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Tricky Triangles

Riki Goldstein

When two people only communicate through a less-than-willing third party, it’s detrimental for everyone. This technique, known as triangulation, eliminates discomfort, but relief is only temporary — there’s always a price to pay in hurt feelings and emotional damage. Family First’s panel of experts guide us through four triangles, showing us how to get rid of the unwelcome interference that blights so many family, work, and social relationships, and replace it with open, healthy communication.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shut Out   Nati: This whole situation drives me crazy. Sara is jealous like anything. What does she think — that I like being Mommy’s confidant? Believe me, I have plenty to think about without Mommy’s worries and all the nitty-gritty details of the chasunah. But if my mother’s lonely, and she wants to talk about stuff, what am I supposed to do? This whole business started a couple years back. Sara was away in camp, Mommy’s best friend was in the country, and Mommy’s boss wanted her to either take on more hours or quit. She arrived home pretty bent out of shape, and I was there. Of course, I made her coffee and defrosted some cake. And we talked. I guess me listening helped her sort it out. The next time something came up, she sought me out even though Sara was home already. After all, once I knew about her salary and her relationship with the boss, I guess I knew most things, so why not tell me more? We grew closer, and Mommy got into the habit of talking things over with me. Okay, within limits. But I could do without hearing about certain things in Mommy’s life. And without the embarrassing daily pickup from yeshivah — trust me, I’d rather walk myself home. And without my only sister freezing me out with resentment.   Sara: She’ll talk to me about gowns and sheva brachos outfits and Corelle dishware. About Egyptian cotton towels and sheitel cases. But when it comes to the actual chasunah, or, more important, my marriage, and how she’ll feel when I’m gone and how I’ll feel, nothing crosses Mommy’s lips. To me. She discusses all her worries with Nati, as usual. If ever there was a good kid brother, it’s Nati. He’s a year and a half younger than me, but he’s always seemed older. And Mommy always had this habit of telling him stuff. He gets to hear about her fears and concerns, all her deliberations — not me. But this is my wedding! My chuppah. My husband-to-be. Sometimes I feel like I’m just a boarder in this house.

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