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by Abigail Van Buren

Relative Wants to Stay Close, but Not Too Close, to Abusive Family

DEAR ABBY: I have several adult nieces and nephews whose dysfunctional upbringing makes them react in a very hostile and aggressive manner to anyone they perceive as disagreeing with them. They verbally abuse anyone they view as opposing them. They have so alienated their parent's new spouse that they are no longer welcome in that parent's home at any time, for any reason.

I would like to remain on semi-friendly terms with them, but I am unwilling to accept their verbal abuse. Is there any way this can be fixed? -- DISTANCING IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR DISTANCING: Unless your nieces and nephews are willing to accept that they have anger management issues that need addressing, this isn't a problem that anyone other than a licensed professional can fix. If one of them unleashes a tirade on you, calmly point out that you prefer not to be abused and end the conversation by absenting yourself. Do it once, and I guarantee the word will spread.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Abuse