Family and Friends Push Her Around

Dear Vicki: Family is very, very important to me, but I am having trouble with two cousins who appear to have an overwhelming need to control my life. They strongly suggest (almost demand) that I do things the way they do, according to what they think is right. I have friends that seem to act this way toward me, too. All I want is for everyone to get alone, especially in these difficult times, but they just keep suggesting and pushing for what they think I should do next. When I haven’t done what they suggest, it has caused family rifts and the breakup of friendships. The pushy people in my life also dont seem to feel the need to apologize for their actions, either, so it’s often up to me to make the first move, which doesn’t feel right. What can I do? Signed: Worried About My Relationships

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Dear Worried About Relationships: There will always be people who, coming from an honest desire to help, strongly suggest that they know what is right for another person. And at an elemental personality level, these people are usually primary Wood personalities. Wood people focus on the future, are great at assessing what might not be going well in the present, and are even better at coming up with plans to address the issue going forward.

You, on the other hand, just want people to get along to the degree that you are willing to make the first move even when you aren’t the problem. That strongly suggests that you are a primary Earth personality. Earth people value family and friendships, and they are often the ones willing to go the extra mile to keep the peace.

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Where They Meet Will Make a Difference

Dear Vicki: I’m in my mid-20s and live by myself in Manhattan where I work as a legal advocate for a refugee organization. My mother recently informed me that my cousin (her sister’s son who’s around my age) will be moving here to take a job as a trial attorney. Mom asked if I would help James find a place, get settled, and meet people. I understand that he is family, but since we were children, I’ve never really liked James. He always seemed like a wild, pushy, “my way or the highway” kind of guy. Looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed his company; he’s exhausting to be around. There’s no way out of it though, so do you have any recommendations regarding what I can do to stand him for however long it takes to get him settled? Signed: Cornered in Manhattan

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Dear Cornered: Ah, the things we are called to do in the name of family. I agree that you probably are stuck with helping your cousin get settled in the big city. And while you will probably never really enjoy James, there are ways to manage your interactions with him to make things less painful. That said, the first step is for you to understand why he exhausts you and rubs you the wrong way. Of course, I think it has everything to do with your elemental personalities.

It’s interesting that you and James are both attorneys. One might expect that a shared profession would make relating to each other easier, but given the type of law you each practice, I can understand why that hasn’t happened. You are radically different from each other and the way this has manifested in your career paths offers insight into your elemental personalities.

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