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Ask Abbie: Do not be additional factor during tough times

Published 9:42am Tuesday, September 25, 2012

By Abbie Long

Question: My grandmother recently passed away after a long three-year battle with cancer.

She has three daughters, my mother being one.

Mom took care of my grandmother every day. Although they live nearby, my aunts rarely came to help or visit, yet they came to the funeral and cried their eyes out.

If they didn’t show up before she died, how could they have the nerve to show up at the funeral? I can’t stand to be around them or look at them.

I don’t know how to handle my anger and if I should confront them.

Answer: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, meaning whenever a certain amount of force is put upon an object, the object responds with an equal amount of force in the other direction.

Even though this is Newton’s Third Law of Motion, you must believe you have the power to change even the fundamentals of physics when it comes to your own reactions. Since you cannot control your aunts’ actions, you must become the stronger force and overcome anything your aunts put upon you with a much stronger and positive than equal reaction.

Never let science or another person dictate your spirit. Take personal responsibility for that assignment today.

Once you commit to becoming the stronger force and are unable to be negatively affected by your aunts’ actions, you will gain the needed peace and calmness to approach your situation from a less emotional yet more balanced perspective.

Even though you may initially think your aunts have no regrets or that they feel no remorse for the neglect of their mother, remember you can’t see in their hearts. Since they were only concerned enough to rarely visit their dying mother, they are the ones who forewent many potential blessings had they worked to develop the relationship rather than deconstruct it.

You and your mother, on the other hand, don’t have to live with the numerous regrets your aunts will face. What a blessing.

Please remember, this is not a time to put your emotions in front of your mother’s emotions. She just lost her mother, the person she dedicated her life to serve for the last three years.

Imagine how difficult this loss must be for her. The last thing she needs is to see you angry and upset for a mother hurts when she sees her daughter struggling.

Don’t be an additional factor to her hurting equation; decide to be a subtraction instead. With a positive attitude full of love and support, you can help turn your mother’s grieving process toward healing instead of advancing it further down the road marked “dead end.”

To help you develop the appropriate attitude for your mother’s sake, begin by adjusting your expectations of your aunts. The past is usually a great predictor of the future.

Think of how your aunts have acted in the past and grow to expect that type of action from them in the future. This will keep your frustrations down and also your disappointment.

Should your aunts happen to surpass your expectations, one day consider it a wonderful gift. If they never do you will have taken the necessary precautions to better protect your heart and emotions.

While working toward aligning your expectations, make sure you don’t put yourself into a situation of close proximity with your aunts until you are ready to bring peace and calmness with you.

Only when you have reached the point where your anger and frustrations have subsided ask yourself “What good would it really do to talk to my aunts?” With appropriately adjusted expectations, you will find confronting them to only stir up the dirt of the past, which has gradually come to settle on the bottom of the pot.

Perhaps one day, without your prompting, your aunts will bring you a strainer of apology and forgiveness to filter out the dirt. Then and only then will they exhibit a true sign of sincerity.

Do not force the issue for it will not be heartfelt and genuine.

Newton’s laws of motion have been defined as such for over nearly three centuries. Do you want your current distressed mechanics to remain the same for as long?

If not, begin redefining them today as “for every action put upon me I will become the stronger force, one with more grace, confidence and ability to wreak havoc upon any destructive force that cometh my way!”

Abbie Long is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to

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