Dear Annie: My cousin has had anger issues for years, especially toward our grandmother. A few years ago, her parents got divorced, and her dad immediately started dating another woman, with whom he now shares a house. My cousin has announced that she is cutting herself off from all family ties, and, when she turns 18 next year, she is planning on changing her last name.
She is consistently rude to our grandmother, who is just trying to show her love and affection during this hard time in her life. She also recklessly got a tattoo a few weeks ago. I’m worried that she is turning down a dangerous path in her life.
Is there anything I can do to keep my family together and help her through this trying time without having her turn on me, too? — Concerned Cousin
Dear Concerned Cousin: It is understandable that your cousin has anger issues. Her parents just got divorced, and now she is dealing with her father dating and living with another woman. She feels that she has no control over the situation so she wants to control something. That is why she is talking about changing her name, getting a tattoo and removing herself from the family.
The whole situation might be just too painful for her to deal with right now. As for being disrespectful to Grandma, well, that is because she is a safe space for your cousin’s fury. Your cousin is deflecting her anger from her father onto her grandma because she knows that grandma will always be there, loving her.
My advice is to encourage you to be a friend. Be as kind, loving and supportive as you possibly can while she is going through this. If she “turns on you,” know that it is temporary. If you continue to show her love and compassion, she will come around.
Dear Annie: In support of the woman who had only gained 29 pounds in 49 years, I, too, have a fitness story. Recently, I lost 25 pounds at age 66 by swimming a mile almost every day. It helped that we retired to Florida, where I have access to a pool year-round.
I have not changed my diet, but I do not overeat to make up for the extra exercise. Swimming is just part of my day, and I try not to miss a day.
When we went on a long cruise, I was concerned that I might gain the weight back, but I did not. I tried to exercise every day so I can only assume that I have increased my metabolism.
I feel great and am now back to my weight from high school. I never thought I would see those numbers on the scale again. — Still Slender 50 Years Later
Dear Still Slender: Congratulations on creating a healthful lifestyle, which has contributed to a healthy weight. Swimming is a wonderful sport and is great for your joints. Thank you for sharing your positive habits.
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