Ask Amy

Dear Amy: My fam­ily re­fuses to for­give my boyfriend for hit­ting me seven years ago. Af­ter this in­ci­dent we went our sep­a­rate ways, but af­ter a lot of work we slowly came back to­gether.

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

My boyfriend and I have now been to­gether for the last three years. He worked very hard to make changes and prove him­self to me, but my fam­ily re­fuses to budge.

We live a very happy life on our own and work very hard on our re­la­tion­ship, but when the hol­i­days and fam­ily events oc­cur, I am dragged back to that aw­ful place I was in seven years ago.

My fam­ily ex­cludes him from events. They are not will­ing to take any steps to move for­ward. They don’t un­der­stand when I try to ex­plain that by pun­ish­ing him through ex­clu­sion, they are drag­ging me back and keep­ing me in the role of vic­tim.

I am 53 years old and the old­est of three sis­ters. Ev­ery­one came to­gether while I was go­ing through open heart surgery, but as soon as I was back on my feet, my fam­ily went back to judg­ment and re­fus­ing to for­give.

My boyfriend sup­ports me in what­ever I de­cide to do, but I am get­ting tired of feel­ing like I have to leave my­self out­side the door when I at­tend fam­ily events with­out him. I miss my nieces and neph­ews, but my sis­ters do not want them as­so­ci­at­ing with me. How can I get this stale­mate to end? — No Vic­tim

Dear No Vic­tim: You prob­a­bly can’t get this stale­mate to end.

Your guy, how­ever, should cer­tainly try. You don’t men­tion that he has made any ef­fort at all to bridge this gap with your fam­ily, which, af­ter all, he cre­ated.

You make a pro­found point — that when your fam­ily con­tin­ues to ban­ish and pun­ish him, you are thrust back into the role of be­ing a vic­tim.

How­ever, you need to un­der­stand what a ter­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence it is to have a loved-one en­sconced in a vi­o­lent and abu­sive re­la­tion­ship. It is truly trau­matic for fam­ily mem­bers to be pulled through this par­tic­u­lar knot­hole. Of­ten there is a long pe­riod of es­ca­lat­ing abuse be­fore the fi­nal act — if that was the case with you and your guy, your fam­ily mem­bers would have had many rea­sons to de­spise his role in your life.

If he is back in your life as a full part­ner to you and if he truly wants to be sup­port­ive of you, then he should be brave enough to apol­o­gize for caus­ing you and your fam­ily mem­bers so much pain. He should apol­o­gize and ask for for­give­ness.

Dear Amy: I am very sad to con­firm that my clean­ing woman, who has been com­ing to my home for about 10 years, is tak­ing items from my home. I thought it was hap­pen­ing, but I didn’t want to ac­cuse her be­cause I wasn’t sure. How­ever, some­thing oc­curred that proved that I was right.

I asked her if she knew where she had put a spe­cific uten­sil. She said she didn’t see it and she wasn’t sure what it was. The fol­low­ing time, an­other uten­sil reap­peared that had dis­ap­peared a few weeks be­fore. I be­lieve this item is what she thought I was look­ing for. These things are in­ex­pen­sive, $10 to $25.

I re­ally like her and don’t want to lose her. Can you give me any sug­ges­tions so I can let her know not to keep tak­ing things and yet keep her clean­ing my house? — Perplexed

Dear Perplexed: You have al­ready let your cleaner know that you are aware of miss­ing items. If you are cer­tain she is pil­fer­ing, beyond this in­ci­dent, you should tell her, “I’m con­cerned that you are tak­ing these things home with you. Maybe this is hap­pen­ing ac­ci­den­tally, but it needs to stop. I re­ally like you and think you do a great job, but I also need to know that all of my be­long­ings will stay in the house.”

Dear Amy: I agree with “Dis­gusted,” who took you to task for say­ing par­ents shouldn’t spank their chil­dren. Spank­ing works, and you are an id­iot not to re­al­ize it. I as­sume you don’t have chil­dren, oth­er­wise you would know that your so-called “ad­vice” flies out the win­dow when you’re deal­ing with a bad kid. — Also Dis­gusted

Dear Also: I have five chil­dren, all now adults. Spank­ing doesn’t work. If it did, the peo­ple who al­ways ad­vo­cate for it wouldn’t be so an­gry all the time.

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