Girl's old friends turn away when she returns to school
DEAR ABBY: My daughter has graduated from high school. She had been in a residential treatment program for depression the year and a half prior to returning to this school. Her old friends had promised to be there for her when she returned.
After she was back for three months, her friends stopped inviting her to things and even talked behind her back in a group chat that was started by a different group. The girls' moms knew some of this was going on and did nothing about it. It has been a difficult journey for my daughter as well as for me.
Now that the girls have all graduated, I'm wondering if I should contact any of them or their moms and ask what happened. It was painful for me to watch my daughter go through weekends when her "friends" were out at parties she wasn't invited to. It was heartbreaking when no one came to her holiday or birthday parties. I am wondering if asking the girls/moms for an explanation can help my daughter learn from it. Please let me know what you think.
— MAMA BEAR OUT WEST
DEAR MAMA BEAR: Your daughter has survived high school, and along with it the cruel treatment of the girls who promised to befriend her. For that, I congratulate her.
Teenagers can be so completely centered on themselves that the feelings of others do not exist for them. Also, girls in high school tend to form cliques. Add to that the fact that there is so much misunderstanding about mental illness — not only among teens but also adults — and I have a pretty good idea of what happened and so should you.
What life lesson do you think exploring this with the other parents will accomplish for your daughter? Your efforts would be better spent by continuing to emotionally support her and encouraging her to move forward with her life.
DEAR ABBY: My husband's family is full of people who drink too much and then act like fools, slurring their words, stumbling and vomiting. It happens at many gatherings, and it stresses me out.
They often pressure me to drink more and/or get drunk. Because I don't do it, I feel ostracized at these gatherings where I'm told I need to "loosen up" or "cheer up" by drinking more. No one else in my life thinks I'm uptight. I'm normally very sociable.
These days, I avoid those family gatherings as often as possible, but I'm afraid I'm courting more problems by not participating in family activities. My relationship with my husband is fantastic, and he understands and supports me, but I don't feel like his family does. I've tried to be frank with them, but the conversations don't seem to stick. I can't avoid my husband's family forever. What to do?
— IN THE MINORITY IN LOUISIANA
DEAR MINORITY: Because you have told your in-laws that being urged to drink makes you uncomfortable yet they persist, you are doing all you can short of cutting off all contact with them. Continue to limit the times you attend those family events, and when asked about your absence, continue to be frank about the reason. Then hope they are sober enough to get the message when you deliver it.
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