DEAR ABBY: I have had a chronic illness for 15 years. It has a myriad of symptoms that are very painful. While some of them are fleeting, others last for weeks.
My family is angry with me because they say I am not dependable. It seems like every conversation requires some sort of explanation or apology. My husband is supportive, so our household is calm and reassuring. He says I should stop communicating with these relatives because the negativity is depressing and demoralizing. How can I get them to accept me as I am? -- ANONYMOUS IN AMERICA
DEAR ANONYMOUS: You can't force people who have no empathy to have it. For whatever reason, it isn't in their DNA. You can, however, take care of yourself. If seeing or talking with your relatives leaves you feeling worse, it would make sense to follow your husband's advice.