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I am not angry with her, but saddened by the event. In my heart I have forgiven her, but I feel that it WILL happen again if I am around her. I can’t imagine being around her, trying to watch every word I say in order to avoid “triggering” her. Any contact with her, at this point, would be upsetting to me.
I am getting gentle pressure from her father (my brother) to reestablish a friendly relationship with her for her sake. I don’t want to. I wish the best for her and I will always love her, but I do feel that seeing her would take a huge emotional toll on me.
Am I making the wrong decision?
A. Dear Frightened: Your niece has a brain disorder that affects her moods and behavior. Cognitively, you understand that, but emotionally, these outbursts are frightening, upsetting, and impossible to forget.
If any of the involved parties acknowledged how traumatic and frightening this episode was for you, it would help you to recover.
Her parents want you to reestablish a friendly relationship with her, but does she want this? Rather than gently nudge you to move on, her folks should engage you in a deeper conversation about her illness and behavior, triggers and reactions. Understand that if you were willing to be with her, it would benefit her parents, as well.
Your niece went almost two decades between these attacks on you. I wonder if there are better memories from that in-between time that you can attach to, in order to try and measure the reward versus risk of being in her presence.
You don’t have to be physically near her in order to have a relationship. If she is active on social media, you might be able to reestablish a rapport. If she accepts a “friend” or “follow” request from you, an occasional “like” or comment on a photo might help both of you to feel more at ease. I believe you should try.
Q. Ugh. Spring is here, and the people up and down my street enjoy walking their dogs. The problem is, some of these humans don’t clean up after them! I hate looking out my window and witnessing this. More than that, I hate picking up these “deposits.”
How should I respond?
A. Knee-high garden fencing along the front of your property might deter dogs and owners.
I recently saw a photo of a cardboard box set on a lawn near the sidewalk. The box sported a sign saying, “Dog treats here!” with an arrow pointing into the open box. Inside the box was — you guessed it — about a dozen doggy “deposits.”
That might work, also.
Q. “Annoyed by Chaos” described her workplace frustration due to “a certain level of OCD.”
After I retired 10 years ago, my wife read an article about ADHD symptoms and showed it to me. I read it and ticked off at least five items. I saw a specialist and was diagnosed and am now taking medication. If only I had been diagnosed earlier.
After talking to family members, one of my sons and two of my grandchildren were also diagnosed. The grandchildren will receive the help they need earlier than I did.
A. A correct diagnosis can explain behavior which is otherwise baffling. Your attitude is commendable; I’m happy your treatment is working.
Amy Dickinson can be reached at email@example.com.