I have a long-time friend whom I've grown to resent. He's a manipulator, constantly twists the truth, and has a poor work ethic.
However, no matter his faults, everybody around us (including me at times) looks past this.
He's treated me badly in the past few years but has always managed to make me feel like I'm over-reacting.
I've had enough.
He's poorly educated yet was able to land a great job. He has a poor work ethic, but he just landed a huge promotion with a substantial pay increase. He cheats on his fiancée but gets away with it.
I work hard, have a graduate degree, and treat people well, yet I don't get the same breaks.
Is this jealousy or should I truly distance myself from this person?
It might cause some discord within our social group but I'm willing to take this chance.
- Fed Up
Back away - your natural resentment is souring your whole outlook.
Yes, you sound jealous, even though you dislike this guy for his negative qualities.
There will always be people who get ahead by their own means, which aren't the ones you want to use. There are users and takers, and if you find yourself envying them, you're on the edge of a slippery slope by which you could follow their bad example.
Drop him, and tell your other friends that you find his poor example not only distasteful but a bad example you want to avoid.
Being selective in your associations is part of making sure your other choices are also the best you want for yourself.
My friend is in her 40s, married with three children under 15; her husband is a medical doctor and family therapist.
My friend is quiet, gentle and submissive; her husband is smart and domineering.
When one of their children was severely ill, my friend suffered depression.
Her husband wasn't helpful and even ridiculed her publicly.
Another of their children has a personality disorder and often hits her; their teenager is rebellious.
My friend doesn't know how to discipline the kids.
Her husband told her to read some of his books/notes.
She's on the verge of a breakdown.
How do I refer her for professional help?
I feel that she's being abused emotionally. She can't share her problems with other people for fear of "tainting" her husband's name.
- Worried for Friend
Your concern and caring are hugely important.
Your friend should seek a professional therapist.
She should decide whether she wants to see a pastoral counsellor from her faith, her own doctor, an individual therapist or someone in a town or community not too distant.
She can also discuss the teenager's behaviour with the school guidance counsellor; as well as whoever is treating the child with the personality disorder, as he/she could also be a resource.
But it's her depression and lack of self-confidence that's holding her back from making these contacts, so you can be helpful through encouraging her, doing research to help her find the right person and if possible, helping her get to her first couple of appointments.
I've been dating a supportive, loving man for a year but he still works at the same place as his ex-wife, and she still contacts him for advice.
After he told her about me, the calls became more frequent.
I think she realizes after four years apart that she made a mistake.
What should I do?
He says he loves me and wants to build a future with me.
Due to my past marriage which was controlling and mentally abusive, I find myself jealous and having trouble trusting him.
I do love him and we both agreed to have an open, communicative relationship.
- Confused in Limbo
Be communicative and open. Tell him you feel jealous and insecure because of his ex's change in her frequency of contact.
You need him to set limits with her now, so she doesn't intrude further into your relationship.
He has to tell her that she needs to find another "go-to person" person for advice, as he's not part of her life anymore. He doesn't have to be mean - just make it clear he's got a boundary around you and himself as a committed couple that she can't cross.
Meanwhile, don't drag your old baggage into this relationship; this man is not the same as the other, so don't treat him as if he is.
Tip of the day:
Since you're judged by the company you choose, judge yourself accordingly.