My mom’s ex-husband, my stepdad, is the only real dad I’ve known. She doesn’t want me to invite him to my wedding and says she won’t come if I do. I want her there, but honestly I’m sick of the ways she tries to control me. She doesn’t see that my stepdad has been more of a parent to me than she has. He knows about her demand but hasn’t said anything. Is there a good way to handle this situation?
Yes, if you’re ready to accept that blowback is inevitable. Here’s why: Acquiesce to your mom’s demand, and you’ll be pissed that she was the boss of your wedding. Invite your stepdad, and your mom will be pissed you didn’t obey her.
Either way, your stepdad gets the shaft. He’s the martyr who begs out of the wedding to keep things cool. Or he attends, but his joy is peppered with guilt over being the favorite parent. It’s enough to inspire a couple to elope!
Have you considered writing wedding vows and marrying yourself? Before you marry your partner and fully intertwine your lives, braid together your past, present and future selves.
Start by creating a quiet space for reflection. Keep a journal and pen nearby. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. In your mind’s eye, see the version of you that arises during interactions with your mother. (What age are you?) Bring her together with version of you who finds refuge in your stepdad’s support and love. (What feelings emerge?) Bind her to the adult you are now, the one who is mature enough to make choices she won’t regret. Write three vows to motivate you to behave as an equal when dealing with your parents. You can’t expect your mother to change. You do have the power to take back your life.
You may be disappointed if your mom misses your wedding. Even if you make choices you won’t regret, there’s no guarantee everyone will be happy. However, you will be able to look back and acknowledge the moment you became an adult. It also means embracing choices that honor your capacity for real love. After all, your mom is hammering an escape route. Your stepdad is present and available. Which one represents love to you?
One of my coworkers manipulated our other coworkers against me with half-truths, lies and deception. We all got along before, but now no one wants to talk to me. My anxiety is through the roof. I don’t know what to do. Please help.
Be kind to yourself. It hurts to be the target of lies, but avoid obsessing over why others would be so mean. Stay focused on what you know is true about you. People lash out, gossip and tear others down when they have not interrogated their own anger or managed their own anxiety.
If you feel centered enough, approach the person who started the gossip. In a compassionate, non-confrontational way share your side of the story and the pain the gossip is causing you. If that doesn’t help, contact your company’s human resources department or a supervisor and request an intervention.