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My Friend Has Cancer

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 09 October 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

My dear friend found out a few months ago that she has cancer. In a few short months she has changed from a vibrant, feisty woman into a quiet, constantly complaining one.

When I visit her she spends the whole time telling me how hard her life now is, and how unfair it is that she has cancer. She nags her husband and barks out orders to him. She shows no interest in what is happening in my life at all. I try to entertain her with stories or offer to play cards with her, or take her out, but she does not want this.

I don’t know what to do. I feel I have to push myself to visit her, and that makes me feel very sad as we used to be so very close.

Patricia Marie says...

When the threat of severe illness affects a loved one, it isn't always easy for family or friends to know how to deal with the situation. It is perfectly understandable that you are finding it hard to talk to your friend about her feelings and concerns, but if you can allow her to speak about what's making her angry, expressing her feelings may help her to feel better understood. It could be she is feeling anxious and hopeless, causing her to be irritable. She could resent you speaking about a way of life she may no longer have. For now, let your friend lead the conversation, and in time hopefully she will be better able to share your news.

A cancer diagnosis can cause doubts and uncertainty, and the future could seem suddenly dark and unpredictable, which can be very frightening. Your friend's illness may cause her to feel she has lost control in her life. Empower her. Encourage her to decide what she thinks would make her situation more bearable. Perhaps you could both work together on accomplishing even the smallest realistic goals that could have a huge positive impact on the way she feels.

It is very important for you to receive the support and care you are needing at this time. I urge you to call the Macmillan Support Line whose devoted team can advise on ways to help and support those suffering from cancer. Their knowledge and experience will give you a greater understanding of this brutal disease, and enable you to be more empathic of your friend's emotions.

You may have to accept that your friend is unable to be as she was, but the most valuable thing you can do for her now is simply be there for her, no matter how low her mood. Do remember, caring for someone with cancer is a strain, but it can be intensely rewarding and make one feel proud of finding the strength, courage and kindness to help a sufferer going through possibly the toughest battle of their life. Through your compassion you may experience the true value of what's important in life…..both love and life itself.

Macmillan Cancer Support: 0808 808 0000 or macmillan.org.uk/

Birth notice

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 08 December 2014
birthnotice-176You might read this and think it is an extreme of what parenting is all about. How wrong. What next?

Let me enlighten you why I believe Mama and Papa Bogert are precisely the kind of mum and dad I would hope are the norm rather than the exception. Reason being, unconditional love and acceptance.

Parenting is a tough gig. There are no guarantees. And just when you start to feel comfortable and think you know your offspring, they surprise you…not always in a good way, or with something you might be completely unprepared for.

On so many levels giving birth to a daughter who rejects your expectations and challenges what society also presumes is acceptable behaviour can be a humdinger of a situation.

And yet Kai gets to grow up, learn, and discover life and the best in people through his parents.

“It is all very new to us. Kai told me a few days ago that he no longer wanted to live as a girl”, Mrs Bogert said.

“I need to show my son I support him 100 per cent and wanted to let the world know that”.

And she does it with grace and humour and a good dose of reality. “Tidy your room”.

Now that’s a mum who is a real parent.

My mother is an alcoholic and it's affecting us all

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 14 March 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

My mother is an alcoholic and it's affecting us all. I now live quite a distance away so only visit a couple of times a month. Mother is supposed to be caring for my dad as he is disabled. He has a carer but not at weekends now someone from social services has to come weekends as she forgets to give him his medication and cook for him.

The family have done so much to try to help her. My brother took her to the doctors who did liver tests and said she would die soon if she did not stop drinking. She refused to go back to Alcoholics Anonymous after two sessions. She says she is seeking help, but it's all lies. She has antidepressants but doesn't take them. She hides alcohol all over the house. If we throw it away she buys more. Bills are not getting paid. The grandchildren don't want to visit her as she is always intoxicated.

I am getting married soon and would love her to be at the wedding, but I know she will be drunk. My sister has advised me not to go out of my way to help, as she tried and it made her ill. How can I get my mother to stop drinking?

Patricia Marie says...

You ask the same question many family members of an alcohol dependent want the answer to, sadly, the reply is never simple. Alcoholism is a family disease - if one person is drinking to excess, everyone around them is affected. Alcoholics are often in denial, blaming circumstances or people around them for their addiction. They are unable to see how badly their destructive and hurtful behaviour affects those who love and want to help them.

Alcoholics Anonymous recommends 'detachment with love' - As your sister discovered, if you don't allow yourself to stand back a little it can affect your health. You have to accept you cant stop your mum from drinking, only she can choose to do this. If alcoholics are not ready for help, efforts by family and friends trying to force them to admit to the problem, usually causes more resentment, and its only when the consequences of their drinking becomes painful enough will they reach out for help.

Do remind your mother how much you love her, but you cannot help her if she is not willing to help herself, as it is destroying your life, and concerned that unless she gets professional help soon, she will cause lasting grief to all her family.

Whether she chooses to get help or not, do contact: The National Association for Children of Alcoholics, 0800 358 3456 (nacoa.org.uk) An excellent organisation offering tremendous support for people in your situation.


Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk 
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

Too demanding

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 17 January 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

I am lucky enough to have just moved into our dream home, it's everything we could have imagined and wished for. However, my feelings have changed dramatically I have just paid the first large mortgage payment. This has really stretched my budget, I am working around the clock to try and meet these demands unfortunately, this is not the only problem. My wife loves the new home and enjoys spending a lot of time at the gym getting very fit and showing off our new beautiful home to all our friends. She has become very demanding in the bedroom and I am worried that I cannot constantly satisfy her both financially and sexually as I am constantly tired.

Patricia Marie says...

The excitement of moving into your dream home has now been replaced with the reality of having to work hard to pay for it. Your need to please your wife is clearly putting you under intense pressure, and if your not careful your constant wanting to make her happy by working every hour, which you say is exhausting you, could turn to resentment. You don't mention if your wife works, but have given the impression she has much spare time, therefore, wondering if there is any way she could help contribute to the finances and eliminate some of your stress.

Instead of suppressing your feelings, you need to be opening up to your wife, telling her how you feel and hopefully she will be understanding, helpful and supportive. Remember, you are a partnership and she may be upset, even feel rejected that you have been isolating her from your worries. A successful marriage is not just about having good times but dealing with the difficulties life brings and bonding from such experiences. You say she has become demanding in the bedroom, this may be about her trying to get some attention from you, other than the obvious. If you and your wife can work together on how things can change to make life easier, your stress and anxiety will ease, your libido should return, then hopefully you can both get to enjoy your relationship in your well deserved home.


Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

His children are against us

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 01 November 2013
Dear Patricia Marie,

I am so delighted to have discovered that The Lady offer an agony aunt to help their followers. Could you please give me some help?

Recently I have been dating a man who is widowed with two children aged 31 and 35. We are getting on really well and are planning to travel the world together but his children are so against our relationship they have asked my friend to choose between me or them.

I am so distraught - I have a chance of personal happiness and I am fearful that it is all going to be destroyed by his selfish unthinking children.

Do you think I should just walk away and make life easier for him or should I pursue my chance of happiness and just consider my future?

Patricia Marie says...

You say you have only just met a widower, yet feel your chance of happiness is dependant on you travelling the world with him? You would be left distraught if this wasn't to happen?

There seems much pressure and expectancy not only on yourself, but on this gentleman to be responsible for your happiness.

You describe his children as selfish and unthinking. After the loss of their mother, their father is clearly very dear to them and yet in a short space of time you wanting to embark on a world trip with him must only intensify their loss and grief.

I'm wondering if you could consider things from their perspective. A meeting with these children, where you can all speak openly and discuss everyone's feelings may help.

Don't expect them to embrace you immediately, but if you are able to come to an understanding, this will be a good starting point for you all. I urge you to consider where your fear of his children destroying your happiness is coming from and would recommend embarking on some counselling sessions to explore this issue at a greater depth and enable you to hopefully find the happiness you are searching for and so deserve.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a qualified registered therapist in your area. www.bacp.co.uk



Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.



In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows

Email: patriciamarie@tenharleystreet.co.uk
Telephone number: 020 7467 8389

I want to retire

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 25 October 2013
Dear Patricia Marie

I have been reading The Lady for many years, in fact secured my present job through your classified column twenty years ago. Working for a professional lady in Mayfair as a housekeeper, seeing her babies grow up and flee the nest. I have shared the family's ups and downs and enjoyed many years of service. This job has been a way if life for me for so long now, I know it's going to be hard for me to come to terms with leaving, but I am determined to have some time for myself.

My problem is I now want to retire and have no idea how to approach my employer. I have dropped hints on many occasions which are always dismissed. I would really appreciate your help moving forward with this problem.


Partricia Marie says...

Congratulations on your many years of service in your post as housekeeper - a position secured through The Lady many years ago. What I'm finding interesting about your letter, is there appears to be a mutual denial between you and your employer.

You say you are dropping hints to her about wanting to retire to which she is not responding. You are not making your intentions clear, no more than your employer is not accepting what is being said, possibly because she doesn't want to accept the reality of the situation (just as you're struggling to come to terms with the ending of a job, that you say has become a huge part of your life for so long.)

If you can make a firm decision to deal with things in a positive manner, you can create a good ending to what has been a long and rewarding career. Unless you let your employer know how serious you are, you will be unable to move forward with this problem.

A meeting needs to be arranged and notice agreed. Perhaps you may suggest to your employer that you would like to be involved in helping her to find your replacement, this way she will feel more at ease knowing you will assist her in seeking the person best suited to the job. This process will also enable you to come to terms with the ending and create a better outcome for you both. You can then hopefully go off to enjoy your retirement with good memories.


Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.



In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows
Telephone number: 020 7467 8389

DOES NANNY ALWAYS KNOW BEST?

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
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on Monday, 12 August 2013
Nannies don’t have mind-reading superpowers. Well, maybe for little people under the age of three.

It's 10am and little Mr H is grumpy. Tired, hungry, sick or just plain naughty, sometimes it’s frustrating trying to work out why, and then have a solution.

Did he have a restless night? Wake up early? Fuss over breakfast? Is he testing boundaries? Revealing a stubborn streak?

There are a myriad of reasons for his puzzling behaviour and your nanny will probably be the only person with an explanation. Her relationship with your child is often as intimate as your own.

An ideal situation is one where nanny has your complete support and confidence that her decisions will be accepted by all. Maybe Mr H might have an issue, but it is his best interest that is everyone’s priority.

An initial interview is a great opportunity to discuss perspectives and philosophies. However, like any situation, feedback and regular communication can only benefit all involved.

Early days in any new job requires clarity and time. Also make sure you give any constructive criticism face to face – it can be really demoralising when someone is nice to your face and then an hour later you discover they weren’t happy.

And just like the consistency your nanny employs with your child, it is necessary to ensure it resonates all round. A child can easily and quickly take control of a situation. Dissension can lead to more difficult and louder behaviour. Not fun for anyone.

As Nanny V to a boisterous and ever challenging two year old boy, I am sure his mum was often perplexed by my choices. The decibels of his screeching would set off the neighbourhood canine community and anyone who has struggled through a similar exhibition of vocal prowess will know of the patience needed, and resulting exhaustion. Mine and his.

Sometimes, I would let his tantrums run their course, other times I took the opportunity to try to instil boundaries, but I always felt in charge of the situation. When the dust settled mum and I had quiet time for a cuppa and to review.

Because of the time your nanny spends with your child, more often than not you will need to heed her recommendations. You hired her for a reason, so defer to her on-hand experience. At the very least, allow her to provide context. Respect and cohesion are vital in any work environment, particularly within the intimacy of your home.



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