Harriette Cole: She should be happy about the breakup, but she’s drinking and skipping work

How can I keep her from going back to this toxic relationship?

TO HARRIETTE: My friend recently ended a toxic relationship, but instead of feeling liberated and free, she appears to be even more unhappy.

She was so consumed by the relationship that she doesn’t know what to do with herself now that it’s over.

She mopes around the house, talks about him all day and night, and appears to be trapped. She is inebriated and is not going to work. When she does leave, she claims to be distracted.

I’m concerned about her. I’ve tried everything to help her, but nothing seems to be working. My greatest fear is that she will end up returning to him.

Is there anything I can do to help her as a friend?

— Attempting to Assist

DEAR TRYING TO HELP: Some people believe they are addicted to bad relationships and are unable to break free. The energy is so powerful and enticing that it can feel like a drug. This could be how your friend feels. She appears to be caught up in his energy right now. She requires something to break the bond between her and this toxic relationship.

Encourage your pal to see a therapist. What she went through with her partner could have thrown her off balance. She needs to learn how to care for herself and love herself again apart from him.

It takes time, patience, and support to untangle from a tumultuous relationship. Professional assistance may provide her with the tools she requires to begin to notice a partner who is a better match for her rather than reverting to old patterns.

TO HARRIETTE: Every year, people remember 9/11 for both the terror of the day and the unity it brought to our country. I wasn’t born until after it happened, so I only know about it from books and my parents’ memories. I sometimes feel disconnected from the disaster’s impact.

I want to be respectful because my parents lost good friends in the World Trade Center. Normally, I just help them in whatever way they need. Is there anything else I should be doing?

— Post-9/11

DEAR POST-9/11: There is no manual for dealing with the aftermath of a disaster like 9/11. Even though it happened many years ago, its repercussions are still felt throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

On a personal level, you can look for ways to encourage peaceful engagement among people who do not necessarily share your viewpoints. Look for organizations that focus on connecting people from different generations, political ideologies, and backgrounds. I believe that learning to listen to each other and respect our similarities and differences will ultimately lead to peace. This is much more difficult to do than to say aloud.

Finding ways to coexist with respect, regardless of our beliefs, is a major goal. What you can do to honor the past and build the future is to take action in your own life to build relationships.

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