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Andrea Bonior: Not all’s well that ends

By Andrea BoniorBy Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: Ms. X and I were good work friends – ate lunch together and once in a while had coffee or went to a museum. She shared a lot about her life with me, but I never did. There’s something about her that I didn’t like, so after she left the job, I felt relief.

However, she started texting and calling me. I’ve ignored her, and I know I’m being rude. But doesn’t she get it? How do I cut her out of my life without hurting her feelings?

It’s not surprising that she doesn’t get it. She had no reason to assume that you didn’t want a relationship, since while you worked together, you, um, kept participating in a relationship.

As awkward as it might be, you owe it to her to be more direct. (“You’ve probably noticed I’ve been more distant lately. To be honest, my life has started to move in a different direction. I’ll always be wishing you well, even if we can’t have the relationship we used to.”) Many people find the idea of a “breakup” nerve-wracking, and – let’s face it – feelings still might be hurt. But I guarantee it’s classier, kinder and more likely to get results than continuing to ignore her.

Q: We are proud of our daughter. She is a wonderful person, wife, mom and worker. However, she has become morbidly obese. Her tween-aged children are also severely overweight. Recently, she revealed to us that she was sexually molested as a child by a neighbor. We implored her to get treatment, but she says that she has no time or resources, it would be selfish, and she doesn’t want to live a long life.

What can we do to help her heal and prevent our grandchildren from early health problems?

I’m so sorry. I can imagine your grief and worry. And I don’t get how treatment would be “selfish,” but her idea of not wanting to live a long life is cause for serious concern.

Right now, one thing you can do is legwork. Look for therapists who will work with her insurance and be able to work with her schedule. (Is an employee-assistance program a possibility?)

Keep nudging her toward help, keep listening, keep showing your love, and keep being a positive influence in your grandchildren’s lives.

If she still won’t go, seek counseling yourselves. This will be a lifelong effort – and you deserve support, too.

Andrea Bonior is a clinical psychologist and author of “The Friendship Fix.”
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