A: You’ll notice that the announcement includes this statement, “Your best wishes will be our gift.” So select a card, write a lovely note inside, and you’re finished. If you must, you can email her a little later and let her know your feelings in a playful, good-natured way.
Q: How does one expertly deal with family members who respond to joyous news of a new baby with an offensive response, such as “Oh, that’s interesting,” or “I guess that means you won’t be visiting us in August as we do each summer.”
A: Those relatives are self-absorbed boors. Ignore their comments entirely. Don’t let them drag you down. Instead, surround yourself with people who will lift you up during this precious time.
Q: I’ve been married to my husband for 20 years now. About 10 years into our marriage, my sister in-law turned very cold toward me. This was around the time my career began to show promise. I went to her and asked had I done something. She said no, but since then she has been a pill for me to be around. Now, I’m not one of those who has to have everyone like me. I do not have to be her best friend. But my husband is very close to his family. He has noticed the difference and asked her with the same results. How do I manage another 10 years? Since the larger successes of my career, the coldness is shown to my husband and child when I’m around. Do I just stop being around her? It’s exhausting to have to spend the occasional holiday or family sickness in her presence. Any advice will be appreciated.
A: OK, this witch has tormented you and your family enough. It’s time to take control and “flip the script.” In anticipation of the next holiday gathering, concoct a way to get her in your car or in a room away from everyone else. It’s showdown time: Confront her, and don’t let up. Imagine you’re playing a gritty detective in a 1940s film noir, and you’re trying to “break” the suspect. Seriously, her ugly behavior has to be stopped, and you’re the one to put an end to it. Remember to speak to her in a calm, assertive manner. Never lose your cool or raise your voice; that will freak her out and disarm her. Push it until she opens up. If you don’t, nothing will change, and she’ll be allowed to abuse you in perpetuity.
You may be a bit queasy going into this, but trust me, you’re going to feel like an invincible she-warrior when you are done. On the drive back home, blast a celebratory anthem such as Aretha’s “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” You have earned it.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at thecrackerqueen.com.