DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend “Molly” and I were both injured in an accident, and her family is blaming me. Molly and I are both college seniors. A little while back, we were driving to school in the middle of the day when we were rear-ended by a drunk driver. It was a scary accident, to say the least. Molly sustained a concussion and two broken ribs. She got the worst of it. My injuries were much milder. Obviously, I felt terrible that she had been hurt so badly while I was driving.
Her family has not spoken to me since the accident. Molly told me that they are “too upset to speak.” To me, this means that they blame me for what occurred, at least partially. I’m so hurt that they would think that I did anything to put my friend in harm's way. The driver was arrested right then and there, so that should tell them who was in the wrong. How do I handle this? -- Misplaced Anger
DEAR MISPLACED ANGER: It may take more time before your friend’s parents come to terms with what happened to their child. They are upset because Molly was badly injured. Their anger is currently all-inclusive; it’s not necessarily rational, but it’s real, nonetheless. As hard as it may seem, you need to accept their state for what it is: grief over their child’s injury. You must also remember that it wasn’t your fault. Drunk driving accidents are among the worst. Thank God you are both alive!
For now, have compassion for them. You can send them a note expressing your thoughts and prayers for Molly’s full recovery. You can continue to talk to her to ensure that she is all right, and you can pay attention to what happens to the perpetrator. Follow up to make sure they are charged with and convicted of their crime.