He takes ev­ery­thing I say the wrong way

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - CROSSWORD | HOROSCOPES -

Some years ago a friend said I could rent his base­ment flat as I was strug­gling in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship. How­ever, he is a very anx­ious per­son who blames his over­bear­ing mother for his chronic anx­i­ety, so I have to walk on eggshells. Re­cently I up­set him when I said, ‘Thank good­ness for that,’ af­ter he told me he was re­cov­er­ing from de­pres­sion. Then, when I sug­gested that he should se­verely rep­ri­mand his so­lic­i­tor for not pro­gress­ing a con­veyanc­ing trans­ac­tion, he went into de­cline and took to his bed, say­ing that I had made him feel like a lit­tle boy again. He is 65! I want to tell him to grow up but un­der­stand that it might be the worst thing to say. I am un­der such pres­sure tip­toe­ing around him, but I re­ally can’t af­ford to move else­where. Per­haps say­ing ‘thank good­ness’ was a lit­tle in­sen­si­tive but, equally, it can be very frus­trat­ing and drain­ing to be around some­one who is con­stantly anx­ious and de­pressed. I sus­pect be­cause, sub­con­sciously, he as­so­ci­ated your words with his over­bear­ing mother, it brought back painful mem­o­ries. He could not han­dle it be­cause he has been so dam­aged. It’s dif­fi­cult but you have to tread care­fully be­cause if he feels that he is be­ing crit­i­cised in any way he is likely to re­lapse. You are right to say that telling him to grow up wouldn’t be a good idea, but you could gen­tly ex­plain to him that you don’t mean to up­set him and sug­gest that per­haps his past ex­pe­ri­ences make him feel that he is be­ing crit­i­cised when no crit­i­cism is in­tended. You can also en­cour­age him to get help – it’s never too late. He could con­tact Men­tal Health Ire­land (01 284 1166, men­tal­healthire­land.ie) or see his GP for a re­fer­ral to coun­selling. Try to make sure that you have an ac­tive and busy life of your own as well.

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