Dear Readers: The issue of dealing with a narcissist in the family struck a chord and prompted a number of letters offering insights and advice. Most were pretty disheartening because narcissists rarely change. Here are two interesting ones:
Dear Annie: This is a message to the sister in distress because of the abusive behavior of her sister-in-law. I speak as a registered nurse who has encountered similar situations.
Certainly, the difficult sister-in-law has trust and control issues, and she is manipulative. Many traits you described are clinically characteristic of a narcissistic personality disorder. Therapy is seldom successful in long-term change.
The key is the brother. He is the one who needs help and support. The reason is that long-term suppression of himself can lead to depression. This can even result in explosive anger — from repressed feelings and emasculating treatment by his wife over time. There are many red flags in this abusive home. — Serious Situation
Dear Serious: Thank you for your insights and suggestions. Let’s hope the brother can find help and courage from therapy.
Dear Annie: You missed an opportunity to teach about narcissism. This gal is asking how they can all figure out how to maneuver through the manipulation of this woman’s behavior.
In addition to all the pain that family members have to absorb because of the narcissist, they are all still trying to save the brother but allow the rest of the family to also take this punishment forever.
I have lived with narcissism in the family, and in two businesses, and it continues over a few future generations. We have tried many psychologists over a period of many years, but there is never any help for those who are in the narcissist’s lives.
The brother should divorce his narcissistic wife. I am old now, and I understand that the best opportunity to free oneself from the pain of a narcissistic spouse is to divorce them. It is never easy, but it can save his life. — Old and Been There
Dear Old and Been There: I hope there is a better solution for the brother and his wife, but thank you for offering your suggestion.
Dear Annie: This is in response to the person who was annoyed by a co-worker having gas and belching at work. This may well be a medical or dietary problem.
I had uncontrollable gas for years, and I did not get any help from doctors. I finally tried a gluten-free diet, and the gas stopped in a day. My sister had uncontrollable belching and found the same relief in a gluten-free diet.
If I had taken your advice to pass gas in the bathroom, then I would have had to work from there, as there was gas all day long every day. — Belching and Gas
Dear Belching and Gas: Thank you for sharing a remedy that worked so well. I hope it helps other people.
“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.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.
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