As to “Grandma,” your son’s emotional health must take precedence over hers. I seriously doubt she’ll kill herself if she doesn’t have your son to make miserable, so don’t feel guilty about it.
Dear Abby: I was on a bus yesterday, and a woman seated near me complained about how long the trip was taking for so long and so loudly that I ended up “catching” her negative energy. Because I couldn’t find a nice way to shut her up, I finally put on earphones and turned on my music.
When there is a toxic person in a public place, what is the best way to get them to stop spewing their hateful sewage onto everyone else?
Allison In Brooklyn
Dear Allison: The most obvious way would be to put physical distance between you and the person, if that’s possible. If it isn’t, then the way you handled it was appropriate. In the interest of safety, I would not recommend confronting a possibly emotionally disturbed individual.
Dear Abby: My wife and I are retired and financially secure. Our three adult children shower us with costly gifts on Christmas, birthdays, and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Most of them end up on our closet shelves.
How can we tell them that what we would really prefer is just a kind, handwritten (not store-bought) note with possibly a recent picture of them or our grandchildren enclosed?
Dad Who Has It All
Dear Dad: Why not say it the same way you expressed it to me? You are financially secure. Your closets are filled. You don’t have room for any more “things,” and this is the kind of gift you would prefer. If they disregard your wishes and give you more gifts you can’t use, you can always donate them to a needy family.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.