Be yourself and keep your mouth shut

Joey Garcia

I broke up with a guy after three years because he drank himself to sleep and couldn’t keep his eyes off other women. Afterward, he ran around our small town telling everyone that I was evil. I kept my mouth shut and head held high. However, I did tell a minister that my ex-fiancé was an alcoholic and needed help. I was worried about his children. The minister, a friend of my ex’s family, shut me up and said I was lying and needed counseling. After we broke up, my ex began dating someone else immediately. After two months, she left him, too. He had a meltdown and got a DUI. My problem is that his family and friends blame me! What should I do?

Keep being yourself: mouth shut, head held high. You know who is responsible for your ex’s DUI, and it isn’t the person you see when you look in the mirror. His family and friends may be invested in protecting him from being accountable, but you can hold yourself to a higher standard.

That doesn’t mean you should confront him about his behavior. Your relationship is over, and that’s a boundary worth respecting. Doing so protects your mental and emotional health.

The minister’s words to you were difficult to hear, but don’t obsess over them. Instead, ask yourself: Did the reverend really stop me from talking? Or did I feel that way because I wasn’t believed? You must remember that not everyone can trust what you say. Sometimes it is because you have not always told that person the truth; other times, it’s because your truth challenges their belief system. Then, again, people who lie to themselves will struggle with what they are told.

It’s also important to note that by suggesting counseling, the minister was letting you in on his limitations. He couldn’t help, so he directed you toward other possibilities. It’s good advice. Staying in a three-year relationship with an alcoholic means you are the perfect candidate for psychotherapy or Al-Anon—or both! So be generous. Recapture the energy you direct at your ex-fiancé (wondering if he is OK, etc.), and spend it on learning to take care of yourself.

My best friend’s husband offered to help a mutual friend of ours with a project. They met twice at coffee shops, and then he suggested that they meet at her house. Each time they do, he forgets things like his coat and has to return the next morning before work. He arrives before this woman is out of pajamas, and she says his behavior on these mornings seems odd. Is he is up to something?

Yes, retrieving his belongings. If your friend suspects that this man sees her disheveled-from-sleep self and is hot with desire for a wild affair, she can practice love. Here’s how: She can carefully check her home for his belongings before he leaves. Then, before he leaves, she should ask him if he has forgotten anything and say that she will drop it off with his wife if he has. If your friend is attracted to this man, she needs to remember that he is committed to another woman and a child. A grown-up would respect that commitment.

My 25-year-old stepbrother is a loser: lives with my folks, smokes pot all day, quits jobs after a month or two and begs money from our parents. They give it to him. I am living on my own, putting myself through college and get no help from them, even when I ask. They have always given him whatever he wanted; it’s so unfair.

You should celebrate. If your parents took better care of you, you would have ended up like your stepbrother.

Meditation of the week
“By amending our mistakes, we get wisdom. By defending our faults, we betray an unsound mind,” according to Chinese Zen master Hui Neng. What are you willing to forgive?

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