Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - by Amy Dickinson

Dear Amy: I have a former friend, “Deb­bie.” Our friend­ship ended due to her con­stant crit­i­cism, gos­sip­ing, back­stab­bing and pas­sive-ag­gres­sive be­hav­ior to­ward my

fam­ily. She does this to ev­ery­one, not just us.

Over the years, Deb­bie was very crit­i­cal (be­hind our backs) of us home­school­ing our daugh­ters and our fam­ily hobby of play­ing mu­sic. So when we hosted an elab­o­rate home­school grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony, con­cert and party for my daugh­ters a few years ago, we did not in­vite her, think­ing that she would not be in­ter­ested, since she dis­ap­proved of our home­school­ing and my daugh­ters’ mu­si­cal per­for­mances.

When Deb­bie heard about our grad­u­a­tion party, she sent each of my daugh­ters a check for $100 (money is no ob­sta­cle to her) as grad­u­a­tion gifts. Af­ter we re­ceived the checks, we felt that we had to send her an in­vi­ta­tion, but we later re­gret­ted this when she wrote a nasty let­ter crit­i­ciz­ing our daugh­ters’ mu­sic per­for­mances and cir­cu­lated it among our friends (a friend gave us a copy of the let­ter).

Now one of my daugh­ters is about to get en­gaged. We don’t want to in­vite her to the wed­ding, but we are afraid that she will do the same thing she did re­gard­ing the grad­u­a­tion party, that is, send an ex­pen­sive gift in or­der to force us to send her an in­vi­ta­tion. She might even go so far as to in­vite her­self to a wed­ding shower hosted by another mu­tual friend,.

So my ques­tion is, how do my daugh­ter and I han­dle it if she tries to force an in­vi­ta­tion to my daugh­ter’s wed­ding by send­ing a gift or co-host­ing a shower? Are we ob­li­gated to send her an in­vi­ta­tion if she sends a gift and/or hosts a wed­ding shower with­out our ask­ing? — Won­der­ing

Dear Won­der­ing: If send­ing a gift guar­an­teed a wed­ding in­vi­ta­tion, then those pot hold­ers I sent to Kate and Prince Wil­liam would have yielded a trip to Buck­ing­ham Palace. The only nec­es­sary re­sponse to a gift is a writ­ten “thank you.” You sound afraid of this so­cial viper. So prac­tice say­ing “no” in the mir­ror. She wants to host a wed­ding shower? “No thank you.” If she co-hosts a shower with a friend of yours, you need only thank her for her trou­ble. If she an­gles for a wed­ding in­vi­ta­tion (why would she, since there is likely go­ing to be mu­sic), just tell her, “No. We won’t be invit­ing you.”

Dear Amy: I’m a 25-year-old woman. My fi­ance of nearly three years re­cently broke up with me be­cause of my mood swings and out­bursts linked to my de­pres­sion.

I have had bouts of de­pres­sion since high school, but they went un­treated. My episodes in­creased while my fi­ance and I faced in­creas­ing fi­nan­cial prob­lems and un­em­ploy­ment. Then my de­pres­sion reached a break­ing point when we had to move in with my par­ents and I faced another long pe­riod of un­em­ploy­ment. Things got so bad that I started to lash out at him, even though I was not an­gry at him and never meant to cause him pain. Af­ter the breakup, I fi­nally man­aged to get help. I am cur­rently un­der­go­ing ther­apy and tak­ing an­tide­pres­sants, and I have a di­ag­no­sis. I re­al­ize just how badly I treated the man I loved.

Now that we’ve bro­ken up, he barely wants to talk to me. I have hopes of get­ting another chance with him af­ter com­plet­ing more ther­apy, be­cause I still love him.

How do I tell him of my di­ag­no­sis and apol­o­gize for my be­hav­ior dur­ing those tur­bu­lent months with­out mak­ing it seem like an ex­cuse? — De­pressed, Now Bro­ken

Dear De­pressed: You should write to your ex and ex­plain your sit­u­a­tion, dis­close your di­ag­no­sis and de­scribe your treat­ment. Apol­o­gize for your be­hav­ior that caused him pain. This is not an ex­cuse, but an ex­pla­na­tion.

Please don’t do this ex­pect­ing him to come back. Do this to com­plete the cir­cle and as part of your re­cov­ery. Stick with your treat­ment and ther­apy, and do your best to get a fresh start.

Dear Amy: “Sad” told a story about her fa­ther promis­ing her large sums of money and never de­liv­er­ing it.

I was so glad you cau­tioned her to stay away from him and his wal­let. My fa­ther did the same thing to me, and his “riches” turned out to be com­plete fic­tion. — Taken In

Dear Taken In: Talk is (def­i­nitely) cheap.

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