Q: Once again I find myself depressed. My cousin and his wife did not invite me to their son’s wedding. What is it with their brains that makes them exclude me, and what is it with my brain that I let it bother me?

A. My guess is that your situation is fairly common in families. It certainly is in mine. I have no idea what is with their brains. Perhaps they do not value “family” in the way your brain does. Maybe they do not want to spend additional money for additional guests at the reception venue. Perhaps they acknowledge you are a relative but have no desire to see you or include you in their family circle. Maybe one or both of the couple does not even like you.

My brain’s opinion is that you had no choice over who was in your biological family. You do have some choice about who becomes part of your family-of-choice (e.g., the people you choose to associate with on a regular basis as you would a close biological family member).

And you can take charge of how you react to their behaviors. At some level, most people love most of their biological family members even though they may not like some of them. Does it hurt to be ignored? Yes. I think it would be impossible to be human and not feel some initial angst. When I heard about weddings in my family and had not been invited to attend, I felt some angst. Then I had to choose whether to continue feeling the sting and allowing it to impact me negatively or to recognize and understand it is what it is, let it go, and get on with living. You, too, have that choice.