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Thursday, February 2,2012

Dear Dr. Happy,

By Dr. Bob Nozik, MD  
Dear Dr. Happy,

I am a 60 year old woman married for ten years to my second husband, Sam. He and I get along great; so, what’s my problem? I really don’t like Janet, his daughter. She is 35 and single. She is also, outspoken, ‘knows everything’ even though she has made a mess of her life through her poor choices. Of course, she blames everyone but herself for her failures and disappointments. What’s more, she sucks the energy out of every room she enters and infects everyone with her mood, which is usually bad. Not surprisingly, she isn’t very fond of me either. Still, Sam and Janet are very close and our mutual dislike weighs very heavily on Sam. I really can’t avoid her; she lives just ten minutes away. Dr. Happy, what should I do?


Dear Clueless,

Well, let’s look at what’s going on here. Your marriage is good but you and your husband’s daughter don’t get along. And, as the old saying goes: insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. You need a new approach, and I suggest that it come from a cocktail of three happiness principles: acceptance, compassion/kindness, and nonjudgment. At 35, Janet’s personality is pretty well set, so it is time for you to accept her as she is and stop judging her. And doing this will make all three of you feel better. Plus, I’d bet that as Janet feels less judged, she’ll respond by softening the rough edges of her personality. And, Clueless, even if she remains unchanged, your greater acceptance and compassion will make you fell happier and elevate your already good relationship with Sam.


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