My father left my mother when I was an adolescent, and she remained bitter the rest of her life.
I always felt very awkward around boys, as I was the only child and she constantly put down anything that had to do with boys’ attitudes or mannerisms, saying they all grew up alike, to cheat and exploit women.
She discouraged my dating until I rebelled at 19, and then she was very negative about any guy I mentioned.
I’m now 31, and having serious trust issues with men. I’ve been proven right a couple of times, so I’m very suspicious of any man who tries to get close to me.
I’ve driven a few good men away.
Meanwhile, a guy I’ve known for years is showing that he likes me. He’s attractive, and decent, not at all disrespectful.
He’s not had a lot of girlfriends and seems very loyal to his friends and his family.
Yet I’m afraid to give him the chance he’s asking for, in case I ruin it by becoming suspicious and controlling as usual.
I could really fall for this guy. But how do I deal with my tendency to ruin relationships?
Separate your mother’s “story” from your own. Her failed marriage long ago has nothing to do with your current life.
You can’t possibly know their private dynamic back then.
You are your own person, in a different social and cultural environment than hers.
You can choose to NOT be suspicious, jealous, controlling.
You don’t need help identifying your mother’s misguided influence.
But you DO need help learning to separate reality in a person’s behaviour, from your anxiety-driven imagination.
Counselling can help you learn new ways to be open to a man’s caring for you and to build trust.
Give yourself a chance, and this guy, too.
I enjoy playing table-tennis at a nearby community centre, every day.
A particular ethnic group of middle-aged and senior people play there daily.
Most are nice, except for two men and a woman who are rude, obnoxious, and very mean to me.
I even stopped going there in their time period, for several months.
But I attended recently when the obnoxious lady and one idiotic man were there. They talked loudly about me - not nice things.
I was very upset, and angry.
In the past, I’d been very nice, kind, and considerate towards these two, especially the lady.
She’d then been one of my many English as a Second Language (ESL) students.
I like the rest of that group. I’d invited them to my house for lunch, one day, last year. They all came, even that woman. We all had a good time together.
I drove some of them home, including her.
What should I do?
Confused by Hostility
Since you have a history with this woman, be direct and ask her if you offended her in any way that you don’t realize.
It’s possible that there’s a language issue here – perhaps some misunderstanding that happened when you were teaching her.
If she doesn’t come up with a clear answer, you can ask a couple of people in her group with whom she’s friendly, if they know the reason for her rudeness to you.
If there’s an issue of her being embarrassed by something that happened between you in the classroom, which others saw, you’ll need to apologize.
Even if it was unintentional, to enjoy your recreation with this group, you need to clear the air.
Commentary “My husband and I were having Sunday brunch in an upscale hotel restaurant when a young family sat down near us.
“The daughter, about age six, put her stuffed animal on the table and the mother immediately started lecturing her:
“Put the stuffy on your seat, sit straight, look forward, stop pouting.”
“The child looked miserable, the mother tense, the father, and older sister uncomfortable.
“It was a standoff between mother and daughter that froze the atmosphere around them, where the mostly middle-aged patrons were trying to enjoy a pleasant weekend meal.
“When my husband got up to pay our bill, he gently manouevered his chair closer to the girl, and said, “Here’s a special seat for your animal to sit on.”
“The girl smiled shyly and moved the stuffy.
“It’s a shame when parents are so tense they can’t let up, especially in social settings, and put their children at ease – for everyone’s benefit.”
Tip of the day:
Don’t let a parent’s unhappy relationship limit your own chance at happiness.