Amy July 19
Posted in the Chicago Forum
Since: Jun 09
#1 Jul 19, 2014
Dear Amy: Due to family issues stemming from my mother's death, I have severe trust issues with people. I don't like getting close to people because everyone I grew up with has either abused me in one way or another, lied to me about major things (such as the identity of my own father), or broken me down using my mother's death as ammunition.
I am currently with a man I care for, but he shares his home with four generations of his immediate family. I find myself very standoffish when it comes to them, and even after a year I am only just starting to warm up to them.
I find myself jealous of certain things — things that I imagine are normal family things, such as having to share everything. For instance, when he and I go food shopping and then someone takes food we bought without asking, I am supposed to accept it as the way it is.
I need help or tips, something to make me "get it" instead of just getting annoyed.
I grew up basically on my own and if I am to stay with this man (and I do want to), then I need to learn how to be more family-oriented.— Frustrated Introvert
Dear Introvert: You might be less frustrated if you had a little space, privacy and property that you could count on as being yours, alone.
Getting annoyed after you shop for food and then find it has been consumed by others is normal, if not universal. I also think it is normal, given your background, to feel encroached upon when you are surrounded by four generations of a large family.
Ask your guy's family members, "Would you mind if I keep some things in this container that are just for me? It's my quirk from so many years of living alone."
I also think it is important for you to have a physical space in the house (perhaps only a rocking chair in your room) that is yours — where you can enjoy the privacy you seem to need.
Taking care of yourself will help you to conserve the energy required to interact with the rest of the clan. Do so with kindness and respect.
I hope you will be open not only to the challenges but also the graces that can come from being part of a big family. If you successfully adjust to this, your life will be rich. A professional counselor could help.
Dear Amy: I am a businesswoman in my mid 50s, and I will no longer shake hands with a man. My hand has been brutalized for the last time, just yesterday by a man who clinched down on my hand like a vice.
I immediately withdrew and told him that in the future he needed to be more aware of just whose hand he is shaking.
To grasp my hand so ridiculously hard was just stupid and thoughtless. If he thought for one moment that he was impressing me, he was correct, but it wasn't the impression he wanted to leave.
These people need to assess their recipient (victim) and decide what amount of pressure needs to be applied. It's not necessary to be limp — you can have a firm handshake and still not cause pain.
My hand still hurts today.— Hurting for Certain
Dear Hurting: Men are not the only people to engage a vice-grip greeting. People need to be aware of the impact of such a squeeze. Those of us with very small hands and/or arthritis can be injured.
But you should make an effort to be kind. In the future, you might stave this off by pre-emptively offering your business card in your right hand.
Dear Amy: Is it possible for someone to have an emotional affair with two people at the same time? This person claims that it was just a good friendship, but when I said it was an emotional affair the person wondered if it was possible.— Wondering
Dear Wondering: When it comes to people, anything is possible and everything imaginable has already been done, including multiple emotional affairs.
#2 Jul 19, 2014
LW1 is taking some constructive steps toward overcoming her
current difficulties. More power to her.
Well, now, I wouldn't say that many men crush a hand on a hand shake.
I'd say telling him "That's a strong grip," would get the average man to
hold her hand less roughly.
Laughed at LW3.
#3 Jul 19, 2014
1: I have nothing to add to Amy's advice but I do wonder whether the lw's current living situation is the best for her. I don't think I'd have been happy living in the same house as my in-laws no matter how nice they were but four generations is just too much. If it were my own family, perhaps, but when I think about it, I doubt I'd be happy being married and living with my parents. I'd always be their daughter to order around and I'd always be ruled by them if I lived with them. That is not a happy scenario.
2: I would definitely tell a person (man or woman) if their handshake grip was too strong. I might just say "Oww!" It would be doing the next recipient of their handshake a favor. My hands are both small and arthritic but I don't recall ever being injured by a handshake.
Amy's advice of handing the person a business card must be a joke. We often shake hands upon meeting and then leaving - especially when dealing with a business situation. Just imagine handing someone a card twice at the same event or meeting - and at every subsequent meeting. I'd just keep my hand to myself and say, "I'd like very much to shake your hand but I can't do that because I have arthritis." Or something along that line. Some people don't like to shake hands because they are afraid of germs. Maybe they should just tell people that. ;-)
3: I don't know the answer to this one because I'm not really sure what constitutes an emotional affair. I do think it's possible to have a very close relationship with more than one person and be able to share personal thoughts and feelings with them. It's called friendship and some people DO have more than one friend with whom they feel really close. So how is this different from an emotional affair - other than I would assume the affair part might be because the other person in the "affair" or friendship is the opposite sex? I suppose some people reading this would be willing to answer that question. Is it that they imagine themselves "in love" with the other and even go so far as to talk about this but never take it so far as to have a sexual relationship because they aren't free to do so?
#4 Jul 19, 2014
LW1 and LW2: Team Pippa.
LW3: Good answer from Amy. This letter is too vague to offer LW much food for thought, but in the past we have seen letters from married women who said that their husbands were texting other women many times per day. So if LW is questioning what is or is not an emotional affair, I think s/he may be getting too bogged down in terminology. If you are unhappy about what is going on, have that serious conversation, see if the relationship can be salvaged, but be prepared to move on if your needs are not being met.
#5 Jul 20, 2014
L2: Just pick your nose when they go to shake your hand.
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