Dear Margo: If They Ask, Don’t Tell

How can I get my family to stop judging me? Margo Howard’s advice

If They Ask, Don’t Tell

Dear Margo: My husband and I are organic farmers in the Midwest. We incorporate organic practices into our lifestyle because we believe it’s the healthiest way to live. I consider this a personal choice and never try to sway those who disagree with us. My husband’s family wholly supports our choice to live as we do. My family, however, does not.

I am constantly defending our lifestyle to my parents and other family members. My husband and I have nothing against modern medicine, yet my family thinks we are totally against even seeing the doctor. We choose not to eat a lot of white sugar, white flour and processed food, yet I’m “depriving my son” because I don’t give him candy and sweets — despite the fact that he’s only 14 months old. Recently, he was sick, and I gave him a rehydration drink on the advice of my naturopath. Because it wasn’t Gatorade or Pedialyte, I took a “huge risk,” according to an aunt who sent me an offensive e-mail the other day.

Margo, I don’t know how much more I can take of this scrutiny of our choices. I get approval from either my doctor or the pediatrician before starting anything my naturopath suggests. My husband thinks I should quit being so nice and tell the next person who criticizes our choices to butt out. –Tired of Biting My Tongue

Dear Tired: I have a better idea. Stop defending yourself, and stop reporting what you are growing, eating and giving your children. (And you are correct, it turns out, about processed foods.) If questions are asked, say you’ve decided, for the sake of harmony, that the subject is out of bounds. –Margo, conclusively

Walk Away

Dear Margo: I am a 57-year-old man who had been in a stable, loving relationship with another man for the past nine years. I am 17 years his senior, and our relationship has been long distance since Day One, so we knew what we were in for. Because of our careers, we were able to travel to be with each other, and we spoke three times a day every day if we were apart.

This past year has been the very worst of my life. The worst was that my partner was told he had prostate cancer and needed to have it removed. The operation was a success. They got all the cancer and preserved the nerves, which meant he could still get an erection. Now the problem. He lives in Los Angeles, and I was on my way to spend three weeks with him to help him recover. On the night before I was to leave, he told me he’d been having an affair and during all of our relationship was having one-night stands. He wanted to know if I still would come to L.A. I said yes because I thought talking face to face would help.

While there, we talked, and he told me he was no longer sexually attracted to me but still loved me. While there, he never took one day off from work to be with me, and when I was going home, he put me in a taxi. As far as I was concerned, we were over, but he still calls, says he loves me and uses pet names we had for each other. I have gotten a lot of advice from friends and family, but I think I need an outside opinion. Should I tell him to please not call me, as it is too painful, and just let me get on with my life? –Brokenhearted

Dear Broke: In a word, yes. He wants everything: you in the wings (and in another town), his local friend and his one-night stands. Tell him it was great fun, but it was just one of those things. Accepting that it’s over will free you to begin your romantic life anew. There’s a saying in retail that I find applies to life: Your first markdown is your cheapest. There’s no reason to stick around and feel second rate — like an item that won’t sell. –Margo, decisively

* * *

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to dearmargo@creators.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

COPYRIGHT 2011 MARGO HOWARD
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow

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55 comments so far.

  1. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  Your family sounds quite nosy and not very well-informed.  Maybe you are sharing too much information with them about your choices, maybe they feel *judged* by you as a result (even though you do not try to convert them…if you are constantly extolling the virtues of your choices to them they may get a little sick of hearing it and feel defensive).  But Margo is right to say simply stop talking about what you eat and drink with them and if they make unsolicited comments about it, don’t get into a discussion.  Change the subject.  And quit worrying so much about their opinion. 

    LW#2:  By all means tell the guy you don’t want to hear from him anymore.  Change your phone number and email account.  The breakup is heartbreaking enough…having it drag out with his phone calls and overtures with mixed messages…will only make you more miserable and keep you from getting over it (not an easy thing to do with such a long term relationship burt eventually you will). 

  2. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW2: “There’s no reason to stick around and feel second rate — like an item that won’t sell.” Words of wisdom that hurt. And yet so true.

    You need a hug. And after that hug, you need to be smacked. Not hard—but enough to wake you the hell up to realize that you’ve already spent nine years of your life in an emotional prison. Why on earth would you even consider spending another second there? Don’t you dare call him. Do yourself the service of moving on with your life immediately, and be done with the past. Change your phone number and get on your knees and thank God you don’t live in the same city.

    • avatar D C says:

      ^  What HE said!  LW2 has been abused.  The bruises may not show, but they are there, just the same. 

  3. avatar jkjkb says:

    LW2: You deserve better than what he has been providing you; walk away from this one. You might also want to get tested. Anyone who has been with multiple one-night-stands is exposing all of their partners to health risks.

  4. avatar D C says:

    For LW#1:  I think that prior generations who get upset at our choices are usually feeling that our choice is made because we feel they didn’t do it the right way.  They take it personally.  Especially the upset about “depriving” the child of sweets.  If you don’t give your child sweets, and don’t want the grandparents to do that, then you are taking their choice away to give their grandchild something they think is harmless (it didn’t kill you did it?), and “depriving” them of the joy they take in doing it. 

    My mother always took personally when I made choices that were different than hers.  I will do my best to not take personally when my children do the same. 

  5. avatar Karrin Cooper says:

    LW2 – wow, my heart goes out to you. Tell him (in not so polite terms) to go away. IF he ‘loves’ you, he wouldn’t have been such a slime ball! I mean, one night stands?! The risk he put YOU in by itself should be enough for you to get gone! Get on with your life and find someone who deserves you, because this one sure doesn’t.

  6. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #2: Wow. :-( I agree with Margo.

  7. avatar Kathy says:

    LW1 – Yeah, quit talking about it and people will quit judging it. 
    LW2 – This is sad, really.  Obviously, this guy was just a sugar daddy and didn’t realize it.  I’m willing to bet that all the “travel” they did to be together was financed by him.

    • avatar David Bolton says:

      “Yeah, quit talking about it and people will quit judging it.”

      Awesome advice. One thing I have noticed about people I know who introduce alternative methodology into their lives (food, diet, exercise, medicine, etc) is how CHATTY and smug they are about it if they get the opportunity.

      “I’ve got a sinus infection—I think I need to get some antibiotics.”
      “Oh, I always take goldenseal and inhale sage and coconut oil and use my neti pot and refocus my chakra and hold my quartz energy crystals and it clears it right up. Of course, I actually don’t get sinus infections because my gluten-free organic diet prevents such.”

      • avatar Ellie M says:

        David, you’re a riot!  

      • avatar flyonthewall says:

        Yes David, I know what you mean about the know it all smug food elitist. It is because of them I get the bad rap. I like to be quiet about our lifestyle as I realize that different people process food and chemical substances differently. I was born into that DNA pool where my body reacts poorly to refined foods, chemical substances found in processed foods, etc. My offspring seem to have inherited it as well. The only time I tell anyone about my lifestyle is when they are about to feed my little one substances that I know will cause a bad reaction. And yes, even with all of our alternative methodology condoned by our MD’s, we still suffer from things like sinus infections. Sometimes, I feel like throwing rocks at those blabbering “food know it all”s.

      • avatar Lunita says:

        I’m not sure whether they are “chatty and smug” about their lifestyle, but the first thing I thought when I read the letter was the same–why does your aunt even know that you gave your child some organic drink rather than Gatorade? Unless she is living with them or LW volunteered the info, how could she even know that!?

        @Kathy–I feel so bad for LW2. It must be really hard to go out with someone for that long and think everything’s great and then get smacked with this kind of information. And the guy has the nerve to still try and “be friends.”
        Please LW2, tell him you don’t want to talk anymore. And then don’t take any of his calls or communicate with him in any way. It’ll be better for you.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        Thanks for the feedback. I’m all for anything that actually works (and we all know that medicines for the most part DO come from plants and humble folk beginnings). And my neti pot is something I’ll personally swear by.

        What kills me are the people who get obsessed with certain aspects of the “healthy” lifestyle industrial complex. I go into Whole Foods and see Tubzilla & Co. with a $6 gallon of organic milk and I can’t help but think: “why don’t you try some organic situps?” And then of course my perpetually broke friend used to buy ghee (a.k.a. clarified butter) because it cost $15/jar and therefore had to be better for you. His logic, not mine.

      • avatar sfmoonfire says:

        Look out, David, your double standard is showing. You don’t like people who are smug and judgmental about their diets, and then you turn around and get smug and judgmental about your diet. “Tubzilla & Co.”? Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes, especially at people — shall we call them Jerkzilla & Co.? — who feel the need to monitor what total strangers are buying or eating. Surely you have better things to think/complain about.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        Point taken.

      • avatar A R says:

        Hmmmm…. I think there’s a difference between noticing what someone is buying versus monitoring. One is just a happenstance passing thought, the other implies meddlesome-ness.

        A person would have to be blind not to see what others buy if you are near them. It doesn’t make you a jerk, just observant. The fact that you don’t know them is really irrelevant–it’s like noticing what someone is wearing or not wearing.

      • avatar Enough Trouble says:

        Noticing is what happens when you go about life – like “oh look, that lady’s children look just like her”, or “i really like the haircut that person has”  Crossing the line to jerk happens when we take that observation and make a judgement call on it – “I go into Whole Foods and see Tubzilla & Co. with a $6 gallon of organic milk and I can’t help but think: “why don’t you try some organic situps?”   Especially meddlesome because that person may have just started a lifestyle change to loose weight and that was part of the change.  Or any other of a million possibilities – buying it for someone else for instance.
        Thanks, David, for acknowledging the difference.  Very big of you.

      • avatar A R says:

        So you are saying essentially that having a negative thought about a behavior, appearance, or lifestyle choice one finds distasteful makes a person an automatic jerk?

  8. avatar flyonthewall says:

    L#1 I agree that it is wise not to talk to people who don’t approve of your lifestyle, sure. I just see further problems popping up. It is amazing the amount of people who are convinced that you are abusing your child if you do not constantly feed the little one candy and other foods high in sugar or any of the unhealthy convenience foods out there on the market. It has been my experience that there’s always some well meaning person out there (someone at school, church, friend’s parent, etc.) who feels it is their sworn duty to sugar up your child or feed them something else that is undesirable. Even when you tell them truthfully that the doctor and dentist have given you strict orders that sugar consumption needs to be kept at a minimum etc, you still get the evil eye and they make every effort to poke the child full of whatever. This is just one area where you are going to have to set your boundaries, perhaps not see certain people and grow a strong backbone and thick skin. That is what I’ve had to do.

    • avatar crystalclear says:

      Letter #1:   Margo gave the ultimate in best advice.   Your life is your own and you don’t need anyone’s approval.   Sometimes, grandparents feel they have a better way since they are experienced in raising children.  However, in your case, you are practicing in an area they are not familiar with so it’s best not to engage in conversations about it.  Margo’s advice was right on the mark.

      Letter 2:   This reminds me of the Christopher Isherwood book I’m reading.  Once again, Margo nails it….he wants it all and he wants you to like it his way.  Do yourself a favor and save yourself.    After all, it’s time to find out what’s behind that new open door in front of you.

      • avatar Paul Smith says:

        “After all, it’s time to find out what’s behind that new open door in front of you.”  Not much I suspect.  He is 57.  In gay culture, that means he is about 150.

      • avatar chuck alien says:

        right… i forgot that mandatory “become straight at 50″ rule the gays follow.

        in other news: you don’t know jack about gay culture. and possibly common sense.

      • avatar SonicScrewDriver says:

        HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. avatar flyonthewall says:

    L#2 My heart really goes out to you. For your own well being, you need to permanently end things with this other man. I fully agree with Margo here. Forget him and move on with your life. Do what you need to do to heal. Maybe some therapy is in order, so you don’t find yourself in this situation again. You’ve allowed this person to use and abuse you. You deserve better.

  10. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    LW2: You, and everyone else, deserve better. How about you make a list of all your wonderful qualities and read it every morning. Remind yourself of the things that make you a “catch”. When you project that, someone worthy (and HOT) will be attracted to your self-confidence. And please do not ask the Count how I know this.

  11. avatar Amy says:

    I think the advice to LW#1 is dangerous. These ignorant nuts sound like the type of people who could call CPS on their daughter for what I am certain they perceive as “child abuse”, particularly if she suddenly makes all of their health choices taboo in any discussion. I hope it never comes to that. Frankly, these people sound like real pieces of work, and I am overjoyed that despite your unhealthy upbringing you have chosen a better, more healthful life for you and your family.

    It’s been proven now that fructose, aka the thing they put in ALL processed foods these days, is as damaging to your liver as long-term alcohol abuse. So do not under any circumstances allow your family to bully you over this. And please refrain from saying “I told you so” when in 30 years’ time they’re all suffering from crippling diabetes and liver disorders.

    • avatar Irreverent says:

      Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar found in fruits.
       
      High-fructose corn syrup is a type of sweetener (corn syrup) that has been modified to convert some of its glucose into fructose to make it sweeter than regular table sugar.
       
      High-fructose corn syrup is the sweetener commonly used in processed foods and beverages.
       
      Fructose is frequently confused with high-fructose corn syrup, but it’s the latter that should be avoided (at least severely limited), unless you’re a diabetic: diabetics do well to limit their fruit intake, since their liver cannot (effectively) produce (enough) insulin to break down sugars.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        The pancreas actually produces insulin.

      • avatar R Scott says:

        But is it clarified insulin or that other kind?   :-)

      • avatar Irreverent says:

        Dear David
        You are correct; I misspoke (mis-typed?).
        The pancreas produces insulin. The liver uses a part of it.
        Thank you for pointing out my mistake :-)

      • avatar Amy says:

        Hi Irr,

        I’d heard that the fructose in corn syrup is the same as in all fruits, it’s just horribly concentrated in the corn syrup. However, as someone who flunked biochem in college, I don’t feel confident enough to debate your point. :) I highly recommend you watch this video regarding sugar and its many forms, I found it immensely insightful and entertaining: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

  12. avatar A R says:

    LW1: I actually disagree with those who say that these holistic/green/new age-y choices make others feel judged or belittled. I think that the people who react most strongly truly think we’ve gone off the deep end because what we are doing makes no sense to them. They are simply reacting from their own life experiences or lack thereof.

    When I gradually started moving to vegetarianism (1992), my parents wigged out. As far as they were concerned, only bisexual, 40-year old Bohemian artists out in California who didn’t wear underwear were vegetarians. Seriously, that was their “frame of reference”. Where did they get that? Dunno….media? Their generation? The Bible? Their parents?

    Meanwhile a decade later, my doubting-Thomas sister finally converted to vegetarianism. For Christmas dinner last year she cooked vegetarian chili and my mom and dad raved about it like they thought it was a great idea all along. They wanted the recipe so they could “eat less meat”.

    When my daughter was born in 1997, I fed her soy baby formula when I returned to work. My mother was absolutely sure that the child would be brain damaged and stunted because “Soy just isn’t normal”. Fast forward to now, and I find Almond Breeze and chocolate soymilk in my parents’ fridge when I visit.

    Point being, it’s the unknown that frightens people. I don’t think most of them even ruminate long enough to feel judged or berated. LOL.

    • avatar chuck alien says:

      i’d be suspect of soy baby formula too.

      it’s fine for grownups, but babies? i’m not sure they need extra estrogen.

      • avatar Lunita says:

        @AR- My nephews are being raised pretty much vegetarian. I’ve heard of surveys where a big percentage of those surveyed (now, I have no idea what segment of the population this was) believed that it was cruel to deprive children of meat. Really? Cruel? Anyway, I myself was vegetarian for about eight years and although I did not bring up the subject myself (and was never the kind of vegetarian to ask people not to cook meat in front of me or to say it smelled bad or was disgusting), I often had to answer the inevitable questions like, “why are you vegetarian?”, “how do you get protein/are you eating healthy?” and, most irritatingly, the arguments about why I should eat meat (after I was asked and disclosed why I did not eat it). So I know that there are smug, sanctimonious healthy food eaters, vegetarians, and the like, but there are also really annoying people who constantly question other people’s food decisions.  

        ps, I love your Domo picture.

      • avatar Lym BO says:

        I have asked these questions. Not because I am judgmental, but because I am attempting to learn more. We all know eating meat isn’t healthy, but most people fear change. Eliminating meat (or other foods) is a huge lifestyle change if one grew up that way. Most people do what they know even when they know it is incorrect, but lack the interest or motivation to change. Isn’t one of the biggest industries weight loss incorporating diet change & exercise into their lifestyle!? Really being defensive or judgmental yourself isn’t the best approach. Baby steps. 100 years from now hopefully healthier choices will be the norm, not the outlier.

      • avatar Briana Baran says:

        Chuckles: Babies who have lactose intolerance, or who have a sensitivity or allergy to milk (and by the way, this can include their own mother’s milk), are very frequently given soy formula. The plant based estrogen dose not affect their sexual or reproductive development, including secondary sexual characteristics.

        Before you go off on one of your troglodyte moronic rants regarding how I came by my knowledge, I know because both of my biological sons were born with severe allergies to the proteins in milk. Both were fed soy formula, both have normal male secondary sexual characteristics, one is high average intelligence, one very high intelligence, both are heterosexual and physically “normal”.

        Also, drinking soy milk, and using soy products, has no discernible affect on the sexuality or reproductive systems of prepubescent or adolescent humans.

        Concentrated soy has been indicated as helpful in alleviating the affects of peri-menopause, menopause, and hormonal loss in post-menopausal women. It is considered an holistic remedy. According to my gynecologist, who is an MD, and who specializes in treatment of women in the post-child-bearing years, women with hypothyroidism taking artificial thyroid replacement medications should not use concentrated soy products.

      • avatar A R says:

        Chuck, you don’t have to be suspect if you do your research and get the blessing of your pediatrician. Let me clarify that it was a soy formula—not cartoned soy milk. The same companies that produce regular formula have a soy line.

  13. avatar SMALL TOWN GIRL says:

    LW#2   Your x partner had no self respect, never mind respect for you & your( supposed )relationship
    its true what they say about long distance relationships .  But the good thing is you don’t have to run into him 

  14. avatar Ellie M says:

    LW2– I’m sorry about how this man treated you.  You were very kind to still make the effort to talk to him face to face.  Tell him to quit calling and let you move on, or else you will never get over this guy.  Best of luck to you.

    BTW– I submitted a letter that was printed on Jan 27 (LW#2), and I received some shocking replies from some of you.  I am jsut now posting a reply to those letters, and I wanted to let you know in case anyone wants to read my post.  Thanks, and hava a good day!

    • avatar Ellie M says:

      Please excuse all the typos– that previous post must have drained my brain!

      • avatar Lunita says:

        I don’t think I left a comment either, but I went back and read your response. Since then, have your aunts or cousins come around? Or are you resigned to not seeing them either? Good luck and it sounds like you did the right thing for yourself.

      • avatar Ellie M says:

        Thank you Lunita.  No, sadly, the situation is still pretty much the same, although my aunt did send a graduation card to my brother a few weeks ago.  The situation is still upsetting to me, but I just don’t feel comfortable acting any other way.  Thank you for your kind words.

      • avatar David Bolton says:

        Like I said before—you have my total empathy and good wishes. I’m sorry that you were stuck with a cautionary tale on your mom’s side—but I’m glad to hear that if anything, it made you love your other g-mother even more.

      • avatar Ellie M says:

        Thanks David– I think you were one of the only ones who agreed w/ my point of view. Also, having such a wonderful grandma on my father’s side made my maternal g-ma’s flaws even more obvious.

      • avatar D C says:

        I was on your side, and it looks like you, David and I are all related.  I went back and read that post.  I had a question in here a while back as well and got shot down.  A lot of people who comment in here assume the worst unless they have all the details.  If we put in ALL the details, the letters would be so long that Margo would have to put them in the reject pile. 
        Last night my husband re-played from DVR the last episode of South Park (yes, it’s a guilty pleasure).  I think there are a lot of people in here who should receive the same diagnosis Stan got when he went to the doctor in that episode. 
        Take care, Ellie, and be happy. 

    • avatar flyonthewall says:

      Ellie, I took a look at your reply although I did not response to your letter that day. Thank you for confirming what I suspected about your situation. You have every right to leave Grandmother out of your life and I’m sorry relatives were trying to force you into a relationship. You sound like a level headed young woman and I wish the best for you. Take care.

      • avatar flyonthewall says:

        *respond

      • avatar Ellie M says:

        Thank you for your support, flyonthewall.  I know my solution wouldn’t work for everyone, but it works for me, and I feel like I’m doing the right thing.

  15. avatar chuck alien says:

    Maybe refrain from throwing around “My naturopath advises me to….” all the time.

    cause yeah, that sounds a little crazy-talk.

    and old people sure do like giving kids sugar. i don’t know what’s with that, but they love it.

  16. avatar R Scott says:

    LW1 – Your son was sick and now he feels better. Cool. Does anyone really need to know that your naturopath prescribed a hydration drink (water?)? I have a hunch you are telling folks way more than they want to know about your daily dietary path. Really. We don’t need to hear it. I’m sure you’re a good mom and great person. Thanks.

  17. avatar Brooke Schubert says:

    LW#1-I understand your frustration.  I come from a family with terrible food habits.  They are all obese and unhealthy, and I made the choice when I went to college that I would not go down the same path.  I’m 33 now and exercise daily and limit my junk food, and eat lots of fruit and vegetables.  My reward from them for my healthy lifestyle is disdain and criticism.  I think everyone here says it best-just stop talking about it.  If a member of your family brings it up, cut them off at the pass and say that you aren’t going to discuss your health habits with them and that you’ll just have to agree to disagree.  Eventually, they back off.

    LW#2-Drop this jerk and move on.  I’m sorry you’ve been treated so poorly, but the easiest way to heal is to cease contact.

  18. avatar Briana Baran says:

    Re: L#1: We started taking a more careful approach to food some time ago, especially concerning processed foods, and the meat and fish we consume. I am very wary of preservatives, soy, sodium, high fructose corn syrup, saturated and trans fat, and MSG. Some of these things have an adverse affect on me due to medications that I take, and some are just terrible for your health. I also prefer free range raised, vegetarian fed, completely antibiotic and hormone free animal products…and I prefer that they be slaughtered by a halal or kosher butcher. We eat very little red meat, our main source of fat is olive oil, and we eat an enormous amount of whole grains and fresh vegetables.

    This has been a little difficult for certain family members to accept. My MIL has a certain degree of difficulty understanding why I won’t shop at Wally World for meat (just love those 10-20% solutions of…something…that might be present…and Tyson or Sanderson Farms chicken that is raised in chicken factories where the animals are so stressed that their beaks have to be removed to stop them from killing each other). My mother took years to accept the “Please, no metric tonnes” of candy at holidays (my sons have never been deprived…and they’ve also never had any cavities). I don’t discuss my eating habits with people unless they ask…and few do that anymore.
    I don’t see all of this as a big deal. I confess that I don’t have a naturopath…but I do use a lot of common sense when something is wrong with my family…and that doesn’t always mean a visit to the doctor’s office. I’ve always found flat ginger ale to be the best hydration solution for a fever and an upset stomach, flat 7-Up for the very young crowd…and grippe water (star anise steeped in boiling water, strained out, and the water sweetened with a tiny bit of raw sugar and diluted slightly) to be an excellent source of relief for colic, tummy aches, and general fussiness. And home-made chicken soup is full of strange goodness. All of these solutions came originally from wonderful practical doctors.

    LW1, stop discussing this with your family in such vivid detail. No offense to you and your lifestyle at all, but constantly firmly informing them of the small details of your (to them) extremely alternative methods, with references of alternative hydrating fluids (water? grippe water? what?), recommended by your naturopath (which probably sounds pretentious, and perhaps represents an unknown quantity to them and makes them feel as if you are talking down to them) is a little like a born-again fundamentalist repeatedly jamming their newly found dogma down the throats of their much less, mmm, devoted friends. Ease up. If you checked with your doctor…why not just tell them that? That the doctor said it was fine to give the baby water instead of Pedialyte (my kids loathed the stuff anyway) would suffice. No need to make your point every time. If they tell you that you are “depriving” your child, instead of going into proselytization mode, offer them an alternative. With my mom, it was small toys, or books, instead of candy.

    You cannot force people to see your vision. It is your child, and your life. You’ll gain some peace, I believe, if you come across as a little less strident, and soften your approach…but not your convictions. You catch far more flies with honey, especially the lovely, unfiltered, wild sort, than with vinegar.

  19. avatar Susan G says:

    LW#1. What you describe sounds like habitual fault finding, that is, you say green, the family will say blue. I definitely agree with Margo’s advice that you don’t owe them information and you needn’t defend anything. Furthermore, if you see this kind of automatic challenges continue around other subjects, it might be something you one day want to discuss with the offenders.

  20. avatar normadesmond says:

    as usual, margo was brilliant regarding broken hearted.