Amy 10-29

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“Derecho”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

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#1
Oct 29, 2012
 
DEAR AMY: My mother-in-law is a "Negative Nancy." She has nothing positive to say about her life. All conversations revolve around how terrible her life is, including obsessing about her divorce as if it happened yesterday (it was more than 30 years ago).

This woman has traveled the world several times, has four beautiful grandchildren and has been welcome to spend time with us without strings attached. Her criticism takes in everything and everyone around her.

I can't take it anymore. Having just gone through a serious and debilitating battle with alcohol (I am now gratefully sober) I am motivated to stay positive. I still have bad days, but these days don't drag me into the dark places. I have found sobriety to be fantastic and need to surround myself with others who encourage this behavior.

I want to invite her to spend time with us on Thanksgiving but don't know how much of the memories and negativity I can take. My husband stays as far from the conversations as he can when she's around and abandons ship. What can I do? Is it OK to institute a "code of conduct"?

Can I state from the beginning that there be no talk of the past, and insist that we stay on track with the present and future? It really drains my energy, and just thinking about a long meal with the negativity does make me want to "take the edge off." -- Sober

DEAR SOBER: You should not institute rules for your guests to follow. This will only lead to frustration for you as you watch your family members leap over your boundaries.

If you are determined to invite your mother-in-law to share this meal with you, anticipate her negativity and arm yourself with some simple avoidance techniques and a sense of humor. Prepare with support from your recovery community.

You might be able to guide your table conversation by asking your guests to play a conversation game. The kids can participate by making up and writing down questions. A sample would be, "Tell us three things about your favorite pet." These open-ended queries can spark fun and positive conversations as guests read their questions aloud and share them with the group.

DEAR AMY: I have my first homecoming coming up soon, and my parents and I disagree on the time I need to be home. The dance is over at 12, but they say I have to be home by 11.

I am not sure why they feel this way. I have said everything I know to try to change their minds -- including the fact that teachers are everywhere at this dance. I just wish they'd give me a rational reason for this restriction.

Do you have any advice on how to convince them to let me stay out later? Is it really that unreasonable to want to stay out until the dance ends?

I am going with a large group of friends who are planning on staying together at the dance, and I don't have a boyfriend for them to worry about.-- Confused

DEAR CONFUSED: I agree with you that it is reasonable to stay at the dance until it ends, but I'm assuming you are in ninth grade and your folks want to be careful and prudent until they figure out how you handle these situations.

If they won't bend their rules, use this as an opportunity to prove to them how well you handle yourself. If things go well at this dance, they may change their restrictions in time for the winter semiformal.

DEAR AMY: "Mum on Spelling" was worried about a letter sent home by a teacher, which was riddled with spelling errors. Naturally this parent was wondering about this teacher's competency.

As a teacher, I can tell you that not all letters sent home are actually written by the teacher; sometimes these are generated by another school professional but not proofread by the teacher. I agree that Mum should notify the school about the need for spell-check.-- Also a Teacher

DEAR ALSO: Great point. Thank you.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

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#2
Oct 29, 2012
 
1 get her drunk so she passes out.

2 teen stuff....

3 Brilliant advice, but we came up with it first.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

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#3
Oct 29, 2012
 
L1: Have yourself a stiff drink. Oh, wait...

L2: Isn't curfew 11 in most areas? Why would a school dance go later than that? I'm almost on your parent's side with this.

L3: Meh.

“Licensed to Ill”

Since: Aug 08

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#4
Oct 29, 2012
 
LW1: Have you ruined weed for yourself too?

LW2: Just go out back and make out at 10 and be home by 11.

Since: Mar 09

United States

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#5
Oct 29, 2012
 
L1: No, you can't have a code of conduct. You can't change her so if you don't want to be around her, don't invite her. Why is that such a hard concept to grasp?

L2: Blah blah... I can't muster up any giveacrap.

L3: Yeah... thanks, Captain Obvious.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#6
Oct 29, 2012
 

Judged:

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L1: Learn not to take it in. When she starts complaining, counter it with something fantastic that happened in the last year. Then make a graceful exit to take care of something (anything) in the kitchen, bathroom -- whatever. Repeat as often as necessary.

L2: They probably don't want to start making exceptions to your usual curfew. Deal.
Sam I Am

Huntingdon, TN

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#7
Oct 29, 2012
 

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1. First, it is BS that your husband bails. It is his mom, he should be running interference. Second, tell him that if he does not take more of the load and doesn't say something, you will. I sure as heck would.

2. I do think you should be able to stay until the end of the event, but good luck changing your parents' minds.

3. Sorry, but if you put your name on it, it's yours.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

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#8
Oct 29, 2012
 
LW1: "...and arm yourself with some simple avoidance techniques and a sense of humor."

Arm yourself with some xanax.

And when your husband "abondons ship" you should go right along with him. Stop giving her an audience and she will eventually shut up.

LW2: My parents were like this too. Totally stupid and annoying, but I'm afraid since you're still a kid, you'll have to come home at 11.

LW3: Yeah, yeah. We know.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

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#9
Oct 29, 2012
 
L1: I'm glad J runs interferance between his mom and I. Sorry, but if she's going to monopolize the dinner conversation talking about people we don't know dying and how awful things are, I reserve the right to check out mentally until the conversation steers back to something I can contribute to.

The LW didn't say whether the 4 grandkids were her kids or not. I remember my grandma was really negative a lot and that led to a lot of conversations (not around my grandma) about how that impacts people, blah blah blah. Could be a good teaching moment for the kids. Despite my dark sense of humor and fascination with weird, morbid things, I'm actually a pretty positive person and I can usually find humor in anything.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#10
Oct 29, 2012
 
Matilda77 wrote:
L1: Have yourself a stiff drink. Oh, wait...
L2: Isn't curfew 11 in most areas? Why would a school dance go later than that? I'm almost on your parent's side with this.
L3: Meh.
I had to look it up. From what I found, Orlando has a teen curfew that only applies to the downtown entertainment district. 11 pm on weekdays, 12am on fri and saturday. Ybor city(near tmpa) tried to implement one and it was struck down as unconstitutional. According to wikipedia, local governments do enact them, but they will fail under constitutional challenge.

Your perspective(perhaps having grown up with one) is that they are prevalent. There was no such curfew when I was growing up, therefore my perspective is that this is few and far between.

Since: Jan 10

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#11
Oct 29, 2012
 
L1: ABandon ship before your husband does. Beat him to it.

L2: Ugh high school dance stuff?

L3: don't care.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

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#12
Oct 29, 2012
 
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>I had to look it up. From what I found, Orlando has a teen curfew that only applies to the downtown entertainment district. 11 pm on weekdays, 12am on fri and saturday. Ybor city(near tmpa) tried to implement one and it was struck down as unconstitutional. According to wikipedia, local governments do enact them, but they will fail under constitutional challenge.
Your perspective(perhaps having grown up with one) is that they are prevalent. There was no such curfew when I was growing up, therefore my perspective is that this is few and far between.
I don't think I had one either, but all of SIL's (and maybe mine, I don't remember) school dances ended at 10 or 11 in accordance with local curfew laws. I said I was *almost* on the parent's side. I actually don't see the problem, especially if they're being dropped off and picked up at the same location. What, exactly, is going to happen between 11 and 12 that she/he can't stay?
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#13
Oct 29, 2012
 
Matilda77 wrote:
<quoted text>
What, exactly, is going to happen between 11 and 12 that she/he can't stay?
In my experience, the last hour of high school dances involve many more slow songs and most of the couples on the dance floor looking all dopey-eyed at each other.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#14
Oct 29, 2012
 
pde wrote:
<quoted text>
In my experience, the last hour of high school dances involve many more slow songs and most of the couples on the dance floor looking all dopey-eyed at each other.
You leave 2 hours (or more) before the dance ends, go to a party house, get your butt back to the school right before your parents pick you up.
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#15
Oct 29, 2012
 
Toj wrote:
<quoted text>
You leave 2 hours (or more) before the dance ends, go to a party house, get your butt back to the school right before your parents pick you up.
After freshmen year, I tended to skip school dances for the outside parties, and my parents were aware of that. Although our outside "parties" were pretty understated affairs. More unsavory stuff went down under the bleachers than at the outside parties.
EJG

Taftville, CT

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#16
Oct 29, 2012
 
edogxxx wrote:
DEAR AMY: My mother-in-law is a "Negative Nancy." She has nothing positive to say about her life. All conversations revolve around how terrible her life is, including obsessing about her divorce as if it happened yesterday (it was more than 30 years ago).
This woman has traveled the world several times, has four beautiful grandchildren and has been welcome to spend time with us without strings attached. Her criticism takes in everything and everyone around her.
I can't take it anymore. Having just gone through a serious and debilitating battle with alcohol (I am now gratefully sober) I am motivated to stay positive. I still have bad days, but these days don't drag me into the dark places. I have found sobriety to be fantastic and need to surround myself with others who encourage this behavior.
I want to invite her to spend time with us on Thanksgiving but don't know how much of the memories and negativity I can take. My husband stays as far from the conversations as he can when she's around and abandons ship. What can I do? Is it OK to institute a "code of conduct"?
Can I state from the beginning that there be no talk of the past, and insist that we stay on track with the present and future? It really drains my energy, and just thinking about a long meal with the negativity does make me want to "take the edge off." -- Sober
DEAR SOBER: You should not institute rules for your guests to follow. This will only lead to frustration for you as you watch your family members leap over your boundaries.
If you are determined to invite your mother-in-law to share this meal with you, anticipate her negativity and arm yourself with some simple avoidance techniques and a sense of humor. Prepare with support from your recovery community.
You might be able to guide your table conversation by asking your guests to play a conversation game. The kids can participate by making up and writing down questions. A sample would be, "Tell us three things about your favorite pet." These open-ended queries can spark fun and positive conversations as guests read their questions aloud and share them with the group.
Sober has every right to make the rules in her own home. Her husband's job is to set that boundary with his mother once and for all. His wife's health and sobriety are far more important than his mother's feelings. If his mother does not like it, she should just keep her lips zipped and stay away.

Since: Jan 10

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#17
Oct 29, 2012
 

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I think the LW should do something different this year for the holidays as she struggles with new sobriety.

Toj

“Equality”

Since: Jul 12

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#18
Oct 29, 2012
 
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
I think the LW should do something different this year for the holidays as she struggles with new sobriety.
That's what I would do.

“A Programmer is not in IT!”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me!

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#19
Oct 29, 2012
 

Judged:

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She is...This year she is doing it sober.
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
I think the LW should do something different this year for the holidays as she struggles with new sobriety.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#20
Oct 29, 2012
 
j_m_w wrote:
don't invite her.
This seems oddd to me. Not the idea of not having her over, but the idea of "inviting" her or not. In my experience, things like holiday dinners, that get repeated the same way every year, are not really "invite" events. My mom has a big christmaas brunch every year. We go every year. There is no discussion before hand of "yes, I'm having it this year and hope you can make it."

I expect her to have it every year. I expect that I am welcome in her home. She expects that we will be coming. I imagine LW's holiday is the same. It is a yearly expectation all around. To not have mom over is going to require more than simply not inviting her. It will require specifically telling her she is not welcome to come over. Good luck with that conversation.

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