Ask Aviva: When feelings fester

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Dear Aviva,

I have both a friend and a relative with the same issue. If they have a problem with something that I’ve said or done, they will not call me out on it immediately and appropriately, instead they let it fester and brew and not mention anything about it. They may avoid me until one day, weeks later, something may trigger it and they blow.

Both these people have had hard lives, and I feel like they take things harder when someone wrongs them.
When they finally come out and say why they are upset, they end up standing there blubbering and crying and I feel absolutely no rachmanos for them. They should have said something before!
How can I avoid this or handle it better in the future?

-Irritated Irritant

Dear Irritated Irritant,

It seems to me like you’re pretty healthy if you are able to realize that letting things fester isn’t cool. But I hope you aren’t the type to let people know that you are upset without giving it enough thought. The sort of thoughts you should be having when someone wrongs you is, “Why does this bother me? What does it represent to me? What does it remind me of?” Then you should think about if it’s worth it to share it with the person, or let it go. If you decide to share, you then have to think about how you’ll tell the person in a way that they can hear it.

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