Volatile younger sister must reach out for help

Dear Abby: My younger sister, "Tanya," is 22 and a single mother. Her son is 2. She's pregnant again, and this time her baby will be a girl.

My sister is very dramatic and emotional. She gets angry easily and has a short fuse. She's great with her son, except he picks up on her drama and is somewhat dramatic himself. My worry is that girls are more likely to imitate that behavior, and I'm concerned my niece will be just like her mother. Although Tanya has a good heart, her emotional issues have caused her to have horrible relationships with men, as our mother did.

When I suggested to my sister that she talk to someone about her anger, she flipped out on me. We were both sexually abused as children. I have dealt with those issues and she has not. Was I rude to suggest she see someone about her emotional problems? – Just Trying To Help

Dear Trying To Help: Suggesting that Tanya discuss this with a professional wasn't rude; it was a loving thing to do. Your sister reacted defensively because she isn't ready to admit she needs help.

What you must do is hope that one day she will be receptive, but also accept that it may never happen. Not everyone is strong enough to face the fact that they need help or willing to reach out for it.

Dear Abby: How does a person quit being a quitter? At 46, I have realized that this is what I am. I have quit everything – church, jobs, school. If I don't like a friend, I just drop the person. The same goes for books, exercise – everything! How do you stop the lifelong habit of quitting? – Quitter in Charleston

Dear Charleston: I hate to see you give yourself a pejorative label. It's time to have yourself evaluated because it is possible you suffer from attention deficit disorder -- and if you do, there is help for it.

If that's not the case, then start small, give yourself a goal you CAN accomplish and don't stop until you have reached it. It doesn't have to be anything complicated, but see it through. Then give yourself another, more difficult assignment and finish it.

Perseverance is a skill that can be learned. Each time you succeed, you will reinforce the idea that you CAN do it. The more you do this, the better you will feel about yourself, and it will be reflected in your work and social relationships.

Dear Abby: I am a married woman with several single friends. They are always eager to do things with me, but married life is a lot different than being single. I'd love to connect these friends, who don't know each other. I realize making friends can be hard, and I'd love to help them in that way.

What would be the best way to do this? I don't have a lot of time to spend inviting everyone together and having them get to know each other. I'd like to do a quick introduction, then let them go have fun doing "single people" things. Is this possible? – Unifier in Pittsburgh

Dear Unifier: Absolutely. Call or email your friends and tell them there are people you want them to meet because you think they'd enjoy each other. Then arrange a group lunch at a convenient location and introduce them. After that, if the chemistry is right, they'll become friendly.

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.

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