Opinions and beliefs put relatives at odds

Published 8:19 am Wednesday, January 10, 2024

DEAR ABBY: My grandmother and I have lived together for the past 22 years. She raised me from the age of 3. We used to be best friends. However, over the last few years, things have changed. We don’t agree on a lot, and we have very different opinions on almost everything. We argue and fight with name-calling, threats and a lot of disrespect.
I have suggested we go to counseling a couple of times, but she’s never shown any interest. I know I have an anger problem, which I take full responsibility for. I also know the best thing to do in these situations is probably to turn around and walk away, but sometimes she pushes my buttons and I can’t help but fight back.
I understand this is a problem that needs to be fixed, and I want to, but I don’t know how to start. I know you’ve written a booklet about anger. What can I do short of moving out? – OUT OF CONTROL IN COLORADO

DEAR OUT OF CONTROL: By admitting you have an anger problem, you have already taken a significant first step in dealing with it. You and your grandmother aren’t the only people experiencing heightened emotions these days. We live in increasingly stressful times that have affected most of us in one way or another.
Because you are now an adult, the nature of your relationship with your grandmother may have changed. As adults, you are entitled to your own opinions. However, reasonable adults don’t try to inflict their opinions on the people they love.
Recognizing what causes these flare-ups can help you avoid taking anger out on each other. It takes self-control and maturity to react calmly instead of exploding. Saying, “We both feel strongly about this. Can we discuss this another time?” and then going for a walk can help to maintain a calmer perspective.
My Anger Booklet contains many suggestions for managing and expressing anger appropriately in various situations. This is a skill that will prove increasingly important as you grow older. It can be ordered by sending your name and address, plus a check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to Dear Abby Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mt. Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.
We live in a time in our society when anger and divisiveness have reached new heights. As we have seen in the media, explosive anger is the most dangerous of all. Perhaps anger management should be taught in schools to help people more effectively communicate in a healthy manner.
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DEAR ABBY: I have been dating this girl for eight months. She tells me she and her ex-boyfriend remain good friends, and that he is her best friend. She sees him regularly and says she has gotten over him. I plan to marry her, but she wants to invite him to our wedding. The ex gives my girlfriend money. She says no sex is involved. Should I drop her over this? — ALARMED IN TEXAS

DEAR ALARMED: Probably, because accepting money from her ex-boyfriend indicates she is not independent of him.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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