I sat at lunch today with a good friend of mine. We both come from dysfunctional families, yet the difference between us seems to be that he’s managed to disentangle himself from the feelings of guilt, and I have not. Maybe it’s because he’s older, or maybe it’s because he’s a man that he’s able to do this more easily than I am. He clearly loves his mother, but he has consciously made a promise to himself to not give into her emotional manipulation. Why is that so much easier said than done?

My uncle e-mailed me when I told him what was going on with my parents. He said to me, you just need to say, “yeah, yeah, yeah” to all that nonsense because you know her accusations aren’t true, and recognize that they cannot and will not change their criticizing ways. The only thing you can do is to control the way you respond to it all. It seems to be a common piece of advice from both friends and professional sources, but it will clearly be an ongoing challenge.

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