Christina’s Tribulations Column / Daily Advice from Christina Halasz-Lane: And now it’s time to focus on interpretation- just; because.

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Hello Everybody,

Today I have a letter from Wilma Petruchi about how to interpret the things other people say.

She writes:

Dear Christina,

 

I was talking to my neighbor the other week about how to interpret things people say to me. You see, I am a writer, and communication is kind of a big deal to me. People are always laughing at me because I am a bit obtuse, and that makes me very sad. I try to be one of the cool kids, but I just get so mad when people make light of my family struggles. Because I am the sort to write angry reviews when I have a negative consumer experience, people say I’m not a lady. Why is it only OK for the literati to defend themselves?

It’s not like I tear down just anybody- only fresh, creepy film directors and people who put shoe polish in my face cream.

I am the sort of person who likes to act preventatively because an ounce of prevention is an ounce of- how did that go? Does anybody even remember? When people do things I find monstrous, I just ignore them. Does that make me rude? That’s how I stay happy and keep my good vibes going around me. The thing about prevention, is while you could be doing something destructive, it happens instead of that other thing so we can make headway. There’s only so much time and you have to pick your battles. It’s a form of momentum that calls for the prior cancellation of negative trajectories. Anyone remember what a trajectory was? That’s where you actually make money instead of just talking about it a lot.

 

Yours Truly,

Wilma Petruchi


 

Dear Ms.Petruchi,

I mulled this over, and it crossed my mind that you must talk to your doctor about your prescription because this writing of yours is erratic and hard to follow.

Sincerely,

Christina Halasz-Lane

 


Like what you see? Write me and maybe I’ll feature you in a future column. My email address is: lane_family@hotmail.com

[DISCLAIMER: *Names of persons and places are altered to protect confidentiality.]

Christina’s Tribulations Column / Daily Advice from Christina Halasz-Lane: Today we have a question about drawing boundaries with younger family members.

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Hello Everybody,

Today I have a letter from Huffy St.Clair about how to manage bossy young family members.

She writes:

Dear Christina,

I love kids. I always have. I even love my own kids, most of the time. They say it’s hard being a parent. I guess I should have heeded my mother’s warning all those years ago and got my tubes tied. It’s not that I regret having them, it’s just that they have grown disrespectful and I am a divorcee with half the income I had earlier in our marriage.

Problem is they have reached that age. What does one call it? We’ve all had the “Terrible Twos”- been there, done that. I am dealing with tween-aged offspring who are totally oblivious to their own lack of maturity. They back-seat drive, they cross things out on my to-do list, they change my vacation plans when I’m at work. They raid my fridge with their friends while I am out and eat all the bread, drink all the apple juice. They’re costing us a fortune, and they don’t pull in a living of their own. I can’t even get them to take CPR courses so they can babysit.

I’ve tried everything! I’ve cut their allowance, clothing budget, grounded them. Nothing helps. Do you think it’s time to bring them to see a shrink? I loathe to suggest it because there’s this horrible stigma attached to psychiatry, but I just can’t seem to get the upper hand in this relationship and it’s wearing me down!

 

Yours Truly,

Huffy St.Clair


Here is my answer:

Dear Ms.St.Claire,

In every relationship, there are good and bad times. You just happen to be going through a difficult phase in your kids’ development. Try to remember how you were at that age before you judge. Make sure you set aside time for heart-to-heart meetings to try and get to the bottom of their motivations. It is possible they seek negative attention because you are not providing them with any positive reinforcement. Not easy, however we all require this to feel appreciated.

On the home front, think ahead to reduce destructive and costly behavior. It is not your responsibility to feed the whole neighborhood on a limited budget. Pack your fridge full of healthy vegetable sticks and stop buying the cold cuts, juice and potato chips. Get a safe for your travel plans and other papers they might vandalize. Heck- lock your office behind closed doors if you have to, but draw those boundaries because if you fail to do so now, you’ll regret it for the rest of your days.

Make sure you also reserve a portion of your day for soul-searching so you can gain further insight to what’s missing in your relationship that caused the friction in the first place. You might find a little self-honesty goes a long way.

 

Sincerely,

Christina Halasz-Lane


Like what you see? Write me and maybe I’ll feature you in a future column. My email address is: lane_family@hotmail.com

[DISCLAIMER: *Names of persons and places are altered to protect confidentiality.]

Christina’s Tribulations Column / Daily Advice from Christina Halasz-Lane: Today we have a question about how to manage guilt and shame.

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Hello Everybody,

Today I have a letter from Marisa Fandango about the guilt and shame she carries due to hurt she caused her family.

She writes:

Dear Christina,

 

Thanks so much for providing us all a place to talk about things that, perhaps, certain restrictive social taboos might prevent us from bringing to light. I find it helps me to get through the day when I know there are others out there who are going through the same embarrassment and shame. These feelings are the sort we usually hide from everyone and only bring out in solitude to grieve over. You have a remarkable strength of character I can only dream of.

What’s on my mind is this- I have made selfish decisions that caused hurt and injury to my family and instead of making amends, I sink my heels in and continue to attack them through force of habit. I know I’m wrong, and they deserve better, but when I am cruel, I don’t have to share, so I keep lashing out and withholding affection. I’m afraid if I let them recover from past abuses, all the lies I spread about them will be painfully obvious to everyone I lied to about the dynamics of the relationship. The thought of getting out of their way and allowing them to recover physically, emotionally, psychologically from the depraved abuses I caused them, fills me with anguish because I am addicted to the power surge I get when they suffer. I feel guilt and shame about my selfishness, but it is overpowered by my immense need to succeed at their expense.

The question is this- how can I keep all the respectability and prestige while continuing to abuse them and live with the guilt and shame this causes me- it’s eating away at my health and their health is also deteriorating as a direct result of my actions. I feel like I am on a runaway train- sort of like long drawn out murder-suicide plot that’s consumed my very soul. I plan to use assisted suicide when my body falls apart and the doctors can no longer hold it together for me. I am putting money away for them so they can afford to buy graves alongside mine when they die prematurely from the grief I’ve caused them. How can I hold it together and maintain appearances until I am ready to take my lethal injection?

Yours Truly,

Marisa Fandango


Here is my answer:

Dear Ms.Fandango,

You’ve come this far without letting silly morals interfere with your lifestyle. I see no reason why you should allow yourself to be riddled with guilt and shame when clearly, you are the more intelligent of the group when you manage to live in comfort while they struggle. Guilt and shame are the byproducts of false religions that are obsolete in today’s society. Enjoy your life and let the losers eat dirt. It’s not your problem if you don’t worry about it.

 

Sincerely,

Christina Halasz-Lane


Like what you see? Write me and maybe I’ll feature you in a future column. My email address is: lane_family@hotmail.com

[DISCLAIMER: *Names of persons and places are altered to protect confidentiality.]

Christina’s Tribulations Column / Daily Advice from Christina Halasz-Lane: Today we have a question about conflicting loyalties.

chrisHello Everybody,

Sorry it’s been a while since I could write here. I would love this to be a regular gig, only I don’t have time to submit it to the newspapers, so I can only read your letters when I have a spare moment or two.

Today I have a letter from Stanley Porchenko about Oedipal issues.

She writes:

Dear Christina,

I recently married a lovely young woman with a pretty face, beautiful body, everything a man could want from a woman. Only problem is, my mother was my first love and I have trouble reaching out to my new wife because she just doesn’t measure up. My mother was never really there for me but she always said the right things and sometimes that’s easier to take than someone who’s on your side and telling you the truth. You know what I mean?

I try in earnest to suppress feelings of protective tenderness and loyalty towards my mother, but that’s just not there for my wife. I feel badly because she feels betrayed. My mother is spiteful towards her and I haven’t the strength to stand up to her. Any advice for how I can manage my latent case of Oedipus Complex?

 

Sincerely,

Stanley Porchenko


Here is my answer:

Dear Mr. Porchenko,

 

If flattery had a high sugar content, nobody would ever go in for psychological counseling. Same thing goes for your relationships. The people who actually care how healthy and successful you are will criticize, while those who flatter you are probably just trying to use you. It’s your choice how you play that hand. Some of us are shallow, and others are willing to make sacrifices for the people we love. If our parents never tell us right from wrong, then we have no clue how to succeed in adult life. We all make choices in the end, about our priorities and some of us put ourselves before everyone else, including our own kids. This issue is as old as the earth itself and you can’t change who you are to suit other people’s ideas of propriety. You must choose between your mother and your wife, or else you must live a lie, and risk alienating everyone. There’s not much more to say on the subject.

 

Sincerely,

Christina Halasz-Lane


Like what you see? Write me and maybe I’ll feature you in a future column. My email address is: lane_family@hotmail.com

[DISCLAIMER: *Names of persons and places are altered to protect confidentiality.]

Christina’s Tribulations Column / Daily Advice from Christina Halasz-Lane: Today we have a question about reading dating signals.

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Hello Everybody,

Today I have a letter from Harry Johnston about relationship issues.

He writes:

Dear Christina,

There’s this girl I met recently at work. She talks a lot and wasn’t shy to ask me my phone number. She seems to be going through a difficult time and she’s been very clear about boundaries. She said I wasn’t her type. Only we talk for hours on the phone and I feel like she’s leading me on. She’s not flirtatious or anything. We talk about things that are platonic.

I told her I found her attractive, and I guess I’m hoping she’ll change her mind. I’m not accustomed to having women as friends. Should I keep trying to be more than just friends? I’m already worried she’s ticked off that I gave her a radio for her birthday when I only knew her for a week. I don’t want to scare her off or anything.

Sincerely,

Harry Johnston


Here is my answer:

Dear Mr. Johnston,

If you spent most of your adult life treating women as conquests, it’s understandable that you might struggle with your comfort-level when a platonic relationship with the opposite gender presents itself.

If you feel you can’t manage yourself appropriately, it’s best to let her know before you alienate her, that you are too challenged to “just be friends”. You don’t want to lose what might be a valuable resource simply because you got your signals crossed.

If this is the case, try to limit your calls to her to once a week unless it’s something business-related, and otherwise be thankful you have one more friend in your life. It’s not like they’re a dime a dozen.

Sincerely,

Christina Halasz-Lane


Like what you see? Write me and maybe I’ll feature you in a future column. My email address is: lane_family@hotmail.com

[DISCLAIMER: *Names of persons and places are altered to protect confidentiality.]

Christina’s Tribulations Column / Daily Advice from Christina Halasz-Lane: Today we have a question about marital relationship dynamics.

chris

 

Hello Everybody,

Today I have a letter from Delia Fortuno about relationship issues.

She writes:

Dear Christina,

First of all, thanks for writing this column- everyone I know reads it with relish, and unlike other advice columnists, you’re not afraid to tell it like it is. I hope it becomes a daily thing for you and gets picked up by a newspaper because you just rock, girl. You should get paid to write this baby.

I’m writing you today is because I am living a horrible lie. I have to dress ultra-conservative for my work, but I am so not conservative in my lifestyle habits. I guess you could say I’m a “swinger”. I married a filthy rich man and his family would never have me if I didn’t pretend to be like them.

I enjoy intimate relationships with more than just my husband. In fact, I’ve slept with every man in his family and make a regular habit of sharing a bed with him and his brother. I have also slept with every male in his family, and my family too, come to mention it.

Let’s just say I keep very busy when I’m not on the job. (I’ve slept with my boss too, but that’s not really the issue here.) Thank God I can afford a cleaning lady because I would never have the energy to worry about that stuff or any other menial tasks, what with my private calendar. All these demanding men in my life keep me very, very busy.

I am sorry if this is starting to come off like a Harlequin Romance novel- I am very conscious about what other women think of me because I live in a very uptight neighborhood full of homely old biddies who have absolutely no clue how promiscuous I am. I can’t dress the way I’d like to because I would be tarred and feathered if all those wives found out about their husbands. (It’s funny- you know, I told all of them I own a string of brothels in another town, but they still don’t make the connection.)

My question is, how do I maintain this charade while I am falling apart at the seams because I am forced to put on airs every day with the people around me? I’ve been married to my husband for 5 years now and I still get nervous at the dinner table with his mother. I feel like she can see right through me. Those suits she makes me wear are suffocating my spirit.

I can’t see a therapist, because he or she might out me as a promiscuous woman. It’s a small town and people talk; they’re very judgy. However, I feel an overwhelming desire to talk to someone about my secret trampoline act because it’s so stressful living a double life. Where can I go to find reprieve from the pressure on my psyche without breaking a scandal that will hurt my husband and his family?

 

Sincerely,

Delia Fortuno


Here is my answer:

Dear Mrs. Fortuno,

I have to tell you I am the wrong woman to turn to in matters of promiscuity because I’ve always had weird hangups about other people’s body fluids and that sort of thing. I do weird things like use abstinence for birth control. However, I’ll try for diversity’s sake to put myself in your shoes because your way is quite common these days among married women. It’s been almost a century since society actively upheld chastity as a virtue.

Truthfully, it’s nobody’s business what you do in your private moments so long as it does not affect your work. Unless you find yourself bursting into tears in public, or trying to compensate for bad decisions by offering people sexual favors, you should be able to live as you see fit without too much angst.

If, however, as you say, the lines are increasingly blurred and you find yourself surrounded by those with divergent values, you might need to accept the fact that most women are somewhat possessive of their husbands. You’re not hiding who you are because you want to- you do it because you would otherwise fear for your safety, am I correct?

I can understand the incentive in this behavior- you let the men do as they please and you are materially rewarded, they take your side in every conflict and permit you to totally disregard other people’s feelings. The flip-side of this is that you risk alienating all the women in their lives if the truth were to come out. Honestly? I would try to move to a more swinging city with other people more like you so you can find people who will let you be yourself without judgment. Somewhere like Paris or Seattle, for example.

You might find you are happier if you leave your husband and take up work as a call girl or escort because then you can dress the way you like and you no longer have to wear those stuffy outfits. Just a suggestion- married life is not for everyone and chances are you can get your hands on a comfortable divorce settlement or even child support payments if there are children involved. These days, nobody bats an eyelid at women who work in the sex trade. Why live a lie when you can be true to yourself? There’s no insurance policy on happiness and nobody can tell you how to fix what ain’t broken, as they say.

Sincerely,

Christina Halasz-Lane


Like what you see? Write me and maybe I’ll feature you in a future column. My email address is: lane_family@hotmail.com

[DISCLAIMER: *Names of persons and places are altered to protect confidentiality.]

Christina’s Tribulations Column / Daily Advice from Christina Halasz-Lane: Today we have a question about parental leadership.

 

chris

 

Hello Everybody,

Today I have a letter from Sheena Easton about parental ethics.

She writes:

Dear Christina,

My kids hate my guts and there’s nothing I can do about it. When they were little, I used to rock them on my lap to soothe them, pass them a biscuit, just stick a pacifier in their mouths and that was that. As they got older, they grew more and more difficult to manage and now I find myself battling with them every day of my life.

I’m not using my real name here because I am terribly ashamed of myself, and I’ve been forced to do bad things so I could somehow manage to keep them under control. I don’t want them to find out what’s been passing in the name of respectable parenting because I would be shunned by all of society. I don’t want to air my dirty laundry in public, but sometimes you just have to get things off your chest so you can face tomorrow.

But I just have to confess to someone, and I no longer attend Catholic mass- you’re obviously a great mom- That’s why I’m writing you here today. Okay- here goes. I hope I don’t seem too cruel, you know I think it’s only normal for a mother to do whatever it takes to manage her family’s greed.

I’ve been drugging my kids every morning with household cleaning products to keep them weak so I will not have to fight with them about every little thing I do wrong as a mother. If I stay out all night binge-drinking with my orgy group, and forget to pack them lunch, I just put in a little extra so they don’t complain when they get a bag of chips and a can of coke to bring to school that day.

I am very mad at my daughter right now because I caught her reading the newspaper and we can’t have any of that literacy stuff happening in this house because next thing you know, she’ll realize there’s more to life than going in and out of a drug-induced stupor. She’ll make me buy her clothes and cook her meals and I can’t handle the responsibility.

I feel a little bit guilty, but thanks to Xanax, and my wine cellar, I get through without too much guilt. I know my behavior is the reason all my kids were junkies by the age of 12, and I hate myself for it, but this is the only way I can spend their portion of my estate on all those fancy restaurant meals, renovations and outfits.

I know you’ll understand- we do what we have to do these days to get by.

Yours Truly,

Sheena Easton


Here is my answer:

Dear Mrs. Easton,

In my estimation, you deserve a pat on the back for ingenuity, not criticism. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty, to develop techniques of controlling your children that lessen the amount of selfless discomfort you must suffer from their greed. It’s not your fault you have ovaries, after all. Why should you let society tell you how to raise your brood? They should just be thankful they weren’t aborted. In the Victorian Era, we had workhouses for people like that. Nobody bothered medicating themselves into a froth because they felt guilty. Kids worked for a living from the tender age of 5.

The next time you begin to feel guilty about how you treat them, remind them of the good old days. That’ll show them how generous you are. Kids like that would drive anyone to drink so it’s not your fault, is it. All cool moms drink alcohol, anyhow. You’re just trying to be hip and that’s what mothers do these days- why should you be the one to rock the boat?

 

Sincerely,

Christina Halasz-Lane


Like what you see? Write me and maybe I’ll feature you in a future column. My email address is: lane_family@hotmail.com

[DISCLAIMER: *Names of persons and places are altered to protect confidentiality.]