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“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

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#1
Jul 7, 2013
 
Amy Dickinson
Columnist

Ask Amy: Step away from the troublesome relations
FAIR WARNING: The first letter is a repeat of one in a column the other day

Dear Amy: For a number of years, my family has been poorly treated by my cousin and her husband. This cousin is not on speaking terms with her two sisters, who have also experienced such maltreatment.

They now have a summer residence across the street from mine. They spy on the activities of my elderly mother, my brother and me. They will not acknowledge us but will go to neighbors and spread negative rumors about us. When their son was married, my mother received a letter “dis-inviting” us to the wedding! Not one person from our side of the family was invited.

This cousin’s father passed away a number of months ago. My mother, brother and I sent flowers. Those, too, went unacknowledged. We invited them to 85th and 90th birthday parties for my mother. They did not RSVP and did not attend. We are very hurt by this behavior and seek your insight on how to deal with this stressful situation.— Hurt in N.Y.

Your stress will diminish if you follow your cousin’s lead and act as if she doesn’t exist. Simply step off this roller coaster. Do not invite this couple to events. Don’t ruminate on their behavior. You cannot seem to heal this relationship, so concentrate on the functional friend and family relationships in your life.

Dear Amy: I am fairly happy with my boyfriend. I think the relationship could move forward. I would like that. The problem is that my boyfriend often speaks in baby talk. He always talks to my Labrador retriever using this tone of voice — and the problem is that occasionally he talks to me that way too!

I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I really do want to let him know how much this bothers me. Can you help?— Kelly

In this world, there are two kinds of baby-talkers — those who use baby talk only to talk to animals and those who indiscriminately goo-goo and ga-ga to any creature (human or animal) they enjoy and treasure.

As a person who talks to all animals using a squeaky chew-toy voice, I must advocate for this eccentricity — but only when directed toward animals (and human babies).

You should feel comfortable enough to raise this issue with your boyfriend, but only as it pertains to you (not your dog). You do not get to tell him how to talk to your dog.

You say,“Can I tell you about a habit you have that bothers me?” Keep it simple and ask him if he could be more aware of it. He then gets to tell you about a habit you have that bothers him. If you two are able to communicate and make small adjustments on the other person’s behalf, it bodes well for your future.
Cass

Upland, CA

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#2
Jul 7, 2013
 
LW2 - I talk to my cat in baby voice. People? Not if they are above the age of 3. Just tell him you find it annoying and ask him to stop please.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

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#3
Jul 7, 2013
 
PEllen wrote:
Ask Amy: Step away from the troublesome relations
FAIR WARNING: The first letter is a repeat of one in a column the other day
DEAR AMY: I have often heard that we must love our family -- no matter what.

Love to me means (at the minimum) mutual respect, compassion, kindness, joy and truth.

If there is someone in your family that does not have these attributes, do you have to "love" them?

I have a very large family and there are some that I can truly say I do not love. Some of them I don't even like.

With the family members I am close to, I can meet up with them and it feels like not a second has gone by since our last meeting. We enjoy crushing embraces and long, wonderful talks. With the family members I am not close to, our relationship is strained. When we are together, I always engage with them because I do care, even if I don't like them very much.

I have watched my daughters say "I love you" to seemingly casual friends, so it seems the concept of real love may have been diminished.

I am interested to find out if other families have this same situation and struggle with the concept of love -- or if they just shrug it off to keep the family peace.

What do you think?-- Suzi

DEAR SUZI: Teenage girls tell their friends they love them because for them love is an expression of ease, emotional intimacy and complete comfort. In fact, your daughters are expressing the same qualities you describe when you attempt to define love. This does not diminish the concept of "real love." I believe this sort of free-spirited and uncomplicated "friendship love" is something we adults could learn from. At the very least this is a reminder that love comes in many forms.

To address your question, no, you don't have to love -- or like -- every member of your family. What you do have to do, occasionally, is tolerate them. The situation you describe is common to just about every family I know, including my own.

Families are like any group of people -- some people are awesome, some are troublesome and some can make you feel like every family gathering is Satan's cocktail party. This beautiful and challenging complication is what keeps therapists (and advice-givers) in business.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

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#4
Jul 7, 2013
 

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Thanks, PE! Wuv you, my wittle schmootchie googlie poo!
Cass

Upland, CA

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#5
Jul 7, 2013
 
"Love to me means (at the minimum) mutual respect, compassion, kindness, joy and truth."

My young kids (esp. the 3yo one) rarely display compassion to me, and sometimes they are unkind (e.g. my 8yo can yell, "I hate you" if she tries and still doesn't get things the way she wants them). I don't always experience joy when I am with them (when they are misbehaving, they can drive me up the wall). I don't always tell the truth to them either (e.g. they totally believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy). Does that mean I don't *really* love them?

Pshaw.

So, if your daughters and "seemingly casual friends" have mutual respect, compassion, kindness, joy, and truth - which all fit your definition of love - why do you object to them saying "I love you" to those friends.
Julie

Skokie, IL

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#6
Jul 7, 2013
 
LW2: I don’t want to hurt his feelings, but I really do want to let him know how much this bothers me. Can you help?— Kelly
You have to ask Lamy for help with this? Seriously? You're an idiot.
Just tell your boyfriend: Oh Sweetums,I weally, weally wike you, but I don't wike it when you talk baby-talk to me. Wuv you, wuv you, pweshious Sweetums! <gag>. That'll make him run. Fast.
Stina

Saint Petersburg, FL

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#7
Jul 8, 2013
 

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I am a firm believer that you shouldn't even talk baby talk to babies. When you use silly versions of words (ba ba for bottle. wittle for little, etc), they don't have the opportunity to learn real words for things and proper ways to say them. I think it's a bad habit (besides the fact that you look like an idiot). If someone talks baby talk to me as an adult, they are likely to be punched in the head.

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