is the youngest of four siblings has ADHD. He treats his family like dirt but his friends with respect. Even our mother (in her eighties) does not get his respect or attention. He confesses undying love for her then ignores her. He will lend money to all his friends but not his family. Hides behind the ADHD label and blames it all on this. He wants us to do right by him but never ever does the correct thing with us. If mother or a sister is in the hospital he does not visit. Family is always pushed aside to make way for wonderful friends. He will not see psychiatrist or get help. What can we do? We still love him but he is always right and we are wrong no matter what. His wife supports everything he does. How should we respond? We know he can never change. Please help us. My mom is devastated.” (Letter edited)
This is probably a character issue, and not a matter of your brother’s diagnosis. I hereby give you permission to relinquish your role as your brother’s change agent, and the family’s scum-half, or quaterback (depending on where you are reading this!). Give it up. Let your mother and siblings deal directly with him. Get out of the way! Playing “piggy in the middle” is never much fun for piggy.
November 5, 2007
“I don’t know what to do. My brother (25) and his girlfriend (24) are coming to stay for a few days. They live together (and are not married). My children (boys who are 6 and 7) know they are not married and I don’t know if I should let my brother and his girlfriend stay in the same room. We are Christians and do not support living together and I am not sure what kind of message this will send to my children.” (Shortened)
If you judge your brother your attitude toward him will send your children a stronger, more memorable and negative message than any memory each boy might retain of an uncle’s sleeping arrangements.
I’d suggest you fall on your knees and thank God you have a brother who wants to visit your home, and allow your adult brother and his adult girlfriend to decide where they’d like to sleep – even when visiting your home.
Your children are likely to remember how you love their uncle more than they will remember where anyone slept!
September 27, 2007
I am married to a very jealous man and, although I am completely faithful, I am accused of all kinds of things all the time. What can I do to help him?
Nothing. Jealousy is an individual pursuit. The one who is caught in its relentless grip is the only person who can address it. If you are a faithful person you must leave him to deal with his own feelings of jealousy and take no responsibility for his feelings at all.
If you try to convince him of your faithfulness, a jealous person will ultimately interpret your convincing as confessions. If you try to placate him, to reassure him, you will only have to repeat all your reassurances the next time he feels jealous (and to a greater extent every time).
Nothing you have done causes your husband to be jealous, and no amount of dancing (submitting) to his pathology (think of jealousy as a virus!) will result in its disappearance. A most unloving response on your part would be to behave as if somehow it is you who makes him jealous. Do not curb your natural, innocent behavior in the fear that it might stimulate his jealousy. Jealousy has already got him; don’t let it get you.