Tantrums a cry for help

The Niagara Falls Review - - Arts & Life - DEAR EL­LIE

Q. When my fi­ancé and I got en­gaged, our fam­i­lies were happy, ex­cept for my fi­ancé’s sis­ter.

He had ear­lier con­fided he loved his younger sis­ter, 23, but she was spoiled and never held ac­count­able for her ac­tions.

They weren’t close. I soon saw all this for my­self.

His sis­ter chose not to come to our en­gage­ment party as so­cial in­ter­ac­tions al­legedly trig­ger her anx­i­ety.

I suf­fer from anx­i­ety so I un­der­stood. How­ever, she never of­fered con­grat­u­la­tions but spoke in­stead about how her older brother get­ting mar­ried is also a trig­ger for her.

My fi­ancé chose my brother as a grooms­man as they’re close.

We chose to not in­clude his sis­ter as my fi­ancé fig­ured it’d be a trig­ger and she has a rep­u­ta­tion for “tantrums” when things aren’t about her.

She does get monthly men­tal health coun­selling and has med­i­ca­tion for anx­i­ety.

I felt badly, but he said it’d be the best de­ci­sion.

When his sis­ter and mother learned she’d be ex­cluded, my fu­ture mother-in-law froze me out.

His sis­ter spent Christ­mas (at my fam­ily home with all my fam­ily present) cry­ing and claim­ing abuse and ne­glect.

She spent two days be­rat­ing my fi­ancé — even bring­ing up past girl­friends.

She also told a cousin’s wid­owed fi­ancée that it’d be too hard for her to at­tend his fu­neral.

For ev­ery planned get-to­gether, she feels the need to dis­cuss how this is hard for her.

My fu­ture MIL doesn’t feel it’s fair that my fam­ily’s rep­re­sented at the wed­ding more than his, and that his sis­ter is be­ing left out.

She will likely have a big tantrum at the wed­ding, cre­at­ing a riff be­tween my fam­ily and theirs, as well as be­tween my fi­ancé and my­self. How do I han­dle this?

A. His sis­ter’s re­ac­tions are part of an on­go­ing men­tal health is­sue, more sig­nif­i­cant than a po­ten­tial one-day wed­ding drama.

Your fi­ancé, his sis­ter, and now both your fam­i­lies, know this young woman has real anx­i­ety is­sues and yes, “trig­gers,” too.

Her brother can’t ex­pect to ex­clude her from ev­ery im­por­tant oc­ca­sion which will arise over the next years — the wed­ding, your first child, mov­ing to a new home, etc.

She needs fam­ily sup­port, start­ing with a men­tal health spe­cial­ist’s plan for in­creased at­ten­tion with close study of her med­i­ca­tion regime.

Her tantrums, upset­ting to oth­ers, are nev­er­the­less a cry for help and un­der­stand­ing.

She’ll be part of his and your im­me­di­ate fam­ily through­out your years to­gether.

You right­fully felt badly about his de­ci­sion and have ex­pe­ri­enced anx­i­ety your­self which, you can be grate­ful, has been man­age­able.

The wed­ding is one day and will be full of hap­pi­ness.

Raise your em­pa­thy level about her life. You two need a bet­ter way of deal­ing with her pres­ence and be­hav­iour than his just de­cid­ing when she can be ex­cluded.

I grew up next door to chil­dren my age whose un­mar­ried aunt had phys­i­cal and men­tal health prob­lems but was in­cluded in ev­ery­thing they did.

We all learned com­pas­sion through her. To­day’s ad­vances stress not iso­lat­ing those with men­tal health prob­lems.

In­clude her in the wed­ding, in what­ever she thinks she can han­dle.

No sec­ond dates

Feed­back: Re­gard­ing a woman who lamented that no one ever called her for a sec­ond date.

“She said that she asked ques­tions dur­ing her first in-per­son meet­ings with men.

“She likely doesn’t re­al­ize that ques­tions can ap­pear as (and of­ten are) cross-ex­am­i­na­tions of mate-wor­thi­ness.

“Who’d want a sec­ond date af­ter that? “She should scale back her first-date ex­pec­ta­tions to sim­ple, pleas­ant, so­cial in­ter­ac­tions.”

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