Hus­band is nice to hurt­ful neigh­bour Dear An­nie

Sherbrooke Record - - CLASSIFIED -


Dear An­nie: I am an ac­tive mem­ber of my small com­mu­nity and have served on many boards, in­clud­ing as an elected of­fi­cial. There are a few com­mu­nity mem­bers who have taken their dif­fer­ent views on city pri­or­i­ties to a per­sonal level, and that has set up the un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion of see­ing each other at our children’s events and places such as the gro­cery.

One per­son, a neigh­bour of mine, pub­licly called me names that ref­er­enced my looks and ac­tively spread in­ac­cu­rate and toxic in­for­ma­tion about me. My hus­band had to call him over a neigh­bour­hood is­sue, and this neigh­bour dis­par­aged me, think­ing my hus­band was some­one else. The con­fu­sion was quickly sorted out, but noth­ing was ever said about the per­sonal at­tack on me. My hus­band did not want to con­front the neigh­bour, and al­though I wish he would have made a state­ment of sup­port for me, I sup­ported his de­ci­sion.

I was able to keep the hurt­ful be­hav­ior di­rected at me com­part­men­tal­ized un­til my hus­band dis­re­garded my re­quest of lim­ited con­tact with the neigh­bour.

A suc­cess­ful wa­ter­melon patch pro­vided the op­por­tu­nity to share our bounty with neigh­bours. I asked my hus­band to share the lim­ited mel­ons with our friends in­stead of the hurt­ful neigh­bour, as there were not enough for ev­ery­one. My hus­band ig­nored my di­rect re­quest and de­liv­ered a melon to this man with a smile.

The fact that I have been be­trayed and my feel­ings are be­ing dis­missed is dom­i­nat­ing my thoughts and im­pact­ing our mar­riage. My hus­band is de­fen­sive any­time I try to bring up the is­sue. Please help this 30-year mar­riage nav­i­gate this. — Go­ing Through a Rough Patch

Dear Go­ing Through a Rough Patch: It is bad pol­i­tics — but very com­mon these days — when is­sues de­volve into per­sonal at­tacks.

You could just as eas­ily have de­fended your­self to your neigh­bour, and you should feel free to do so — po­litely. But the real is­sue is your hus­band and his lack of sup­port for you. It is not so much that he gave your neigh­bour a melon (a nice thing to do); it is that this was the man who at­tacked you per­son­ally.

Tell your hus­band how you feel. Ask him why he would give a man who was so hurt­ful to his wife a melon with a smile. It could be that he re­sents your in­volve­ment with pol­i­tics or that he hates con­flict and sim­ply wants to be a good neigh­bour. Only he can tell you the an­swer.

Dear An­nie: This is in re­sponse to the let­ters from “Shy” and “Forever Grate­ful.” Bystanders who step up and do some­thing in re­sponse to see­ing some­one be­ing bul­lied are called up­standers. Peo­ple who don’t feel com­fort­able stand­ing up to bul­lies or even reach­ing out to bul­lied peo­ple be­cause they’re shy can go to a trusted adult and ex­plain that they have ob­served bul­ly­ing and are con­cerned for the per­son who is be­ing tar­geted. Tip­ping off a teacher or aide en­ables some­one in charge to ob­serve the bul­ly­ing and in­ter­vene. Most school per­son­nel have re­ceived some train­ing around the is­sue of bul­ly­ing and are aware of how sub­tle bul­ly­ing can be. They are likely to re­spond when an up­stander ap­proaches them. — Pro­fes­sor of Health Ed­u­ca­tion

Dear Pro­fes­sor: I hadn’t heard the term “up­standers” be­fore; what a great turn of phrase and a great idea. Thanks for shar­ing your pro­fes­sional ex­per­tise.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a pa­per­back and e-book. Visit http://www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­nie@cre­

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