DEAR ABBY: My family is having problems with my brother's wife. They have been married about eight years, and my brother seems like a different person today.
Before marrying, "Eric" was a nice and compliant person. When the family got together on something, he would always participate. Our mother was particularly fond of Eric, as he would accompany her to concerts or church since my father did not like to go to these events. Eric never argued or spoke up to any of us, but now he has an opinion on everything and lets it be known. He used to always put his family first, but now he favors his wife and children.
Eric has told us that he has been seeing a counselor for a long time. He has invited all of us to join him, but we don't believe in that sort of thing. We all know Eric would have never started seeing a counselor if it weren't for his wife. Our parents are especially devastated that Eric has changed so much.
What can we do to stop his wife and get our old Eric back? -- HANK IN TACOMA, WASH.
DEAR HANK: There is nothing you can do. And please don't blame Eric's wife for the change in his personality. She could only encourage her husband to seek counseling. The rest was up to him.
Face it, Eric has slipped his chain. Perhaps he has taken to heart what he learned in counseling and is, in fact, doing very well. Once passive "people pleasers" learn to assert themselves, it's unlikely that they will go back to being the way they were. The rest of you will have to adjust.