As­trol­ogy, su­per­sti­tions and vi­sion boards

Woman con­cerned her friend seems less in­tel­li­gent than she is

The Hamilton Spectator - - LIVING - ANDREA BONIOR

Q: A good friend is hog-wild into as­trol­ogy, su­per­sti­tions, the idea that if you vi­su­al­ize things hard enough you can make them hap­pen, etc. It makes her seem less in­tel­li­gent than she is, and I cringe when she is in larger groups talk­ing about these things. For in­stance, she sin­cerely be­lieves that our per­son­al­i­ties are com­pletely dic­tated by when we were born, and it’s among the first things she asks when she meets some­one new. I get em­bar­rassed for her (or maybe of her?) when she is like this around oth­ers.

A: I can un­der­stand how cringe­wor­thy this is — maybe it’s the Sagittarius in me — but you’re tak­ing on too much men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity for how your friend ap­pears to oth­ers. Sure, if she was your wife, favourite pro­fes­sor or spir­i­tual ad­viser, then her world­view would re­flect some­thing more sig­nif­i­cant about who you are as a per­son. But as it is, she’s just a friend whom you’ve em­braced for her other qual­i­ties, and you need not be de­fined by any given set of her be­liefs; it’s not like she’s per­form­ing an­i­mal sac­ri­fice.

We tend to for­get how di­ver­sity of view­points can be an as­set in friend­ships, not a prob­lem. And as for wor­ry­ing about what judg­ments peo­ple might make of her, she’s a grown-up and this is who she is. So, no need to co-sign on her ad­vice about vi­su­al­iz­ing wads of cash, but no need to go out of your way to dis­tance your­self or try to cen­sor her ei­ther. Let her be, and ev­ery­one is free to make up their own minds.

Q: I am look­ing to move away from a con­trol­ling re­la­tion­ship in the most seam­less way pos­si­ble. I know I need to leave but I am un­sure about how to ac­tu­ally make this hap­pen, how to move on with­out hurting any­one.

A: Good for you. Of course you don’t want to hurt “any­one,” but the most im­por­tant thing I can do in this space is con­vince you that it’s you that you should be most con­cerned with. I am not sure where you are in this process lo­gis­ti­cally, or how much phys­i­cal help you may need, but it is so im­por­tant for you to keep mov­ing for­ward.

You will likely have sec­ond thoughts, fear, guilt and sad­ness — all nat­u­ral re­ac­tions — but don’t let them keep you stuck. Most peo­ple in con­trol­ling re­la­tion­ships have got­ten all too used to wor­ry­ing about the well-be­ing of oth­ers at the ex­pense of their own selves. So, en­list a sup­port team that will con­sis­tently help you give your­self per­mis­sion to put your own well-be­ing first. Friends, fam­ily, co-work­ers, a ther­a­pist — the more solid, hon­est and trust­wor­thy the con­nec­tions, the bet­ter. Ad­di­tional help can be found at the­hot­line.org.

NEVARPP, GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

A good friend is hog-wild into as­trol­ogy, su­per­sti­tions, the idea that if you vi­su­al­ize things hard enough you can make them hap­pen, etc. It makes her seem less in­tel­li­gent than she is, and I cringe when she is in larger groups talk­ing about these things.

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